There is a big party going on at the neighbor’s house down the hill. I can hear the sounds of laughter and fun in the air. I’ll probably venture down later on to be social and see some old friends, but right now the silence feels like an old sweatshirt – cozy and comfortable – and I can’t bear to pull myself away from the sanctuary that my porch provides. I need time alone today to recharge my heart and connect with the Lord. More and more often I long for time to be still; whether I’m reading, journaling, praying or simply sitting on my porch listening to the birds. I need that time to process what goes on in my day to day life and to let my soul recharge.
Jesus understood the need to be alone as well. In John 6 we read that Jesus spent part of the day teaching a large crowd of people and then, not wanting to turn them away hungry, he fed five thousand. After spending time giving to the people, it says in John 6:15, “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” He needed time alone, time with his Father and a chance to be renewed. In the next verse it mentions that later that evening, he met up with the disciples. We don’t know exactly how long he was off by himself, but the impression I get is that it was a good chunk of time – perhaps even a few hours. Jesus took time to be alone other times as well, leaving the disciples or getting up early to find time to be on his own. Even Jesus, the perfect Son of God, needed time alone and with his Father in order to be spiritually whole and refreshed.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
I am learning to be still and in my times of quiet I have realized that in stillness there is the possibility of depth. Without quiet, or time for introspection and listening, relationship can become distorted, performance oriented and shallow. This is true in our relationships with one another (there has to be time to talk, connect and listen to each other), and also in our relationship with God. My most moving and intimate time with the Lord is when I have a day or so alone and I’m able to pray, sit quietly, or simply take time to write for long periods of time. That is my form of worship. That is what connects me to Him, and helps me to grasp who He actually is. I long to give my heart the opportunity to grow and become mature by embracing solitude.
I can still hear voices and laughter drifting up the hill. Perhaps later on I’ll go down the hill and say hi, but for now I’m content to be here alone and enjoy the stillness.