Why do I constantly have a podcast or a sermon playing in the background while I am showering or washing the dishes? Why can’t I drive without the radio or some music or audiobook playing? Do I really need to be browsing the internet or YouTube to find something to listen to or watch when I already watched a ton of things already? Does the TV have to remain turned on, even though I am on the opposite part of the house? Why do I seem to do this all the time? Am I afraid of something or am I running from something?
These were the questions I recently asked myself, while I was multitasking. So I turned off the audiobook book I was listening to, I sat down and started to listen to silence. Very quickly that silence was invaded by distant barks and honks from the street. They were beautiful organic sounds that I often drowned with music, audiobooks, or sermons. But why did I often do that? I paused … thought about it … and even though I wanted to deny it, I knew that it was because I was afraid that in those times of silence, I would hear my thoughts reiterate that I was lonely.
As I was thinking about that, a passage of Scripture came to mind: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places.” I knew it was The Holy Spirit bringing that passage to my remembrance and so I immediately felt encouraged. I searched for it in The Bible and found it in Luke 5:16 and it said: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (NIV) As I read the passage, I had an ah ha moment and my spirit revived. JESUS WITHDREW TO SOLITARY PLACES, WHERE THERE WAS NO COMMOTION. HE EMBRACED QUIETNESS AND WHILE THERE HE PRAYED! Jesus turned everything off so He could pray.
If Jesus needed to withdraw from people, from commotion, to connect to His Father, how much more do we need to find a solitary place to pause, pray and listen to The Holy Spirit? Isolating ourselves and letting our anxious thoughts run rampant is breeding ground for the enemy to build strongholds in our minds; however, how liberating it is to be able to walk away from commotions in our lives to a solitary place so we can commune with God Almighty, our Heavenly Father.
What if times of healthy isolation and loneliness were occasions for us to consecrate ourselves to pray rather than let our anxious thoughts condemn us with the “I didn’t, I should have, I could have, I would have, I wish I did… etc.”? Today, I’m choosing to make that shift, so my time of solitude is well spent in prayer. How about you, what will you do?
What are some practical things we can do when we battle loneliness?