This is not going to be too in-depth, since it’s something I’m still musing over. Pardon me while I think aloud; hopefully it will be edifying for someone besides me. 🙂
I’ve been thinking about solitude a lot lately. I’m an introvert, and prone to be a bit of a loner if I don’t watch out for it. I live in an awesome community. I have beyond-amazing roommates. Yet lately, I find myself wanting to withdraw from all of it. Especially when I’m sitting in my anti-sound-proof house. No, I’m serious. We don’t need to install an intercom system, because we already have air ducts, and they work just as well. I’m in a coffee shop right now because I was in my room and got tired of trying to not eavesdrop on the conversation in our kitchen. Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah, solitude…
As you can tell, I am somewhat less than objective about this at the moment.
Now, I understand that there’s real value to having some time to be quiet and alone, especially as an introvert. But I also understand I cannot throw a conniption fit because someone who lives at my house walks into my house. I can’t let myself be hindered from praying because I’m annoyed that someone sat too close to me in the Global Prayer Room, at the corporate prayer meeting.
God hasn’t created anyone to be a Lone Ranger. He’s put all of us into His family, His body, His people. Even in my desire for solitude (which is legitimate and healthy), my solution is not to cut myself off from all human interaction. The solution is not to go hole myself up in a cave, refusing to speak to anyone until I’m good and ready to come out. Nor can I hang a “Do not Disturb” sign on my front door and hope my roommates weren’t planning on having anyone over for coffee. It would also be silly to walk around in noise-canceling headphones for 90% of my waking hours. Not only are these isolation tactics impractical, they’re also significantly unhealthy.
Because, really, the problem is not other people. The problem is my own relentless inner traffic.
I know that if I were better settled in my own soul, then who was or was not in my house would be a much smaller issue. The number of people who were or were not in the Prayer Room wouldn’t bother me half as much. And this is the way it should be. After all, I really have very little control over who I’m around or how much noise I hear. Even if I lived entirely alone, nothing would stop the doorbell from ringing or a neighbor’s car from driving down the street and thumping its bass at ear-shattering levels. If my inner serenity depends on external circumstances, I’m sunk from the very beginning.
So I find myself back at square one, so to speak. It’s a very basic truth that I need to find my rest in Christ. It’s very simple that I need to be able to meet Him in the secret place — and I’m not talking just about the prayer closet (although that’s good, too), I’m talking about meeting Him in the secret place in my own soul. It’s so simple, and it’s a lesson that I’ve learned, relearned, and apparently am about to relearn again.
I remember a song Misty Edwards used to sing a lot (and still does occasionally), with one of the lines being, “Life takes place behind the face / Where it’s You and me alone”. The Holy Spirit lives in me. That’s as private and solitary as it gets.
So I’m looking forward to this journey, to Him leading me in rediscovering how to find my rest and my secret place in Him. I’m sure there will be some ups and downs, some joys and some tears, but if I come out of it leaning on Him more fully, then I can’t wait to begin.