devozine

Spiritual Practice

LONELY OR ALONE?

Katy Steele

Being lonely and being alone are not the same thing—not even close. Yet, only recently did I realize the difference. I love being with my friends and hanging out in groups; and like many people I know, I experience the occasional case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when I’m not a part of something. Society conditions us to believe that our worth is tied into always being plugged in, being in the loop, going somewhere, and doing something. I fell into this trap my freshman year of college when I was convinced that if ever I was alone, I was somehow less cool.

As I’ve grown up, the Lord has shown me that being alone can be beautiful. Solitude quiets my heart, my mind, and my soul so that I can listen for God. Now, I often crave alone time, and I plan it into my days and weeks. I may walk in the park, relax in my hammock, or wander through the quaint coffee shops in town. Whatever I do, I always come back feeling uplifted and full of life. A few years ago, I think I would have said that being alone was scary; but I failed to understand God’s promise never to leave us. Now that I know God is always with me, being alone will never be lonely again.

 

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. . . . God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (The Message)

TRY IT: Pick a day this week to enjoy half an hour of intentional alone time. Invite God to be with you in that time, and be honest with God if you start feeling lonely. If this practice isn’t easy, don’t give up! Try again next week and the week after that until you begin to feel more comfortable with solitude. Before long, you too may begin to crave these times with God.

—from devozine (July/August 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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