Loneliness versus Being Alone, the Journey from Isolation to Beautiful Solitude by Julie Porter explores in the Bible, what it says about the topic and how it can help you overcome loneliness and be content in solitude.
Split in two parts, the book helpfully dissects:
Part One – Loneliness: What is its definition? Why do people succumb to it? How do we overcome it?
Part Two – Being Alone: What does ‘being alone’ mean? Is there really any good reason for choosing solitude?
Here is an extract from the book by Julie Porter:
CHAPTER TWO – BEING ALONE: Why?
Whatever the opportunity taken, eventually we have to be alone – what happens if we don’t find some ‘me’ time? We become stressed, overworked, pushed to the very limits of our human capabilities of trying to be ‘patient’ and ‘kind’; and like an overstretched rubber band we can snap with dire consequences not only for ourselves but for all others around us.
As it is a choice we make – then we are in a position to recognise that we need to make this decision now before we do ‘snap’.
On many occasions Jesus knew when he needed to be alone. He knew when he needed to re-connect with the Father and just take time out of his heavy schedule to re-energise himself. In Matthew 14 he tried to do this but met with opposition as the people still followed him, he had to forcibly send the disciples off so that he could go and pray.
So if Jesus took this method then I have to pose the question what are the benefits of being alone? I can only conclude that it has its joys – in setting yourself apart from others you can find respite from the crowds and from the noise. When we are alone we can make time to do what we want to do rather than what others want us to do.
You see, when Jesus prayed he always prayed alone – to get his focus on God to be away from the needy crowd and from teaching and leading his disciples. In fact when the disciples ask Him to teach them to pray he encourages them:
…when you pray go to your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus encourages them to go to their room, to their own personal space where they are comfortable and at ease. Then his next instruction is to close the door, i.e. to shut everything out – it’s you and God alone in prayer. Then, finally pray to your Father who is unseen – not to an idol made of earthly materials and placed in front of you so you can look at it and focus on it, but to the Father who is unseen, i.e. you need faith and belief to pray.
Written by Julie Porter