At the end of my life, I will stand before God and be held accountable for every beat of my heart in this world. There will be no one standing beside me – no spouse, no children, no friends, no family. Just me and my Father. And this singular relationship is a commitment of choice. God instigates and originates everything; I am responsible for my chosen response to Him. Solitude is absolutely necessary for this relationship to flourish.
Solitude does not require isolation. I can be surrounded by people and be in solitude. Solitude is my choice to be apart from the world around me. In the midst of chaos, I can choose to focus utterly on the Lord, and find solitude. And I have. We all have this ability. It’s not uncommon to ask a person who looks deep in thought, “Where did you go?” Their body was there, but they were not. They chose to be apart from the people around them. They chose solitude.
The Lord had to break me into solitude, because I wanted no part of it. I believed that solitude was synonymous with loneliness, and it was a years-long discipline to bring me to see otherwise. God had to pen me up and cut me off. I was so terrified of being alone. But what He’s shown me is that I was always alone. No living being on this planet was ever going to be able to be close enough to me to change that fact.
If you want to be known completely and loved still, like me, then you too are alone. No one but God can know my innermost thoughts and feelings, because He knows ALL of me. I don’t even know me that well! And only God loves me in the fullness of His knowledge of me. In light of this, my relationship with the Lord is the only way that I’m NOT alone.
I write all of this not as one who’s mastered it, but as a declaration of my choice to release my family from the noose of my expectations. I have demanded of my family (and friends) that they meet my insatiable need for love and belonging – and they never can. The Lord has been plowing my heart for years on this very thing, and I’m finally seeing it as a reality, not just a teaching.
Now, God knew this all along, but He didn’t snuff my flickering wick. He was patient and kind and gentle and compassionate in calling me to solitude. He knew that I was fighting against the very thing I most desperately wanted, but He gave me time and just kept calling. He’s loved me into solitude with Him.
When I love someone with God’s love, I will foster their solitude. Secure in my Companion, I will want them to experience true kinship and unity. I will want them to experience the bliss of true Relationship, to know they are no longer alone. I will value their solitude as I value mine, and I will guard it just as carefully. Please, Jesus, give me this depth of Your Love, because I haven’t got it and I so need it.