Learning How To Be Alone

It took everything I had not to pick up my phone and call someone tonight.
I had to purposefully put down my car keys, and tell myself not to ‘drop by’ any of my friends’ homes.

I even contemplated going to the gym, just so I’d be around people and be able to politely ignore them while secretly enjoying their company, knowing we were all doing the same activity, feeling the same way, hearts pounding, sweat prickling, and feet slamming down on the treadmills, side by side, all running sort of in the same direction, going nowhere. But again, I stopped myself.

Tonight, I would try to learn how to be alone.

I changed out of my cute clothes, topping off the laundry basket. What does one wear to be alone? Lounge clothes? Okay. So I chose to wear my cotton “same same but different” t-shirt from Asia (WR free pile!), and my terracotta Grey’s Anatomy brand scrub pants, hands-down my softest scrubs. It baffles me still that I used to be paid the big bucks to save lives while wearing the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned.

I take a load of laundry down the stairs, sorting them, thinking to myself how much I don’t understand introverts. How do they enjoy the silence? Don’t they miss the laughter?

alernterm1


What extroverts secretly think of introverts. #realtalk

I come upstairs and wonder to myself (obviously) if there’s something wrong with me.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Which is really hard, or so it sounds like. I’ve never been hit with a ton of bricks… I hope to never experience that… anyway…

It hit me like a ton of bricks that I’M NOT ALONE!

I felt like such a jerk. He was right there. He is RIGHT here.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I repented in my heart and rebuked my eyes for not seeing the unseen loveliness of the presence of God.

It is not good for man to be alone,” He said.

If it isn’t good, for my ultimate good, my God would never allow it.

Being alone, feeling alone–not good. And we don’t have a choice in that. He’s always here.

He loves us way too much to want to be apart from us, dying to bridge the gap between sin and perfect holiness.

Dying to kill my dependence on the seen, on people.

Dying to kill my loneliness.

Dying to fill that empty void that craves and craves and craves…

I love people so much. I was made to love lots of people, and truly enjoy their presence. I was made to have a loud home, a busy kitchen, fun-having company. I was made to be affectionate and nurturing. That is who I am. That’s all I want to do when I get home.

So yes, it feels absolutely foreign to me when there is nobody around. When I can’t make jokes that are so not even funny, and laugh at myself for trying. When I want to hug and there’s not someone to hug. When I want to dance all crazy like the Brazilian I am, there’s no one to shimmy back to me. I was wired for intimacy, for relationship.

On nights like this, a book doesn’t do it. A show doesn’t do it. I have to have Someone around. I miss my friends somethin’ fierce tonight, and they are blowing me up on Snapchat haha. But it takes times like these, intentional times to just be, to push me outside my comfort zone and deny my flesh what it really wants. I rest when I’m around my people… my trusted friends, my favorites, my loved ones. It doesn’t make much sense, but there it is. And Jesus is in all of that, where two or more are gathered. Jesus gets me. I’m learning to rest in Him.

Here’s to learning how to live life. I raise my box of Cheez-its to all of you.

I can cross off “learning how to be alone” from my to-do list, not because I learned, but because I won’t need that skill, ever.

With that said, my laundry is done.

((what are you learning about rest? alone time? books? Jesus? do people wear you out? leave a comment!))

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12 thoughts on “Learning How To Be Alone

    • That’s what I’ve been told too, Doug! It makes less sense to recharge with people than alone, but it’s hard to understand alone time without feeling the rest from it. Great point.

      • Oh absolutely! I can see why it would be a problem. I can’t speak for all introverts, but there are lots of times when I’ve been alone too much. It seems like the main difference is that even then I strongly prefer time with any one or two friends over a crowd. I like your writing; I always enjoy getting someone else’s point of view.

  1. Well Helena, I am an introvert that has posed as an extravert for most of my life. When I took a personality test a year ago and realized, “WHAT?! I am an introvert?” I realized just why I have been so exhausted most of my life. So, just when I finally figured out I need “me time” in order to recharge, I find myself on the World Race where alone time, as you know, is a figment of my imagination…but yet I do have a way of being recharged daily…and it’s Jesus. There’s no such thing as good “me time” without Him. So here I go back to my ear phones, ipod, Bible, and journal for some good “me and Jesus ” time, surrounded by 6 other teammates. Lol Good word, Helena!

    • Aww Laura,
      Great to hear from you all the way from Cambodia!! I’m so proud and excited to get to see how the Lord is bringing the Kingdom through you. I’m glad you’re learning how to rest! It’s a mystery to me how it all works. Enjoy those earphones lol they help so much!
      Love you!

  2. I’m learning that there’s a difference in being “alone” and being “lonely.” That all familiar “alone time” really isn’t alone, like you said, because it’s with Jesus, but I still struggle with it a lot. I mean, I like me-n-G time, but let’s be real….I don’t really hear him audibly laugh much and sometimes I really want someone to just be close to even if we’re not talking.
    BUT I also just bought three books from B&N to read this weekend. I’ve also found that when I’m alone I tend to check my phone more (all those soc media apps) but they don’t change and it’s dumb that my mind immediately searches for community there, too…so I’m taking the weekend off. I wouldn’t call it a fast, but I’d call it a break. God will still show up, I’ll just be more intent on listening. And maybe I’ll actually do my laundry.

    ALSO – teach me how to get tons of comments like you do… šŸ˜‰

    • Beth, I agree! I went camping not horribly long ago and the whole weekend (well 48hrs) I didn’t use my phone. It was refreshing!! I know that I have to mostly stay connected bc of ministry, work, etc, but it was like being on the race again, no phone. But gosh, I am proud of you, hope you get a lot out of your fast šŸ™‚ love you!

      ((& I think I just tag a lot of stuff, that’s how I get comments? Idk how it works.))

  3. I hear ya honey…I struggle with being an extrovert at home too! Wish we could spend more time nurturing our extrovertedness together! love you!

  4. Learning how to be alone and not lonely… Holding on to God, trusting in Him to be our hiding place till morning comes and we go out in the world again! Love you, Helena!

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