Where do you go to spend time alone with God when you have no place to go?
Recently, my husband and I flew to North Carolina to visit our daughter and her new husband. We spent part of one day on the beach near Surf City, and it was a glorious day. After splashing in the waves and making a video about the new sights I was seeing for our What I Saw Today Facebook group page, I detached myself from the family so I could spend some time alone with God.
It was much needed. The last three months have been tough on several fronts, and I desperately wanted to reconnect with my Abba Father. Being a pastor’s wife, I’m around people a lot. Because I don’t drive, I can’t escape to the serene places I envision as the perfect oases for time alone with God, If I can’t have my pretty, peaceful, perfect place, I tend to not do it at all.
My time at the ocean reinforced my need for time with my God and the importance of finding my solitary place, no matter where it might be.
Time alone with God is a good thing. Jesus did it.
Jesus was intentional in His time spent with His Father.
The Bible says in Matthew 14:13 that Jesus withdrew to a solitary place. He had experienced some tough times too. The crowds were always at his elbow, there were so many needy, hurting people crying out for His attention and compassion, and He bore His own private pain of the execution of his cousin, John the Baptist. The night before the cross, he took Peter, James and John to a quiet spot in the Garden of Gethsemane and then withdrew to be alone with His God.
Jesus did a good thing, the right thing. When life smacks you in the face, the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to withdraw. You can go by yourself or take a few good friends.
Lena Hann did this. When diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer, Lena withdrew to her daughter’s house for a weekend. Church people were told, “Don’t call. Let me be.” Our small congregation respected that. A week later, Lena rejoined our church community, strong and ready to face the final few weeks of her life.
I don’t have to wait to the end of my life for moments with my Lord. Time alone with God needs to be a rgular practice. Just like Jesus, I need to be intentional. And so do you. If we have no place to go, how do we make it happen?
Where is my solitary place?
Where would I like it to be? A coffee shop. A beautiful place. A Gazebo in the middle of a botanical garden. A park. A comfy couch in an alcove with quiet music and a coffee pot nearby.
But I don’t drive and I live in a small town with a backyard minus a fence to hide my tears and cries to God. What are my options?
- Home while my husband is at work
- My breezeway
- Back yard canopy
- The rocking chair in my office
- An alcove at our church next door.
What solitary places can you use for your time alone with God. Stop right here and brainstorm a list.
Still stumped? It’s not necessarily about a place but about the time. It isn’t about where you go to but what you get away from. Here are some ways you can create your own solitary place.
Creating your personal space and time
Get rid of the excuses. I used these excuses about places I could use as my solitary place.
- Too hot or cold to be outside
- Too far to walk to a restaurant
- No place to hold my Bible
That’s when I came up with the list of places I COULD go rather than what WOULDN’T work.
Follow Jesus’ example and command. Jesus sought a solitary place, not a beautiful place. I was dismissing options because in my mind, they didn’t create an environment of beauty and peace. Jesus emphasized that whatever we do, we need to be alone so it’s just Him and us. Jesus instructs his disciples to go into an inner room, or closet as the King James says, to pray in secret. That might be the best idea for you! A closet is dark, free of distractions, and too small for even the cat or dog to join you.
Remove distractions. Hide your smart phone so you can’t hear the notification chime. Contrary to all the pictures on Google that show someone with their Bible and a cup of coffee, leave your coffee in the kitchen. It’s one more distraction. Let God know your time with Him is more important than anything.
Communicate your priority. If you work in an office or a home office, treat your time alone with God as an appointment. If you are a parent, tell your kids that you need some moment by yourself. When my girls were in elementary school, I told them, “I will be a better mom if I have a few moments by myself to talk with God and read my Bible. You need to let me do this and not bother me for the next [x numbers of] minutes.”
Make the most of the moment. I’m bad about this. As a pastor, my husband’s schedule and time to arrive home is unpredictable. If I suspect he is coming home soon, I delay getting into a big project or something for which I need alone time. I’ve learned to do it anyway. If I don’t want to be disturbed, I close my office door – that’s Jack’s signal that I am off limits.
Jesus, as the all-knowing Son of God, knew beforehand that 5,000 hungry people would follow him to his retreat with his disciples. He could have easily thought, why bother? I’ll get interrupted anyway. He persisted in taking them to a solitary place, dealt with the interruption, and then finished His time alone with God after he sent the disciples on ahead.
Don’t wait for the perfect time or perfect place for your time alone with God. Make it happen. He’s waiting for you.
Where is your solitary place? Share with us in the comments below.