Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Authentic Solitude

I think the actual act of being alone, is something so rare that we don't even really know how to do it anymore.  We are so caught up in the information that is constantly bombarding us that we forget to just quiet our hearts, our minds, and listen.  

I spent 24 hours completely alone.  I put my phone on airplane mode, I went to a place that is built for solitude and after getting checked in I did not have contact with another human being for 24 hours.  

You know what I found?  It took me till about 5 hours after I had arrived to actually feel alone.  It took that long to truly calm my heart, my thoughts, and allow myself to just be in the presence of God.  Why?  Shouldn't I be so in tune with being in His presence that it is automatic for me, when I come into a quiet place?  Shouldn't it be easy to be alone with my Creator?  

I found that authentic solitude is a journey.  It is a hard journey.  It means being completely raw, completely broken, completely focused....and completely not in control.  That is a hard place to be.  Yet, it is a necessary place to be.  

Sometimes I want to wear a mask, you know we have them for different groups of people.  In my journey this past year I have learned how to take my masks off.  I have learned that my value and worth are in Jesus, and that is honestly enough.  Sometimes though I try to wear my mask when I am in the presence of the all-knowing Creator.  Sometimes I think that He doesn't know me, that He doesn't see me, you know the real me.  The parts of me that I am still holding back from even those closest to me because I am so scared that they might in that moment of release, well they might reject me. 

Sometimes I am afraid of that with God too.  I get so caught up in forgetting what He has gotten me through that I try to hide behind everything I want to be, instead of just being who I actually am.  He knows.  He knows my mask.  He knows my struggles, and He meets me anyways.  

In the stillness walking around the pond yesterday, and this morning I let go of all that I was afraid of.  I became raw, I became abandoned to the truth of who I am and what I want.  I let go of the things that I am ashamed I have walked through.  I let go of the truths that aren't really truths that I have believed about myself.  I let go of the hold that other people have had on me by making me feel guilty for who I am.  I allowed God to complete those hurts, to fill them with love...and I allowed Him to take that control back.  

Authentic solitude isn't just about being alone.  Some of us, including me are alone quite often.  In my car on the way to work, in my classroom when my students are in other places, at night when I am getting ready to start another day.  In those moments I am alone, but most of the time I am not in the midst of authentic solitude.  Authentic solitude takes more then just a few moments here or there.  Authentic solitude takes every fear, heartache, bitterness, anger, resentment, expectation that didn't get filled, lack of value, and lays it down.  Authentic solitude means rawness, openness and tears.  Authentic solitude means admitting that there are things that need to be worked on.  There are no masks in authentic solitude...for when you are truly alone with God....and admitting exactly where you are...that's when He reaches down, wraps you up....and lets you know you are no longer alone. He accepts those moments of complete rawness, and He loves...to overflowing.  

The more we experience authentic solitude, the more we are able to understand God's love, and make it first in our hearts and on our minds.   

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