Time Alone

by Jan Silvious

Time Alone

Not long ago I was confined to bed due to an illness. At first I relished the delicious freedom from my demanding schedule. I rested, read, prayed. Then I flipped the TV from channel to channel. About two days of that enforced solitude and I was stir-crazy, bordering on depression.

I talk with many people who claim that their greatest pain is loneliness and, consequently, they try to avoid being alone at all costs. I have even heard "aloneness" used as an excuse for pursuing illicit sexual relationships, for murmuring and complaining against God, and even for contemplating suicide.

Being alone can be frightening, but I am convinced that the constructive use of these times can be one of the best helps you will find for combatting loneliness.

Jesus Christ used aloneness to advantage. The Scriptures say repeatedly that He "often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16). He deliberately made time to be alone, when in reality He could have been surrounded by people constantly.

If you often find yourself alone against your will, you may be caught by surprise at the feeling of panic and emptiness. The busier people are, the harder it is to adjust to aloneness. But if you plan your alone times, you can view the time as a gift rather than a curse.

Try these practical suggestions for spending time alone:

1. Write out your prayers. Take the time to pour out your heart to God on paper. You'll be amazed at what that will do for you when you come back to it the next day or the next month. This record of your conversation with God may motivate you to communicate more often with Him. And it will be exciting to see how He responds.

2. Read. There are some powerful books now available that can change your life. Go to a Christian bookstore or library and get a book you have wanted to read. This is a good time to begin.

3. Catch up on your correspondence. Ask God to give you the pen of an encourager as you reach out to people you have been meaning to write.

4. Complete that project you've put aside for a rainy day. As you work, talk with God as if He were standing by your elbow. Invite Him to speak to you in the still, small voice that can only be heard when you are quiet...and alone.

When you are back in circulation, you will feel refreshed and better able to meet the challenges of your busy life.

From The 5-Minute Devotional

©Zondervan 1991