God said that it was not good for man to be alone. The Apostle Paul encouraged the earlier church to intentionally and regularly gather together. Jesus encouraged the disciples to see each other as brothers and sisters in God’s family. The idea of community is as “Christian” a notion as there can be. But, in spite of this need for community, there are seasons when we must spend time alone.
The solitude we should practice should be measured and purposeful. We do not spend time away to hide or to run away from what is happening in our lives. The reason for solitude is to focus our attention and our mind on God and his will. Periods of solitude can reduce the distractions that life affords. We should not be afraid to engage in it.
I would offer the following suggestions for your time spent in solitude.
- Determine the length of time you will commit to before you begin. It could be a few dedicated hours or a structured retreat for a weekend.
- Decide what you will do so you can prepare. You may decide to spend time studying a passage of scripture or engage in a time of structured prayer. Find the resources you will need, or if you are not sure how to prepare, consult with a minister or trusted and mature believer.
- Commit to complete what you have planned. It would be good to journal during your time. Or, you can tell someone that you will be setting aside the time and ask them to follow up with you as a form of accountability.
Solitude is not the enemy of spiritual growth. It may well be an untapped reservoir for strengthening and deepening your faith.