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Solitude, Loneliness, and Fulfillment

Elise Hof September 23, 2020
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When social distancing, masking, and travel bans were still foreign concepts, I lived a busy lifestyle. I was thrilled with how I saw God working in my life, both around me and inside my own heart. My life was motivated by a sincere hope. However, I would be lying if I said that fervor has remained steady through this time of isolation and quarantine.  


As a culture, we avoid solitude. 


For many, myself included, being alone with ourselves is an uncomfortable feeling. For this reason, we turn to distractions to entertain ourselves. We play music when we are home alone, and the house feels too quiet. We attempt to fill our schedules and turn to new hobbies in boredom. We try to outrun our loneliness. But this constant activity drains us, especially when we have to distance ourselves from our friends, our community, and even our church for ever-increasing amounts of time. Amidst all of the action, loneliness has turned into its own epidemic, yet solitude remains unheard-of.


Christ sought out lonely places.


While we rarely choose to distance ourselves from the world around us and dwell in lonely places, we see in the Bible that Jesus sought out the lonely places. He found solace where others found an uninhabitable wasteland. Isolation was not something Jesus feared; instead, He embraced it, and he used His seclusion to seek out the Lord.  


The priority Jesus placed on solitude is evident throughout the Gospels. In privacy, Jesus prepared for His ministry. After He was baptized, Jesus went out into the desert and fasted so that He could be alone with God—without distractions– before He began His ministry (Matthew 3). In solitude, Jesus and His disciples rested. Following a day of ministry, Jesus told His disciples to,


 “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31). 


In solitude, Jesus dealt with grief. Matthew 14:13 says that when Jesus heard the news that his cousin John the Baptist was beheaded, he withdrew “to a desolate place by himself” to grieve. 


In solitude, Jesus went to God with His distress. In the hours leading up to His arrest, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed away from His disciples. In solitude, Jesus cared for His soul.


God calls us to solitude. 


In Matthew 6:6, we are told, 


“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 


This pandemic has provided a rare opportunity to be still and silent with our Lord. Hidden in this crisis is an invitation to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Although sometimes difficult, physical stillness helps us connect to Christ. Our loneliness can open us to a more profound knowledge of God’s love, one that isn’t dependent on our circumstances.


Facing loneliness can be scary. 


There are times when I put off spending quiet time with Christ in my loneliness because loneliness can make me see things about myself that I don’t want to see. In moments like these, I must remember that I do not serve a God of shame. I serve a God of love. When I lay my loneliness in God’s hands, I do not fall into a pit of despair as I feared. Instead, His peace fills that passes understanding fills me. I find His love and healing for my broken parts.  


In my own story, finding the light inside the darkness of loneliness is a struggle. But with growing confidence, I know if Jesus sought out the lonely places, He will abide with me in mine. I have come to find that my loneliness is not a burden; instead, it is a blessing that instills a deep desire that only Christ can fulfill. My loneliness drives me to Christ. Do not dwell on the pain you feel in your loneliness. Instead, press into Christ. Set aside your distractions and let God fulfill your longing. 

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of TeenPact Leadership Schools. To learn more about our Vision & Values, please visit teenpact.com/vision-values/.

About the Author

Elise Hof

Elise Hof is a 2020-2021 TeenPact Student Body Senator. She hails from Altoona, Iowa.