Verify Installation

Solitude and Community?

When was the last time you took some time to be alone with God?  I'm talking about being away from all the distractions and busyness of life.  No computer.  No cell phone.  No i-pod.  No T.V.  No email.  No blogging.  No nothing--except you, God, and maybe a Bible and a journal. 

Recently, I've been reflecting on the need for more solitude in my life.  I admit, it's hard for me to justify taking time out to do this.  By nature, I'm a planner.  I like to write my list in the morning and mark off all the things I've accomplished by the end of the day.  It makes me feel good.  It makes me feel like I matter.  And therein lies the problem.  I forget that it's not what I do for Christ, but who I am in Christ that makes me accepted and valued.  And so I need to take time to just be in His presence with no agenda but to be with Him and listen to Him.

Some of us, however, spend too much time alone and not enough time with others.  I can identify with this.  I like my time alone, and it's just easier sometimes to neglect community.  But the danger in solitude is that we miss the fellowship of others who can help us see into our souls.  We miss the encouragement and exhortation from those who care about the outcome of our faith.  We forget that only in community can we see ourselves rightly and play our part in Christ's body.

I think you know where I'm going with this.  The reality is that we need both solitude and community.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, Life Together (the inspiration for this blog), once said,

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community.  Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. 

How true.  And so my challenge for you (and me) is to seek out regular times of solitude as you pursue close community.  Practically, wouldn't it be wonderful to wed these two together in some kind of outing with others in your church?  Solitude mingled with community.  Community mingled with solitude.  Sounds like a worthwhile and perhaps life-changing idea.