So many of us find being alone tough. Perhaps that is why we spend so much time just trying to find that one person we can be partnered with – whether it is a significant other or a best friend. We look for closeness, company, and companionship. We want someone to share a meal with, someone to have deep conversation with, and someone to enjoy adventures with.
We want anything except loneliness, right?
Having someone by our side is important, but we also need to have time in solitude. It is crucial for our growth – especially in our closeness with God.
Reasons We Lack Solitude
Life is very busy and it is full of distractions. At every turn, every day we experience interactions that disrupt our thought processes. Think about this: how many times each day does your cell phone ring, send through a news notification, email, text message, email, live stream, home security notice, and the like? In fact, let’s take a look at some of these recent statistics:
- The average smartphone user picks up and unlocks his or her phone approximately 150 times each day.
- Most users spend just shy of 3 hours on their phone each and every day.
- 71% of us sleep with – or next to – our cell phone.
- 40% of smartphone users will check their phone in the middle of the night.
- 80% of us check it within an hour of waking up and going to sleep.
- In the U.S., 84% of working adults use their phone during work hours.
- There is a correlation between smartphone use and depression.
- 85% of us will look at – or use – our smartphone while having an in-person conversation with friends and family.
- 75% of Americans can’t see to use the toilet without taking their smartphone.
Those smartphones are quite the distraction, aren’t they? Did you know there is actually a term for someone who has an irrational fear that they can’t be without their cell phone or cell phone service? Yep – those individuals are called nomophobes.
Sure, statistics are always interesting, but you are probably wondering where it relates, right? Well here’s the thing – with all these distractions and wasted time, we multi-task our way through the rest of our day.
Where is our solitude?
Where is our alone time with God?
And, how can we even hear him with all the noise?
Why We Need Solitude
Having quiet time in our daily lives allows us the opportunity to grow and listen to God. Without distractions, we are able to focus on what’s important – things we wouldn’t otherwise even hear! It’s like taking your earbuds out and hearing the world around you.
The Bible tells us how Jesus practiced solitude, too.
When needing to prepare for a big task. “Then, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days.” – Luke 4:1-2. When he came out of solitude, he was ready for his task. “Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly though the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.” – 14-15
When requiring rest and rejuvenation. “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s god off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” – Mark 6:30-31
When struggling with heavy emotions. “Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, Pray that you will not give in to temptation. He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” – Luke 22:39-44
When there’s a big decision to make. “One day soon afterward, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles…” – Luke 6:12-13
When needing to pray. “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” – Luke 5:16
The more you actively look for solitude, the more you will find it – and allow yourself to benefit from it. Start today.
- Get up earlier in the morning.
- Go for a walk or bike ride.
- Go for a drive.
- Take yourself out to eat.
When you find moments of alone time, turn off your phone and other devices – and allow yourself to soak in the moment. Talk to God, read His Word, and just simply be.
The more you do this, the more you will find that you are falling in love with solitude.