Solitude is a discipline. In solitude we make sense of life’s happenings. Solitude helps us find rest and escape the busyness of life. When we remove ourselves from the hustle of daily activity we are able to process the meaning of life’s occurrences in deeper ways. Interestingly, the very first thing God did with the first person he created was rested. God knew something that most of us still haven’t realized: rest is good for us.
When we get alone with ourselves, we realize that we’re not really alone at all. God is with us. Solitude helps us to hear him. God never moves from a place of anxiety and hurriedness. He doesn’t have to, he’s too vigorous and confident. I’m convinced that only in silence and solitude are we able to reconnect to our inner person: the person we are created to be.
A strong spirit always sustains a weak body and drained mind, but a weak body and fatigued mind sustains us not at all. All the words we process on a daily basis are hollow until we are able to get alone with God and allow him to pour life into them. Finding a quiet place helps develop ears to hear the small still voice of the Holy Spirit.
Relationship is what we are created for. Solitude not only helps us make sense of life’s happenings and hear God more clearly, it also helps us make sense of our relationships. Life’s distractions undermine the quality of meaningful relationships. Many people are only concerned with their own needs, but when we practice solitude we learn how to be honest in our interactions with one another.
Religious structures create an atmosphere of judgment, but in my alone time with God I’ve learned that he is not mad at anyone. God wants us to process life well, he wants us to have new thoughts about him and learn to interact with Jesus on deeper levels. Solitude helps us create an inner atmosphere of celebration and sacredness. If you want authentic relationships with others, get alone with God on a regular basis. God will bless your rest and help you process the significant investments he makes in your life on a daily basis.
We keep the words of St. Augustine in mind: “If you love the world it will absorb you; for the world knows not how to support, but only how to devour its admirers.” For this reason each of us must find our own mountain or desert where we can withdraw into the peace that’s only discovered by practicing the discipline of solitude. Christ himself told his followers to pray in the solitude of their room and to “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
(Sources: Richard Foster; Dallas Willard; Brian Zahnd; Graham Cooke)