By: Chelsea Terry
Solitude. This word often evokes two different types of reactions. When you hear the word solitude, you might find yourself desperately seeking a moment of silence (shout out to all the moms out there), or maybe you hear the word and find yourself avoiding it at all cost. If you’re the latter, then you’re like me! And there is good news for us: in today’s society it is extremely hard to have any real solitude. Solitude is counterculture and completely goes again the norm. Even when we are alone, there is still television, email, text messaging, and good ‘ole Facebook. We are never truly alone. However, that is the problem; we are never truly alone. The Bible tells us that sometimes we need to embrace solitude. In fact, we are supposed to replicate the actions of Jesus Christ, and He was the master of Solitude.
Jesus modeled solitude before critical events in His ministry. He was secluded during the 40 days in the desert, “At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” -Mark 1:12-13. Also, the night before choosing the disciples: “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them.” (Luke 6:12-13). And Luke 5:16 tells us: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” We see throughout the Gospels that Jesus needed solitude to gain strength in order to accomplish the will of God.
Much like Jesus, we need solitude. A few years ago, I moved to Dallas, Texas after living in my hometown for 15 years where I had all of my important friendships. I was optimistic about moving as I knew I would make new friends, and thought we would spend all of our time together going to the movies, going out to eat, going to church, and loving Jesus. I was excited, but after the first month in Texas I found myself sad, lonely, and quite frankly, depressed. I would lie in bed all day staring at the ceiling, having no desire to do any of the things that I used to like. I didn’t understand what was going on with me; I prayed and asked God, “Why don’t I have any friends? What’s wrong with me?” Because that’s what we do sometimes when we find ourselves alone, we think there’s something wrong with us. People must not like me; I have some sort of flaw. I’m not funny enough; I’m not adventurous enough, I’m not pretty enough; however none of that is true. It was later that I felt God telling me, “Chelsea, my child, I want this time with you. Please spend this time with me”. God was calling me to a time of solitude. My flesh did not like this.
True solitude is being alone with God without an agenda. It was simply sitting in His presence, sometimes remaining completely silent, without asking anything of God other than time with Him. Being alone with God required no human interaction, and for someone who refreshes her Instagram every five minutes, this was a difficult task. However, it is so vital to our relationship with Christ to learn this discipline. Being in solitude is not isolating yourself from your family or friends. It’s an act of purposely taking time out of your day and quieting yourself before the Lord. It may look like putting on worship music and soaking in His presence, or meditating on a passage of scripture, or laying down and thanking Him for all He’s given you. James 4:8 tells us, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”.Creating an intimacy with God the Father will get you much further in life than having the most social media followers or binging on the latest show.
When an opportunity for solitude arises, I encourage you to take it. In fact, go a step further and start creating opportunities for solitude. I know that we all are busy women. We have houses to keep in order, families to care for, degrees to study for; let’s face it, we run the world! But, we also need to make time for the One who created the world. Don’t be afraid of solitude. Jesus gained strength from His solitude and so will you. If God calls you into a time of solitude embrace it and grow from it, for God has plans to accomplish through you. Jesus used His time of solitude to recharge and seek wisdom from the Lord. You might have a situation where you need to get away and have a time of solitude with the Lord. There you might find the answer, or you may simply remember that your God has everything under control.
About the Author:// Chelsea Terry is a part of the Beloved and Welcome Dream Teams at New Life Family Church. She lives in Bedford, TX. With a degree in Intercultural Studies from Messenger College, she is the assistant for the Pentecostal Church of God World Missions Department. She loves serving people all around the world!