One of the main reasons I decided to do this series is because I enjoy being alone. Yes, you heard that right. I thoroughly enjoy spending time by myself.
There was a time when this wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, I got roped into buying into society’s warped definition of being alone. Oftentimes, being alone is viewed from a negative perspective. For some reason, society tends to equate being alone with loneliness. This is simply not true. Being alone means when you’re not around anyone. It’s just you by yourself without the presence of people. You can be alone but not lonely.
So many people have fallen into the trap of thinking that if you’re not around people, you’re going to experience loneliness automatically. Again, this is not true. Loneliness is a state of mind. It is an emotion whereby you are left feeling disconnected or isolated. You can experience loneliness and be in a crowded room. Trust me; I’ve been there before.
The main reason why I feel many people confuse being alone with loneliness is that they don’t know how to make the most of their alone time. When you’re not used to being alone, it can feel uncomfortable. When you’re alone, it forces you to confront your issues. The reason why this world is so messed up is that too many people would rather pretend that they don’t have any problems that need to be resolved. They would rather avoid facing their pain and shortcomings or shift the blame to someone else.
When you’re alone, you can’t hide. You can’t escape from your thoughts. You should take this opportunity to get to know God. Instead, many choose to decline God’s invitation to get to know Him. In an attempt to silence those thoughts, people choose to spend an inordinate amount of time watching TV, hanging out with the wrong crowd, drinking, sleeping around, or wasting time scrolling on social media. None of the aforementioned is going to help you resolve your issues. Being alone will force you to identify your issues and the situations that trigger the reactions that cause you to be less than your best.
If you don’t spend time by yourself, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to take your life to the next level. If you’re living your life according to the plans God has for you, then being alone and lonely will never go hand in hand. As I’ve grown older, I crave my alone time. I know what it is like to experience that peace that surpasses all understanding even when there’s a storm raging all around you. If you’re not quite sure how to make the most of your alone time, here are some suggestions and questions you should ask yourself:
You need to go somewhere quiet. You cannot make the most of your alone time if you’re in a noisy area. You want to spend alone time in God’s presence distraction free–yes that means to turn your phone on focus mode people. You can and will survive without receiving that call or text. Spending time alone with God is way more important. For me, the mornings tend to be the best time for me to check in with God. It’s super quiet. I have two spots where I can zone out and talk to God. My favorite is the balcony because it overlooks the lake. Seeing all that beauty sets the tone for the day.
My alone time is very similar to an onion. I start off thanking God for my blessings, then I get to work on peeling off layers of my onion by asking God a question and sitting in silence pondering my situation. If we’re truly making the most of our alone time, we’re going to be peeling away a lot of layers aka asking God a lot of questions.
The first layer that you need to peel is to ask yourself, “How do I feel?” This can be a very tricky question. Our feelings can be distorted if they are not aligned with God’s word. For example, we may be feeling worthless, but that doesn’t mean that we are worthless. Remember, God, says we are more than conquerors because we’re members of a royal priesthood (Rom 8:37, ).
So I like to start my alone time addressing how I feel and if those feelings don’t align with who God says I am, I pray for His guidance to help me get rid of them. I used to feel so insecure and fearful. As I continued to work on myself, God helped me remember that He didn’t give me the spirit of fear, He gave me power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7). Once I identify how I feel, I’m in the right frame of mindset to continue the conversation.
I’m able to express gratitude to God for all the many blessings He has given me. Yet, I don’t take those blessings for granted. I don’t want to grow complacent, so then I ask Him to point out areas where there are sins that I need to address or areas I need to improve on, I share my concerns and invite him into the conversation so He can help me resolve my issues.
You can’t expect God to help you if you haven’t taken the time to delight yourself in Him first (Psalm 37:4). He’s not a genie. He’s not out here granting wishes to people who could care less about Him. We don’t like it when people try to use us, so you can imagine how God feels.
The next layer or layers that I peel is me asking myself tough questions. I determine why I feel a certain way and if that emotion is causing me to feel aligned with God’s plans for my life. If I feel like I’m on the wrong track, I will start identifying the people or activities that I’m participating in that are hindering me from being less than my best.
Many times we don’t even realize we have toxic people in our lives until it’s too late. Samson definitely could have benefited from spending time alone with God. Had Samson done so, he would have immediately noticed that Deliah was the source of his problems. He could have been spared living the rest of his life blind working as a grinder.
Perhaps had Samson spent time alone with God he could have been strengthened like Elijah. Elijah’s life was threatened simply because he proved that God was real and Baal the false idol they chose to worship, was fake. When Elijah heard that Jezebel wanted to kill him he was so depressed that he asked God to take his life. Elijah was feeling emotions of despair. God knew that Elijah’s speech was due to being in a toxic situation.
Yet, it was during this time God prompted Elijah to rest and eat. Then afterward he gave him a vision. When we’re hysterical God can’t talk to us. His voice has been described on several occasions as a still whisper (1 Kings 19: 11-13). We have to go to Him in prayer and seek His guidance. He is not going to compete with our emotions. Once Elijah had rest and food, Elijah was calm enough to see the plan God had for him and had the energy to turn that vision into reality.
Samson and Elijah are prime examples of why you don’t have your schedule so jampacked that you don’t have time to spend with God. Doing so will prevent you from learning the plans He has in store for you as well as the skills you need to gain to get to the next level.
By the time I’m done spending dedicated alone time with God, I’ve peeled a lot of layers. So, then I ask myself, “What am I going to do with these layers?” Now, is the time to pick up all those layers and put the advice or instructions He’s given me into action. As I’ve grown older I’m increasingly more protective of my time. I will NOT waste my time, energy, and resources on people and activities (business or personal) that do not add value to my life. There are only 24 hours in a day. I’m going to make the most of every last one of those hours.
I’m hoping that this episode will clear up the confusion about being alone does not mean you’re lonely as well as change the conversation about people being single. I’m single. I don’t have any children nor do I want any children. I’m single by choice. I’m an intelligent, funny, beautiful 40-year-old Black Christian woman who hasn’t met Mr. Right yet nor do I care if we ever find each other. My life is a mystery because it doesn’t fit society’s narrow-minded definition of being a successful Christian woman.
You will never hear me saying phrases like, “Enjoy your single season,” or “Be patient your time will come.” Contrary to what many people fail to believe your life doesn’t start nor have you “arrived” just because you change your marital status. God does not want us living in anticipation. He has already given us everything we need for an extraordinary life. It’s up to you to align your goals with Him so you can see the plans He has in store for you.
Again, because this world is so backward, many have been conditioned to think that someone like me would be lonely. This attitude is because many people in this world don’t like spending time by themselves so they can get to know God so they project their insecurities onto people like me.
Now I’m not a hermit, but I thoroughly enjoy spending time by myself. Seeking God’s guidance while I’m alone has placed me in a position to live my best life. I am happy. If I could take a picture of the happiest time in my life, where I am right now would be on the first page of my photo album. I am wealthy when it comes to being content and that’s what counts the most. If you have peace of mind, everything else will follow.
God has shared the plans He has in store for me, the skills and resources I need to gain, and the energy and determination I need to achieve those dreams. I’m busy working on projects that bring joy and happiness not only to my life but have also made an impact on the lives of others.
When you make the most of your alone time by spending it with God, you’re going to realize that all of the layers you peel during the process will enable you to make something extraordinary that will motivate others to do the same.