Solitude vs. Isolation|
by Cary Branscum
Isolation for a long period of time is a bad deal for anyone, especially singles. Solitude, on the other hand, is a welcome Christian alternative to the humdrum of modern life.
Let's deal with isolation first. What can cause it?
- Relational loss. You can be close to someone, and then lose them. Friendships come and go, and if we don't have some key ongoing relationships we have no one with whom to connect.
- Job moves and career changes. In Austin Texas we meet a lot of new folks in their 20s who have just taken a job with one of several hundred hi-tech businesses in our city. They have a job, a place to stay, a car and absolutely no one they know in town! There is very much a sense of having no roots..
- Being out of a job. This is tough for many reasons, and it can take you away from a circle of friends.
- Self-alienation. This is such an internal cause of isolation, and in many ways the most difficult. Our sin, our failure to own our feelings, addictive behaviors, can all aggravate this condition. It is hard to connect with others if you are alienated from yourself and God. At the same time, there may be those who seek to know you, and break through the isolation barrier. They can't reach through that barrier if you are alienated from yourself.
- Normal grief processes. Loss and gain are part of life. It's easier to deal with the gains than the losses. If someone close to you dies, or if you divorce, or you experience any real sense of loss, that needs to be dealt with in a healthy way. If not, the process goes on for a much longer time, and isolation can become a problem.
- Have you ever stared out a window and blinked back tears because you felt cut off from the world, and people, and yourself? Let me tell you, you are not the only one my friend!
Whoa. I'm kinda depressed after talking about isolation. Let's talk about solitude and finish on a better note of optimism and faith!
- Solitude is closing the door on the hustle and bustle, turning off the stereo and television, and listening to God and yourself for a set period of time.
- Solitude is a place to think, dream, and be.
- Solitude grows in an environment you create. Yes, you can create a quiet place for your soul. A favorite chair in a quiet spot, perhaps a door you can close, a phone to unplug for a few minutes. Some books that stimulate the spirit, a candle or two (be conscious of fire safety), a notebook, a pen or pencil. Make this your special place, and in the midst of noise everyday, you will find yourself looking forward to making it back to that place for a few minutes of solitude. Begin with a prayer, become conscious of your breathing level, slow down, get quiet, and go from there. If you DO fall asleep, maybe sleep is what you need anyway.
- Solitude leaves you refreshed and ready to meet people in your world. They will notice a change in you; a sense of peace and they fill find that refreshing and interesting.
- Solitude thrives in prayer, Bible study, and praise. Find a quiet time to do these things in solitude. You want to know something REALLY AMAZING? These times of solitary worship will enrich your worship with other Christians in incredible ways. Try it.