Monday, March 23, 2020

The Blessings of Solitude

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.”  -Albert Einstein

As a millennial I’m always on the move—attending meetings, completing items on what seems to be a never-ending to-do list—and that’s how I like it.  I consult various political clients, I teach for a college, I lead a non-profit that hosts summits to educate youth on conservative principles, and I sit on advisory boards of a few non-profits.  I’m a doer, and in the past, it’s been hard for me to sit still for too long without going stir crazy.  However, in the wake of this Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic that's affecting the entire world, I’m forced to practice “social distancing” and to spend more alone time than I normally do.  At first, this was a little frustrating for me, however, I recognized that God is wanting to teach me something in this season of solitude and I’ve found silver linings amid all of the chaos that I hope can be beneficial for us to consider. 

One of such is that canceled meetings on our schedules and fewer items on our to-do lists mean that there’s more time to draw nearer to God by prayer and in His Word.  My pastor, Jason Shepperd, said it this way: “This short season could affect the rest of our life.  I don’t want to waste this time and get back to normal.  I want God to do a deep work in my body, soul, and spirit.  I don’t want to get back to normal… I want to get back to better.”  This time alone with God is so important because he can purify our hearts and transform our minds so that we go from living just for the here and now to living for heaven to come.  We can become more peaceful, loving, and generous.  We can also deepen our understanding of God’s Word so that we can more effectively share the gospel with others to bring God glory.

This unprecedented season has also given us time to rest and truly rest.  However, what does it mean to rest exactly?  In Steven Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he tells a story (and I’m paraphrasing) about a man that neglected to sharpen his saw and was busy all day trying to cut down a tree.  Another man asked him, “Why don’t you sharpen your saw?” The man replied, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw.  I’m too busy sawing.”  Covey quotes Abraham Lincoln who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  Covey argues that we should take time to sharpen the metaphorical saw—and these days I presume the term is called “self-care” but I still call it “resting”—and this means taking care of physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional needs that we all have.  For some, resting may mean enjoying a workout, to others reading a good book, or it could be spending quality time with loved ones.  The point is that we should regularly practice habits that sharpen us so that we can be more effective in our work and for whatever God has called us to do.

Maybe if we connected to God and took time to rest in this season of solitude then there’s something new that He will want to do in each of us, and what appears to be an unwanted lull, could actually be opportunities for our greatest junctures of creativity.  When you’re spending time alone with God in prayer ask Him to give you inspired thoughts that are from His heart.  Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (ESV).  I don’t take that to mean that God will give us whatever material thing that we want (a brand new fully loaded pickup truck or a more expensive house), but rather that He can change our desires so that we begin reflecting what He wants for us.  In this case, perhaps God has a new business idea that someone reading this is to pursue or book that you are supposed to write, or maybe this is the right opportunity to go back to school to finish a post-graduate degree, or it’s an opportunity to pick up the phone to mend a broken relationship or begin a new one.  While none of us asked for this season of solitude, God calls us to redeem the time no matter what season we are in.  Therefore, it’s incumbent on us to turn this unwanted lull into a time of spiritual maturation, rest, and personal growth.

Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16, NIV). 

No comments :

Post a Comment