Redefining Solitude: Learning to Be Okay with Being Alone
Like many others, I grew up detesting the word solitude. I associated the word with loneliness. Solitude meant being separated and taken away from others. Being placed under a form of oppression that hinders one from what they find as comfortable, joyful, or what makes that person happy. Solitude was the word I never wanted to use with my name in the same sentence. But it's different now. I'm different now.
A couple of years ago, I faced something that...I would never want anyone to suffer, the death of not just one but two loved ones in a year. It was as if the universe and God had turned against me. Every step I tried to take would only result in more pain. In the midst of all that, I heard God telling me, " Abigail, I'm about to take you away. I'm going to take you away from your family, your friends, and everyone. I'm going to remove you from all that you find comfortable. I'm going to isolate you from everything, and it's just going to you and me."
Though I was glad to have heard from God, the pain of what I was going through made it difficult for me to leap for joy after hearing those words. I remember crying for a couple of hours after hearing that. I knew that God was good. I knew that he works things for those who chose to follow him. I knew that His ways were the right ways. But nothing you told me would've made felt better. I had this weird feeling in my soul. It was as if I was excited to hear from God in the midst of my hurricane, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I was conflicted.
Any person who has been through traumatic events would want to be surrounded by those they love and the things that would bring them comfort. In fact, most therapist recommend that you circle yourself around your family, friends, and all that is comfortable for you. Naturally, I was confused, upset, and even taken aback that God would tell me that he was going to remove me from all of that.
It's been about 4 years since I heard that from God. 4 years of on and off solitude. I'm not complaining. That's not what this post is about. Instead, I'm actually writing this to thank God. Who would've thought that 4 years (and counting cause we all know that God does things His way) would bring contentment, unexplainable joy, and understanding?!
We need to change how we see solitude. And you know me, I'm not going to tell you what my opinions are without going to look it up first. Google solitude and you get the definition: The state or situation of being alone/ a lonely or uninhabited place. It's derived from the Latin word, solus which means: alone.
Is being alone a bad thing? Loneliness and alone are two different words. When I think of the word lonely, I think of someone craving to be a part of something but not able to due to internal or external circumstances. But alone...it's a choice.
Okay, so I've been giving you the runaround and now I’m bringing it back full circle. God told me that he would take me away from the people I was comfortable with, especially when I believed I need to be surrounded by these people the most. God was calling me to be alone. He stated that He wanted it just to be him and I. That meant that I wasn't going to be lonely but instead I was going to be alone. Solitude was what God requested...no demanded of me.
Solitude was what I needed, and even now, I find myself going to that place where it's just Jesus and me.
Plenty of believers who have been walking through this journey for quite some time would say they have learned that nothing is as important as the individual time one has with Christ. I know that I'm pretty young in my walk, but I couldn't agree more. Yes, I didn't want to be removed from those I treasured. Yes, I probably needed to have spent more time with those people. But God has a way of working with us when we go through traumatic experiences.
Throughout these 4 years, God has been working with me through the book of Lamentations. ( I should probably pray on doing a series for this book because Y'all, I love this book so much! It's quick and smaller than the other books, but it's like reading Proverbs. Nothing but the truth with every sentence!) I don't know what you're going through or where you are in your life, but trust me when I say, let God work on you.
Let him help you process your pain. People are people, and they will try their hardest to support you and be there for you when you are going through. But at the end of the day, people are people. We are all trying to figure our way through life. Trust God, the one who knows life better than any being, to help you. The Lord's solutions for you may be different from what he gave me, or it may be the same. Regardless, He knows how you can overcome whatever obstacle, trial, predicament, or pain in the most healthy and productive way.
Get away from the noise and pray. Ask God to help you to hear Him as clearly as possible. Ask God to hold you and protect you. Ask your heavenly Father to heal you. Remember that verse we always say,
" The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all." (Psalm 34:18-19, CSB)
Continue to fellowship with other believers. Just because God may call you to spend more time spiritually with him doesn't mean He's calling you out of fellowship. Spiritual solitude doesn't mean complete isolation but purposefully using your time and energy to focus on what God is working with you on.
No matter what you are going through, remember that you ought to not be lonely. You may be alone in this (sorry, I'm not going to sugarcoat things) but to be alone means that you may have no one but God. I can't fix it for you, but He is there with you. Trust me you have a better chance of overcoming whatever you're facing because you are alone with God.
Lamentations 3:25- 33
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young. Let him sit alone and be silent, for God has disciplined him. Let him put his mouth in the dust - perhaps there is still hope. Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him; let him be filled with disgrace. For the Lord will not reject us forever. Even if he causes suffering, he will show compassion according to the abundance of his faithful love. For he does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind." (CSB)
Until next time