Grabbing Some Solitude
. . . he would withdraw to desolate places and pray—Luke 5:16
Why are we men so bad at solitude? Our king did it quite well. As a man, Jesus knew his limitations. He understood his need to connect with his father—to his guidance and power. He knew how good that connection was. He wants us to know too. If it’s so good, though, why do we struggle? Well, it’s a little because we’re busy. Solitude is hard when you’re working and/or married and/or have kids and/or have friends. And, it’s a little because we’re not well practiced. Our culture trains us for motion and multitasking—not for slowing and simplifying. And it’s a little because, deep down, we know solitude means confrontation. You see, solitude removes distractions and leaves us, for a few minutes, alone with God the Holy Spirit. Solitude is sometimes defined as being alone, but we aren’t. The Spirit dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). God’s right there. And we never know what might happen when we’re alone with God. He might ask us to stop something we don’t want to stop or start something we don’t want to start. He might. He does that (Hebrews 12:5). But if we avoid his confrontation, we’ll miss his companionship, counsel, comfort, restoration, and rescue. So, we must take courage. We must not worry that we don’t yet do it well. And, we must make solitude a priority, just as Jesus did.
Okay, so what do we do? Start small. Find something that works for you. Turn off devices and take a walk at work—at lunchtime or during a break. Get some air in your neighbourhood after dinner. Slip outside just before bed and sit quietly in the dark. And, if you’re ready for more, take a half-day or full-day or overnight solo trip into the outdoors.