ALONE: The Beast and the Beauty, Part 2

ALONE is a
desolate place, indeed; the darkness formidable and consuming…
For much of my
life, I lived in its looming shadow, defining my worth by who was surrounding
me, and who wasn’t. If I had a best friend flanking me, I was secure. Worthy.
Admirable. If not, in my mind I was alone.
Which equated to insecure. Worthless. Vulnerable. Humiliated.
Truth be told,
those infernal “Best Friend” necklaces I craved and coveted were a noose around
my neck—both when I was wearing one, and when I hadn’t been claimed. Let’s be honest: as grown women we still feel the pull into the pit of
pettiness…once a girl, always a girl, I suppose.
But friends, let’s
not resign ourselves to certain doom: WE WERE MADE FOR MORE. For intimate relationship–heart to heart connection–with
our Maker, first and foremost. In the
same breath I pray for friends who will enrich my kids’ lives, increasing their
joy, and loving them for who God made them to be, I plead with a fervor born of
unfortunate experience that they would not draw their identity from those
friends—but rather from their Creator.
There’s exquisite beauty in alone.
In the grace-filled
shade of the Cross, alone can stimulate
growth in us like nothing else. When I’m alone,
I’m not focused on people-pleasing–only God-pleasing.
It’s simpler that way. Alone, I’m not
so susceptible to idolatry: putting a flawed person in God’s rightful place. God forbid that I ever NEED another person as
much as I need Him–or worse–more.

All-mightily knowing,
as He does, that I’d have a tendency to slip into this place, I think God
purposely made me a bit lonelier than I’d have wished. So that I’d be forced to
rely on HIM, alone. Interestingly
enough, people in my life comment frequently on the number of people I know and
friends I have. I am blessed—the
glory is God’s alone. But most would be astounded by the loneliness I’ve known—and
that these days, I’m (mostly) thankful for it.
Truth is,
popularity is not the end-all, be-all. Being intimately known and loved by the Almighty IS. (Oh, that we would impress this on our daughters–and sons—sparing them
some of our own childhood agony over belonging…)
Dictionary.com
defines “alone” as: “separate, apart, or isolated from others; to the exclusion
of all others or all else; unique, unequalled, unexcelled.” Behold the perfect
definition of our Heavenly Father. Who, from the beginning, was and is, and
always will be, alone in His
greatness.
In turn, He set
us apart, that we would seek Him, alone, for the one thing we need
most–our salvation and redemption. Our relationship with God is, quite simply,
a solo journey. Me, Himself, and I. At my creation, it was just the two of
us there in the womb: Fashioner and fashioned. We were created for solidarity
with God, and sometimes His best for us will necessitate our going it alone.
But, as if this
masterful plan weren’t beautiful enough, one of the magnificient ironies He orchestrated
in the midst of all this is community,
for which he also created us—to revel,
together, in our dramatic tales of Heavenly rescue, spurring one another on to
greater dependence on Him. This cycle, set in motion by the One Who is ALL we
need–it’s a thing of marked beauty.


Today, even
after all the tears of alone, I’m
awestruck by God’s faithfulness: He‘s surrounded me with precious,
Christ-following friends who know me, and remarkably, still love me (grin). But this, after seasons of
loneliness…as if He was waiting for me to arrive at a place of Him being
ENOUGH, before He’d open the floodgates. This was the journey He had for me;
the path He knew I needed to travel, before I’d trust Him at my life’s helm, in
loneliness and prosperity.
Through it all,
I’ve grown to embrace—enjoy–alone. My introverted heart needs alone like oxygen. I spent years
fighting this reality, to my detriment, thinking this was unnatural; that I was
no one when not surrounded by someone.
However, I was not being true to ME—the one that required alone to find my true value in my Maker. Even the most extroverted souls
need time to be alone, however wildly they might fight it. This is the sacred space
where we can hear God most clearly…where He can do some of His best work in us,
unfettered…where, ironically, we are anything
but alone.

Consider Moses’
call to alone: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘…but Moses alone
is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not
come up with him.’” Exodus 24:1-2 (NIV, emphasis mine) God had something important
to impart to Moses (the Covenant), and He required Moses, alone, to accomplish it.
And Jesus’ experiences
with alone: praying it out in the
Garden of Gethsemene; forty days of fasting, praying and testing in the desert;
the CROSS–the very apex of alone. But the beauty that sprung forth from those acts of alone is “unique, unequalled, unexcelled”, just like the Savior who
endured them.
Maybe you’re in
the thick of alone as I write…
Perhaps you’ve recently
moved and your whole world is foreign–your town, your school, your church, your
grocery store–and alone is all you and your family currently know.
Maybe you’ve
recently lost your significant other to death or divorce, and alone seems your suffocating constant; your
sole companion.

Or maybe you feel
imprisoned in a marriage that’s rendered you horribly alone, wondering if you’ll ever
feel connection and companionship with this person to whom you pledged your
life. A life sentence, it might feel.
Just maybe you’re
like me: after years caught up in the noisy, all-consuming whirlwind of childbearing/rearing,
your little ones have gone off to school, leaving you alone in your painfully quiet house, to wonder, Now what?!?!?
Whatever
circumstance finds you alone, be
assured that God Alone gets it, and
has your best in mind. He’ll use your
loneliness to draw you closer to His side, lovingly hemming you in, speaking truth
into your life in the quiet, that you otherwise might not have ears to hear. He can birth beauty through this still,
solitary season, however frigid and unpleasant your particular winter may feel.
Just remember in
the midst of it, if we’re looking mainly to other fallen individuals to hold
our hearts, keeping them company, we’ll always be wanting for more. But then,
when God says it’s your time again, having grounded you in HIM, embrace the community
He created you for, for all the abundance it has to offer, as you draw from the
wellspring of a relationship with Christ.
Even as grown
women, let’s not take Satan’s fated bait, defining our worth by the size of the
pack that surrounds us, or the number of Facebook friends (and likes) we garner. Rather, let’s stand on
our identity in Christ and embrace seasons of alone expectantly, for everything we stand to learn from Him in the
solitude. Let’s live for an audience of ONE, alone!
Come to the River…
“I will ask the
Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain constantly with you. The world does not recognize
the Spirit of truth, because it does not know the Spirit and is unable to
receive Him. But you do know the Spirit because He lives with you, and He will
dwell in you. I will never abandon you
like orphans; I will return to be with you.” John 14:16-18  (The Voice, emphasis mine)

4 thoughts on “ALONE: The Beast and the Beauty, Part 2

  1. Leslie,
    This post really hit home! As an extrovert, I thrive on having people around me and being "engaged" all the time. Perhaps I am a bit unsure of what will happen when I am truly alone and quiet. Silence is scary for me sometimes…maybe because its in those quiet, reflective times…all the stuff comes to the surface and I have to be real and deal with it. Often, I need to set aside all the outside noise and get alone with the Lord. He is so present and speaks more often when I shut out all the outside influences and focus on Him alone.

    I appreciate you friend, you crafter of words, who ministers to me so greatly with each post! I am blessed to call you friend and I hope you know how much you are loved and adored by all who know you.
    Paula

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