Today, for the first time in quite a few days, I spent the afternoon and evening totally alone. I could have found companionship if I had looked, but honestly I was not in the least bit unhappy to be alone; yet it was not always this way. When I was younger I hated being alone and became very despondent if I was not with friends and family. I needed to be surrounded by them and found that the only way my self-esteem, personal confidence, and sense of worth could be affirmed was to be in the presence of those that loved me. In truth, I really did not want to be myself because I really did not like myself. After all, who wants to be stuck with someone they don’t like! When I was with the people that cared about me they would tell me I was “okay” and I believed them. Apart from that sort of affirmation I would freeze. Pity the teenager that has neither family, friends, nor a Savior to affirm him or her.
It was not until I was more mature in my Christian walk that I came to understand the depth of God’s love for me that I began to actually embrace my time alone. Why? Because it is when I am alone, and only when I am alone, that feel the most intense presence and power of God — and I love that more than any other joy that the world has to offer.
I cannot think of one instance in the Bible where a man or woman experienced an epiphany or was made aware of His unimaginable love while in the presence of even one other person. It was only when they were alone that God spoke to them. Think of Moses at the burning bush or on Mt. Sinai, or Jonah’s talk with God in the belly of the fish, or how God spoke to Elijah in the wilderness and a cave, or later when Saint Francis heard the voice of God at San Damiano to rebuild His church. The list goes on and on — God spoke and men and women responded in an astounding fashion because they heard His voice. When you really, truly hear Him you are changed forever.
My concern is that in all of my “busy-ness” maybe I am not alone enough to invest in the quality time that is required if I would continue to hear Him. It’s been easier for me than most people to be alone and listen, but that’s about to change forever in my life. Am I ready for the challenge of having more demands on my private time? I must be alone for times of intimacy with Him regardless of how full my home is with those that I love.
It’s a matter of choosing my first love and taking the action required to maintain that intimacy.