Were you scared of the dark when you were a little kid? I remember a few nights, alone in my room, where every sound conjured up frightening images of things. As an adult, I have spent nights alone in the woods where squirrels and raccoons sounded like lions and bears. One of the scariest things about being alone in the dark is the alone part. Have you ever noticed that the fear of darkness seems to vanish when other people are around?
When we are alone we are forced to confront ourselves instead of others around us. Other people make us feel comfortable, safe, and secure. They also give us other people to judge or criticize. When you are by yourself, you have no one else to blame or count on; it’s just you.
This is why many of us don’t like being alone. However, solitude is one of the best ways to hear from God.
When was the last time you were alone? No, really alone? No distractions like television, music, or other forms of media. No, you’re not listening: really, really alone! Alone in your mind, not focusing on other people or events. Alone in your heart, allowing yourself to sense all that is going on inside of you?
OK, I’m going to break my own rules here. You can allow one person to be with you and that person is God. How do you allow God in but everyone else out? Focus on him. Removing external distractions is step one, removing internal distractions is step two, and inviting God in is step three. You can do this by reading scripture or through prayer. Better yet, do both!
Being alone is scary because our true selves are unable to hide behind anyone or anything else. God confronts us and our need for him is made clearly known. God speaks to you when you are alone in a unique and powerful way. It is honest, clear, and leaves you without any excuses.
It can be scary to be alone but I would encourage you to find some time to practice solitude and silence. You never know what you’ll find.