The Power of Solitude

When Being Alone Means Being Closer to God

Young person praying
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Solitude is a powerful spiritual discipline that is often overlooked by many Christians - adults and teens alike. Between the multitude of church activities, school, and even social networking, taking time out to be by ourselves with the Lord is often one aspect of our faith we put into practice far less frequently than we should.

What is Solitude?

Basically solitude is being alone. It is the absence of distractions like people, computers, schoolwork, television, cell phones, radio, etc.

Solitude can be getting away from everybody in a weekend retreat or just locking yourself in your room for an hour in peaceful quiet. The reason solitude is a spiritual discipline is that "alone time" can often be a more difficult task than we think. It takes effort to be sure you are not disturbed.

Why Do We Avoid Solitude?

The simplest and most common reason we avoid being alone with God is that solitude forces us to face everything in our lives head on. This internal confrontation is often why solitude is one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines. Yet, without time alone with God the aspects of our lives that need the most work often go ignored or unseen.  Others also keep us from solitude.  There is all kinds of pressure to be social and "get out there" and experience life.  We're often discouraged from spending time alone, because to others we're not taking advantage of the life God gave us.

 However, God also wants us to spend time knowing ourselves, too.

Why is Solitude Important?

It is when we are most by ourselves that we realize God is actually right there with us. At that point the solitude allows us to grow closer to God as we begin to address the things going on in our lives, thoughts, and existence.

We are able to see clearly, through a Godly perspective, what is important in our lives.  When we spend time in solitude, we get away from all the things that distract us from our reality.  We see inside our lives, our thoughts, and our behaviors.  Solitude brings us peace that we just can't get when we're surrounded by others.  It allows us to decompress and take the stress off of our day.  Yes, sometimes solitude can grow loud with the clanging of thoughts bumping around in our minds, but at least that clanging is just our thoughts and not mixed with the cacophony of noise the world brings in.

But How Do I Find Time for Solitude?

We live in busy, busy world where time alone is not always rewarded. So, solitude does take effort and persistence. While sometimes we think of solitude as long periods of meditation, often we have to be more creative about it. Sometimes we may only have a few minutes to be alone with God. We may find a few minutes before we get out of bed in the morning, on the walk to the bus stop, or in a peaceful corner during study hour. We need to learn that it's okay to tell others that we just want to be alone, and tell them in a way that helps them understand this isn't a slight against them, but just our way of letting our spirits breathe a little bit.

 There is a reason that solitude is a spiritual discipline, and we all have to work hard to be sure we are getting that "alone time" with God.