Until the last few years, I dreaded the thought of being alone. I equated being alone with feeling lonely. What would I do with so much time on my hands? Who would I talk to? Would I watch a movie, go for a walk, soak in a hot bath, read, clean…?
I feared the house would feel quiet, empty. I feared time would crawl. This is ironic because I am indeed an introvert.
I prefer quiet nights at home over large gatherings. I enjoy dinner with my family over the buzz of a dinner party.
Until I was planted in an unexpected season of solitude, I didn’t realize how much I needed time alone to harvest and grow. I needed time by myself, so I could find myself- the self that God always intended me to be.
My forced season of solitude, a journey with anxiety and depression that led to me taking several months off work, served me in more ways than I ever expected.
I now realize how important and vital solitude is. Even when I am alone, I don’t feel lonely.
In all honesty, my quiet, solitary time is when I feel most alive, refreshed, and restored. Solitude serves me in many ways. It can, and will, serve you too. You just have to take the time. You can’t make time, but you can take it.
We need room to breathe. We need space, peace, and quiet. For some reason, society idolizes the fast-paced, “hurried” lifestyle. Why do we feel the need to fill every hour of every day? If we’re not careful and we don’t loosen the reins on the “pack in all we can every day” mentality, we will find ourselves emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. We need to be content with empty boxes on our calendars, or we will be the empty ones.
Unfortunately, there is an invisible badge of pride placed on our lapels when we “multitask” our way through our days. I have news for you, we are humans and multitasking is a myth.
The human brain is not built to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Can you drive a car and have a conversation? Yes. Can you cook dinner, respond to texts, feed the dog, water the plants, switch the laundry, and listen- really listen- to your kiddo talk about their day? No. You can’t. I can’t. Our Creator, in all His wisdom, did not create us this way.
There was a time I thought I could live the “hustle hard” life. Guess what? I was always exhausted. Why? Because I was doing a million things at once and not doing any of them with meaning.
I was firing on all cylinders, expecting my brain, body, and soul to keep up. I wasn’t multitasking, I was doing several tasks poorly, and It took my season of learning how to cope with anxiety and depression to realize I don’t have to do it all. By saying no to some things, I can go all-in with my ‘yeses’ for those things and people that really matter to me.
How can we feel satisfied if we are merely surviving our days? We can’t. So, take a breath, hit the brakes, take time for yourself, and do ONE. THING. AT. A. TIME.
I know this sounds impossible, especially for you mamas of littles. But, trust me. Do it. Just one thing at a time. I promise you will end your day feeling more present and “accomplished” than when you vigorously scratch off every item on your to-do list.
Friends, that list is never-ending. There will always be something that “needs to be done.” Don’t measure your worth against the list of the impossible. Our work does not make us worthy. I learned this the hard way.
These days, I don’t fear solitude. I actively seek it because I know it is good for me. And if it’s good for me, it’s really good for the people in my life.
I am a better me after having quiet, reflective space in my day. I am more patient, centered, and present. I am productive and creative.
My solitary moments are when I have my deepest ideas and revelations.
Stepping away from the noise, solitude affords me the space to really see, hear, and listen to myself. This is when I have my most precious encounters with Jesus.
Not only do I hear my internal voice more clearly, but I also hear Jesus with clarity. I talk with Him, ask Him questions, and tell Him what’s heavy on my heart.
There is something so special about being alone with God, talking to Him, presenting my requests, thanking Him for answered prayers, and asking Him to take me and lead me where He wants and needs me. My solitude with Jesus is sacred. It serves me well. And it will serve you well too.
I love my family and friends. I love people, but I have learned that I can better serve them, myself, and God if I regularly seek solitude.
Jesus chose solitude over people many times, and He’s for sure all about people.
The Bible overflows with scripture that tells us about Jesus going off, alone, to pray-“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
Was Jesus being selfish? No. Was He avoiding His followers? No. Was He running from the struggles in life? No.
He was seeking peace, stillness, and quiet. He was looking for guidance from His Father. He was listening to His Father’s voice. He was seeking solitude.
My quiet moments, in the dark morning hours with Jesus, are my favorite. This carved-out time benefits me because I sort through what’s on my heart and mind, and I listen for my Father’s guidance.
There is nothing fancy about this time. I pray, meditate, journal, read my Bible, take a breath walk, or just sit in stillness. It can be 10 minutes or an hour. Either way, I emerge from these solitary moments feeling energized, refreshed, and suited up in God’s armor to face whatever battles the day may bring.
Does this mean you have to get up before the birds to spend time with Jesus? No. Everyone, especially mamas of littles, needs plenty of sleep. So if the early hours of morning don’t work for you, then I encourage you to find a time of day that does. Remember the time is there, but you have to take it.
There is a slew of research supporting the idea of solitude serving us well: physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I agree with the research. However, I want you to know that seeking solitude with Jesus will not only improve your physical and mental well-being, but it will change your heart.
Time spent alone with God will flip your soul upside down and inside out. You will be a person of peace. You will be full of love, light, and joy. You will be all that God intended you to be.
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