"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One is the loneliest number...

"Language...has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of [it]."
-Paul Tillich

I again find myself alone for a few weeks while the hubby is training. I am reminded of the ache of not having my best friend and husband here with me each night, but I have also begun to see the redeeming value of a time of solitude. As a military wife, I am quickly learning that this is my state of being for the most part. Deployments and a ridiculous work schedule will give me more time by myself than with my husband. Before you start feeling pity for me, I want you to take a minute to look at this condition so many of us deem a pain rather than a glory.

Loneliness and solitude serve a spiritual purpose no matter how bad it can cause an ache in our side. Loneliness is as much as condition of the human experience as it is a condition of God's design. It is not without reason. Here is some scriptural proof:

1.) Loneliness forces us to turn to God.
"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted."Psalm 25:16 NIV
Loneliness is an attention grabber if ever our hearts had one. If there is anything that can force us to cry, "Hello God! It's me ________," loneliness is it. However, we often miss out on this opportunity to turn to Him and instead engage in activities that try to unravel the cord of solitude. Have you ever considered that perhaps the season or emotional aloneness you are going through could in fact be a way for God to finally get your attention and focus?

2.) God's power is revealed in the lonely.
"God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." Psalm 68:6 NIV
God likes to do the things that are counter intuitive to our mere mortal minds. The poor are rich in His eyes. The weak are strong. So, it would naturally follow that the lonely, He sets in families. As I look at how God has blessed my military journey, I am always reminded of the "families" He has provided me at every stop along the way. In Virginia, it was a group of Marines I fed quite regularly. In Florida, it was a Navy boy and a Marine (who I also fed quite regularly...) down the street along with an abundance of Christian sisters who were in the same military boat as me. Here, I've found the most incredible church family I have ever had in my life and another bountiful group of sisters in Christ whose husbands serve in the armed services. You see, God set me, a lonely girl following a boy and his dream in these "families." Families that have supported me through laughter and tears and everything in between.

3.) Loneliness is an opportunity for prayer.
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16
One thing I have found in the course of training and deployment is that my prayer life is stronger when my husband is gone. Perhaps it is the fact that there is limited adult interaction or that I just need to talk to someone. Sometimes we are forced to withdraw. And sometimes, like Christ, we need to choose it. Christ would often leave all the people that surrounded him to pray. Loneliness is an opportunity, if we will take it.

From a practical side, times of separation give me time to focus on things that I normally can't when my husband is here. I hate stagnation. And when I see people becoming stagnate in seasons where they have a chance to develop and grow, I can become frustrated beyond belief. If we believe what we say we believe, than we must recognize that everything serves a purpose, even if we don't necessarily know it. God has been showing me that in my times of solitude, He wants me to use it for writing, a call He has placed in my heart. Good writers need to experience every ounce of emotion they can to become credible and so it is my belief that the more emotion I feel, the better writer I can become. For others, He may use times of loneliness to focus one's efforts on their physical health, learning a new hobby, or creating. The point is that if you are finding yourself in a season of feeling alone, are you asking the question, "God, what should be my focus right now?" Loneliness can hurl us into a state of depression or spur us towards progression. It just depends on one to make the choice.

Here's to the lonely hearts club...

Until next time,

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