It should be no surprise to me that when I unlock my apartment door when I come home from work that it is empty. The dishes that I didn’t wash yesterday are still in the sink – unwashed. The laundry that I unceremoniously dumped on my living room floor (with every intention of folding it, of course) is still in a giant pile. It should be no surprise to me that my apartment is empty and the only thing greeting me when I come home is silence.
After all, I do not have a house-elf to do my dishes and fold my clothes. I’ve got to do that all on my own.
After all, I’m a single graduate student, living alone. There shouldn’t be anyone there to greet me when I come home. (If there is someone there, then, Houston, we have a problem.)
I like my solitude, most of the time.
I like my quiet home, with the soft running water of my fish tank the only noise (well, other than my upstairs neighbors). I don’t even mind doing the dishes or the laundry, though there are days a house-elf would be handy.
But there are other days that I wish for company. For someone else to be there when I get home. For the loneliness to go away. For my Friday nights to be filled with something other than work.
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely, though.
But that’s a topic for another time. Being alone is a good thing.
I’m reminded in the Scriptures that we all need some time to be alone, to pray in solitude. Jesus, after being with crowds of people for many hours, would send His disciples on ahead of Him and retreat to a quiet place to pray.
Even Jesus needed some time to commune with His Father, seeking His will and His direction – away from the crowds and the people who were the center of His ministry.
As He was preparing for the greatest sacrifice of His life, Jesus went a little farther off to pray.
I think in our culture, we have lost the sense of being alone with God. We are constantly distracted by something – probably more than one thing. When we finally sit down for some quiet time with God, we set our phone on the table, and it starts buzzing at us – with Facebook notifications and text messages and e-mails. We find it difficult to just let the phone go unanswered for two minutes, let alone twenty.
It is necessary for us to be alone with God sometimes.
We need to take a step back and recharge our batteries, so to speak. That doesn’t mean that we need to come home to an empty house or kick everyone out of a five-mile radius around you.
Sometimes being alone with God involves putting in your headphones and turning on some music and walking down the street, talking with God.
Sometimes it means walking away from the crowd of people ten minutes early to spend some time listening to God.
Sometimes it means turning off the phone, the computer, and the tablet – for a whole day.
Sometimes it means taking a break from the busyness of the city and going to the wilderness for a few days to really be alone with God.
The myriad of ways that you can be alone with God are easy to write on paper. But they must be something that you choose to do, especially in our people-driven culture.
Choose to be alone with God for a period of time this week.
Listen to what He would say. Sing songs of praise to Him. Tell Him the desires of your heart – He already knows them, but He wants to hear them. Be alone with God sometimes.
Even Jesus went off a little ways alone to pray.
***This post first appeared at allforhimlife.com as a part of the ALL Bible Study***
Kristen Entwistle is a graduate student pursuing her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. She helps to lead worship at her church on Sunday mornings and leads a women’s Bible study on Saturday mornings. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was three months old, and has seen God work through the ups and downs of life and through her disease. In response to God’s calling, Kristen started All For Him, a ministry seeking to encourage and challenge women of all ages in Christ.
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