Monday, April 02, 2007

too much alone time

In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good for a man to be alone

You know, we all need our privacy. Especially introverts (myself included) need time alone. But TOO much isolation is not good for a person.

Often when relations start to go sour, we have a tendency to just withdraw. Sometimes we just crawl into a hole somewhere.

And that’s not always bad. Honestly, I can tell you personally, that I am at my HOLIEST when I’m isolated from everybody. I can get real godly. Man, you just remove me from the stress of daily life:

  • not having to deal with technology stuff
  • not having to deal with the person who complained about this or that at the church
  • not having to deal with family stuff
  • not having to deal with the phone ringing off the hook

You allow me to stay away from any kind of relationship, and I can totally focus on God. I can start to think that I am a total Saint. I start to think I’ve got it all figured out.

But it’s the moment that I come OUT of that prayer closet, the moment that I get into the real world and I have to deal with other people. That’s when I realize I’m not so perfect after all. That’s where my faith is tested.

There’s nothing wrong with withdrawal. It’s very healthy and necessary. It’s good for us to pray and get alone and get some private time.

But I once heard a theory that I believe came from John Maxwell:

Spiritual growth begins in isolation, but it never matures there.

When I get away to be with God, the things I learn…are things that I have to PRACTICE with other people. Spiritual growth matures through human relationships. That’s where iron sharpens iron.

So it’s good to get away. But

  • You will never grow to full spiritual maturity being a monk in the monastery.
  • You’ll never become what God wants you to be just out there separated from others.

That’s why we do church together. It forces us to learn and change and grow in community.