I am a digital immigrant. I didn’t grow up with iPads, iPods or any other cool gadget. I didn’t even have my first computer until my senior year in college. And yet I’ve assimilated seamlessly. So much so that I am constantly connected to my phone. It’s not because I get bombarded with a ton phone calls and messages throughout the day, but because I browse my social media feeds and several other apps.
The other day I caught myself scrolling through my Facebook feed, then Instagram, then Twitter, then snapchat then ESPN, then the news, and then…I STARTED OVER….like three more times, searching for God knows what. It’s like an addiction, without the hangover.
I remember transitioning from a flip phone to a smartphone in 2004. I thought it was the most amazing piece of technology. I loved having instant access to my emails, calendar, text messages, games, really everything I needed in one device. That little piece of technology that was supposed to change everything, really did change everything and not necessarily in positive ways. Having instant access to phone calls, messages and emails brought with it the expectation to respond “instantly”. That was part of the problem.
It’s suffocating to think you always have to be available simply because your phone is in your pocket everywhere you go.
I am not so naive as to suggest we get rid of our smartphones. They are extremely useful, but for myself I know there are times when I need to shut it off, isolate myself from distractions and enter into the sacred silence of solitude.
My Everyday Cathedral
My Everyday Cathedral happened when I went for a run without headphones. No headphones meant no music, no audible books, no podcasts, just…my…thoughts. The sacred silence of solitude was peaceful and what I needed.
The following are four ways solitude has been essential for my life.
Four Benefits of Solitude
1.It sets the tone for your day.
Establishing a daily rhythm of solitude is crucial to living a balanced life. The Bible tells us that Jesus would often get away to spend time in solitude to pray (Mark 1v35). Beginning the day in solitude sets the tone for the rest of your day. How you begin your day manifests itself throughout the day. If you are like me, sometimes I need moments of solitude throughout the day to reset and recharge.
2.It gives you time to think and take an internal inventory of what is really important.
You only have so much energy and time in a day. To live meaningfully is to give your time and energy to the things that matter the most. We are easily distracted by immediate things that we often neglect the important things. Solitude helps to keep you focused on the important things.
3.It reminds you that your value is not tied to how much you can create or produce but rather your value comes from you being you.
We live in a world where our value is tied to our doings. But we are not human doings, we are human beings. We have value because we are made in the Image of God (Genesis 1v27). We don’t earn our worth, it is breathed into us by God. Solitude centers us on this truth and gives us courage to be just as we are.
4.It helps quite the distractions and allows you to listen to God.
The Bible describes God’s voice as a whisper (1 Kings 19). Which is a reminder that it’s easier to listen when we silence the distractions. Especially when it comes to listening to God, God’s voice comes in nudges, subtleties and whispers.
These are only four benefits of solitude. There are certainly many more. I would like to hear from you. What are the ways you benefit from solitude?
*This picture was taken at the David Wilson Field on the Campus of Chapman University.