Solitude over Society?
In a world more automatically public than ever before, solitude and silence are inadvertently taboo, yet a large part of most people’s day.
In my experience, at least, we as a society are more antisocial than ever before, many thanks to social media.
I see it and feel it in myself. I’m not as people-oriented as I once was, and have to stop myself from spending lengths of time scrolling through the photos others post of idealizations of their lives.
When Charles Spurgeon said that “there are times when solitude is better than society,” I bet he was referring to solitude in prayer or thought or learning, and certainly not in the absorption of arbitrary information that settles in our souls more than we realize, creating more expectations and lies than we could imagine.
Are you guarding your heart from these untruths, or allowing social media/the world to dictate truth in your life?
How do you spend time in solitude?
I have been thinking a lot about this Charles Spurgeon quote and the importance of it. The importance of time in solitude– with JESUS, to recharge with Him– even when the world seems to project a message that we need to be out “doing things” in order to be justified or productive.
A few nights ago, I really felt that I needed that time in solitude. But first, I had to confront some feelings of guilt in not “doing something or seeing someone,”
and then the temptation to spend the alone time watching YouTube videos I knew I’d idolize, or a Netflix show I knew wasn’t the reason I’d needed solitude.
Finally, I sat with Jesus. I came to Him and just talked with Him.
And, when I released the control that couldn’t even be mine back to Him, I just heard Him speak.
And where solitude might have at first felt like the selfish thing, because I’m not in any place of helping people, I know the truth that solitude with Jesus is necessary for helping people. This is where He does much of His growing in me– when I am intimate with Him.
I was scared, pushed outside my comfort zone, and past my expectations. Mostly, I was reminded of my freedom, and the utmost importance of approaching the throne of God, both in solitude and in everyday life.
And then silence. Wiser than speech.
If you are not much of a talker, I both appreciate you and want to learn from you. A recent conviction of mine has been the utmost importance of listening, both to the Holy Spirit and to those around me. Slowness to speak is something I often need to work on. Simply trusting that He will speak louder– that listening to others is often my calling– and that He will speak through me if I let Him.
In other words, the words of one of my favourite worship songs, “If I should speak then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin, of when justice was served and mercy wins, of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in.”