Realistically, most of us have been or will be alone at some point in our lives. I don’t mean alone as in, “There is no one on this planet who loves you or who you love.” I am not talking about loneliness. I mean alone. Physically you are alone.
For whatever reason, we tend to feel that this sort of aloneness is a negative thing.
But I don’t think that is the case. Obviously, all things in moderation. I’m not advocating isolation. But aloneness can be a wonderful time to learn about who you are and who God is.
As obvious as it sounds, it is when we are alone that we do the things we only do when we are alone. And those are the things that define who we really are.
So let’s just get the obvious out of the way. I want my children to learn to be alone because I want them to learn to behave well while they are.
But it’s more than that.
Over the past almost two years, I have been more alone in my life than ever before. It is in those times of aloneness that I have had to face myself. What is the natural pattern of my thought process? What does my real self-discipline look like? The kind that doesn’t have a boss or parent overseeing. Who am I at heart?
It is so easy in the midst of people to be good and believe that you are good. At least, for me. It is so easy to not focus on the inner workings of your heart when life is noisy. You just do what everyone else is doing, and then they like you. And you like you. But believing in the goodness of oneself is a dangerous belief to hold because in the pride of self-righteousness we fail to experience the joy of the gospel.
When you are alone you have to face yourself. And no one can take an honest look at himself and not shudder. No one.
Which probably makes it sound like, “Oh, be alone because it’s an honest, but miserable time of self-reflection.”
But for the Christian, that’s only two percent of it.
When you are alone, you have yourself (and you will disappoint yourself), and you have God. As soon as you can get past yourself, being alone is a wonderful time to pray, read God’s Word, and experience the goodness of God.
How does anyone describe the joy one can have when they see how wicked they are and how saved they are. Isn’t that the whole point of the Gospel? And yet, I forget it, daily. Somehow, I get it into my head that I am only semi-wicked, which means I need the gospel, but God got a pretty good deal when He got me. In my pride, the gospel becomes less important to me. Of course, I still need the gospel, but I just don’t feel desperate.
When I have access to water, I don’t really enjoy the water. I’m not really thirsty so even though I am drinking the water, I’m not really enjoying it. Sometimes, I need to drink the water, but because I don’t feel desperate (I mean, I will always have clean water, right?) I don’t drink. But when I am running on a hot day like today and I am far from my home, without any water, all I can think about is how much I want, I need, water. I get desperate.
Sometimes I feel like my Christian walk is like that. When I am surrounded by human fellowship and love, I don’t really feel desperate. I am not really aware of my need for the gospel. And I lose focus of a gospel mindset. I start finding my trust and contentment depends on earthly things.
There is nothing wrong with friends and people. In fact, I highly recommend spending time with fellow Christians both in church and out of it. I am not saying that you alienate yourself from others, but it is a wonderful thing that sometimes God situates us such that we have no one we can talk to except Him. It is a wonderful thing to HAVE to turn to God. Not that you or I won’t have people we can and do share our hearts with. But when we are physically alone, we are reminded of an emptiness in ourselves that no human companionship can fill. And it is a joy unspeakable when we learn to fill that hole with the contentment, peace, love, presence of Christ.
It is invaluable to me to see my need of Him, and then to remember that I have Him because of the gospel, and then to spend time alone with Him.
I think sometimes when we are faced with alone time, we frantically try to fill it up. Whose house can I go to? Who can I text? Who can I call? Let me pull up my Facebook or write an email. But I want my children to have times in their lives when they are forced to be alone, and not to be afraid of it. But to see it for the opportunity that is.
A time to worship.
A time to pray.
A time to read God’s Word.
A time to accomplish the tasks that God has given them to do.
I want them to learn to be alone.