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Preserved by Purpose: Solitude: A Christian (and Writer’s) Best Friend

“God sometimes has relationships end so he can make room for the ones he wants us to have in our lives” A few years ago, I was talking to a friend about some recent changes with some close friendships when he shared these profound words with me. He also reminded me that God will allow relationships to shift as He calls us to deeper levels of intimacy with Him. Along with these relationship shifts comes refreshing solitude which might be one way God isolates us so we can hear his voice better. In order to make room for those changes, God sometimes will allow friendships to shift or completely end.

The bible has many stories from Moses who got the Ten Commandments from God alone (Exodus 19:20) to Jesus praying alone in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 28:26). In these and other examples, solitude seemed to happen before an elevation in ministry. John 8:29 says, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” This scripture seems to remind us that God’s presence will remain with us as we strive to live in His will.

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I find times of solitude or when I feel most lonely that I express myself best in my writings. What I’ve found that works best for me during those most emotional times is to take a pen and write my feelings in a journal. It took a while, but I’ve come to embrace my seasons of solitude. I also remember a fellow writer sharing a few years back how she also struggled with feeling lonely. She noted, however, that she saw her solitude as the best choice for when she felt like she needed to pull back from others when she wanted to write. I admired how she embraced solitude and the words of John Lubbock “The whole value of solitude depends upon one’s self; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it.” In other words, solitude is what you make it.

Over the past six months, I’ve had to put this quote into more practice as I found myself spending more time by myself. Some of the solitude was because of my work and school homework responsibilities. Other times were because I just felt the need to be by myself. And for me, an extrovert who loves people and being around people, I found it odd.

Now, I’ve come to relish those times where it’s just me alone in the presence of God. So many of us enjoy the presence of God with gospel music, but I’m learning there is a life changing peace that comes from submitting yourself to the powerful presence of God.

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email he at preservedbypurpose@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.

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