I am an introvert. There are times I need to be alone, and there are times I know I need solitude. The difference is life altering. Sometimes I need both. Jesus needed both. There were times he was simply alone, and then there were intentional times he was by himself, but not alone. He was with the Father…listening, praying.
My wife Sue is an off the scale extrovert. Extroverts need the satisfaction of solitude just as much. Everyone does. Those who don’t practice and experience the soul filling satisfaction of solitude live with an unsatisfied emptiness. The bad news is they have lived with it so long they think it is normal…and therefor what it means to be whole and healthy.
A WARNING: Don’t get confused between solitude and physical rest, recreation, or just plain alone time. We need rest, recreation and aloneness, but they are unfulfilling substitutes for solitude. Our soul tank stays empty. The Lord speaks through Jeremiah saying, “…for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jer 2:13). They confused the recreation of ESPN for solitude – for extended time in the presence of God. There is nothing evil about ESPN, the evil was the people believed it could do for them what their soul was thirsting for, what only God could do for them.
MY CHALLENGE: Being well rested, having fun, and having appropriate personal time is important. Because they are important, we set aside time for them in our schedules. We build them into our routine. How about solitude? Have you built that into your routine? Some extended time in the Scriptures, listening, pondering, journaling, praying, etc? How might you insert it into your routine? When? Where? How often? How long? Decide right now! Plan it now. Protect that time at all cost…or it will cost you dearly.
* quote by Sherry Turkle