Alone Does Not Equal Lonely

peacefully swingingAre you alone, lonely, or both?

Being alone is not a prerequisite for being lonely. Doesn’t seem quite logical, does it?

Physical aloneness is absolutely necessary from time to time. And not just for the obvious personal reasons like showering or changing clothes!

People seek to be alone for a multitude of reasons:

  • They might need to spend time alone to commune with nature or themselves. It’s tough to reach inside, to become introspective, when the cacophony of life surrounds you. Very few people can meditate in a busy and/or noisy setting.
  • They might need to concentrate on a task. A local writers’ group has “Write-outs” every so often. These are usually half-days when the members gather just to write. Having other writers there allows one to bounce ideas off each other and to get a quick critique of a work-in-progress. However, it doesn’t take very many talkative people for the meeting to defeat the intended purpose and actually inhibit creative or productive writing.
  • They might need to recharge emotionally. Introverts are known for disappearing periodically. They need the solitude to recover from the stress of being involved with other people.praying hands with rosary
  • They might need to spend time with God. A retreat is often helpful for this, but you still have other people around. When I feel this need beyond my daily prayer and Bible reading, I usually go to the lake. I walk around it once or twice, get a drink from a nearby Starbucks, then sit with my Bible at a lakeside table and ask God what He wants to teach me. Often He lets me write words of encouragement for a friend, but most of the time His words are personal.
  • They might just need physical rest. Down time.

All of these are times when being alone is profitable and pleasant. It’s healthy. And it’s not lonely.

There is a scripture verse that seems like a contradiction in terms: Labor to enter into His rest. (From Hebrews 4:10-11). Resting from our struggles, tasks, and challenges demands effort. We commonly have to choose to be alone.

footprints in sandIt’s often easier to put down our heads and keep going. But being easier doesn’t make it good for us.

Being alone is not the same as being lonely. It’s an important concept, especially for the extroverts among us.

this is part 2 of a series on Loneliness

Part1|One is the Loneliest Number

Part 2|Alone Does Not Equal Lonely

Part 3|Lonely in a Crowd

Part 4|Unloved and Lonely

Part 5|Lonely in our Selfishness

Part 6|Love Fights Loneliness

Part 7|Love is Laying Down Your Soul

Part 8| Misunderstanding “Laying Down Your Soul”

Part 9| Unknown and Lonely

Part 10| Lonely in a Good Marriage

all illustrations courtesy of