Joyful Solitude

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Being busy is the art of distraction.  I think sometimes we don’t even realize that we are trying to be distracted. What are we trying to avoid? Loneliness, pain, boredom…I know my need to feel distracted was stemming from insecurity within myself. That question I kept hearing in my head, “am I enough?” Over the past couple of years the Lord, is His mercy, has taught me a lot about loneliness.  From military to deployments, to living overseas in a culture I knew nothing about, He has taught me to see the beauty of solitude. Before my heart received this season as a blessing I had do go through a sort of mourning period. The majority of my time was spent feeling so sorry for myself. That self-pity put me in my own prison. I had beautiful blessings right in front of my face, but of course I was not able to see them while I was suffering in my man made prison. When you are alone with yourself while raising very young children, some of your not-so-perfectly packaged parts come into the light. Elisabeth Elliot said, “So it is with all who enter into real solitude. The layers of acquired knowledge, conditioned behavior, and self-confidence are sloughed off. The vision of the self without all its accustomed accretions is shocking. How different from the cherished image does the authentic self appear.”

Rarely do we look at ourselves and reflect on the areas we may be lacking.  James 1:4 says, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  The definition of perseverance is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Staying home with young children is something that requires perseverance in the hard. The “delay in achieving success” is a daily reality that can be discouraging. When will I see the fruit of these long days of loving, nourishing, and training these little hearts; hearts that are just as sinful as me but do not hide it! It is in this season (especially when you have multiple young children) that we are faced with the choice to keep ourselves busy, which inevitably results in chaos, or cultivate peace and order right where we are. The former keeps you from being lonely, and the later forces you to be with the real, authentic you.  It is in this place where the layers are peeled away. Who am I? What is my worth? Is what I’m doing important?

 

This phase in life has led me to more bible studying, book reading, and faithful praying and community with my Creator.  “Turn your loneliness into solitude, and your solitude into prayer.” I have learned more about who Jesus is in the solitude. I have learned more about who I am. I have such a peace about each day and my Heavenly Father who is in control of it. I am reminded that Jesus was constantly around crowds and sought after by hundreds who wanted to hear from Him. A desperate woman cried, “If I could only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:21 I can only imagine her heartache. After being subject to bleeding for twelve years, she was an outcast. She touched Jesus and was healed because of her faith. This was how Jesus was sought after by so many.  People wanted to touch him, listen to him, and to be healed. Luke chapter five says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” He purposefully and intentionally withdrew…to get away from the busy, chaos, and the needs. He needed this time with His Heavenly Father. There are many good intentions behind our busyness. We want to get our children involved in sports, music, and friendships. I promise there will be abundant time outside of the first five years of children’s lives for them to become professional athletes and musical prodigies. Or we want to minister to others with good intentions and seek to create platforms. Even these good intentions can leave us run down and empty. And lots of times, we just simply want “me” time. We have to receive Christ daily in our hearts to be changed. We then have to authentically live that in the quiet, unseen, uninstagrammed days, and only then are we able to pour into others in a real and moving way. We need to be chalice that is poured into by Christ before we can pour out to others. What fruit comes from running ourselves down with “busyness” in the most physically, emotionally, and mentally tiring days of our lives; meeting our children’s needs day in and day out. How can we be intentional about teaching them in real life moments about Jesus Christ, freedom-grace-filled gospel living when we are bound to run, be distracted, and earn? We also so desperately need down time to nurture our marriages. How precious is it to create margins in our schedules to intentionally love on our spouses. It takes planning, but doesn't have to be expensive. Create a lovey evening with candles, charcuterie, wine, and Netflix..then enjoy when the children GO TO BED;-)

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

If this Jesus Christ, the Son of God, withdrew with the intention of being alone in prayer, how important and fruitful can it be for us to do the same? I have seen the Lord melt anxieties in my own heart and teach me so much about contentment. God is in the small, God is in the mundane, God is in the ordinary, but He moves in ways that are anything but ordinary. “Because the mustard seed tells us the ending belongs to God and it is kingdom-sized. We don’t get to hijack the ending with our own manufactured ideas of success.” Emily Freeman

First receive the peace and grace of Christ in the solitude, live out that truth, and then give it to others. It is in this place that your soul will find true rest.

 

May the peace of Christ be with you.

 



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