Wednesday’s Word of the Day: Solitude

12 10 2011

Today’s word is solitude. The word’s two meanings are a state of social isolation, i.e. solitary, and a disposition toward being alone.  The latter definition is informative for our purposes here.  Of course, since I grew up in the era of superhero movies,when I hear the word solitude,  I think of the Fortress of Solitude from Superman.  This fictional place is Superman’s icy headquarters, or stronghold, and in the movie, it was where he learned about his father.

The word’s origin comes from Latin.  Soli- comes from the Latin solus which means alone and tude comes from tūdō  which means state or condition.  Thus, the word literally means the alone condition.  This condition can be scary.  To be alone, with no one to share your thoughts, dreams, or fears.  Looking desperately for other people to affirm us and to share our dreams, but none can be found.  However, our “fortress of solitude” can be the place we learn about the Father.

When we can embrace solitude, we can actually learn to embrace others as healed, whole people.  One writer puts it this way, it is in “solitude, I get rid of my scaffolding: no friends…no telephone calls…no meetings…no music…no books to distract, just me..nothing” He continues, “It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude.”  In the nothingness, I find healing which allows me to be free. As I heal, I am freed to enter into relationships with others as a whole person.

Once we embrace our nothingness, we realize how desperate we really are.  The only cure for our desperate condition is surrender.  I talked about surrender last week.  I realize very often that I surrender on a daily basis.  I give in to my flesh, to the tempter, to my anger, to the feeling that I have to be heard, to be right, and to be understood.  Finally, in surrender to the Healer, I become free.

Of course, I must go through this solitude in silence, as that it is the point of facing the nothingness, nothing.  The silence allows me to hear the inner voice, and it allows me to hear the VOICE.  You see, I have heard that God through His Spirit speaks to me in a still small voice.  Isaiah 30:21 affirms that after the Israelites cry out for help, whether they “turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’

Therefore, in the alone condition, I can find the One who loves me.  This one will never leave me alone; He also won’t leave me as I am.  He will meet me as I acknowledge the truth of myself.  The dark hideous parts of my heart, my mind, and my soul.  In the acceptance of my life, the Lord Jesus Christ gives me a new life.

I have already shared how I faced a difficult time in my marriageOne way I went through the trial was by being alone.  I went to our local lake, and I read God’s word.  I cried and cried.  In my tears, I gave God my marriage, and I surrendered my wife.  I asked Him to heal our marriage.  God showed me the depths of my depravity, and He asked me to share it all.  As I went through the healing process, confessing it all, the LORD honored my obedience.  I heard it His voice in the place of solitude.  After the LORD removed my crutches, He gave me new insight and a new life.

Have you faced yourself in the “alone condition?”  Have you found the freedom of solitude? If not, join me as I journey through the silence of the inner life.  If so, share it with others and encourage them to do the same. 

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3 responses

12 10 2011
Jennifer Poppy

I love you! It’s cool to see the Lord moving you to this place of solitude and surrender.

26 10 2011
James Hedderly

Greg…..I believe you have a gift of written communication and the ability to express your thoughts verbally as well. Both of these God given attributes will be tools that He will no doubt use in you service to His Kingdom be it in Hawaii or where ever. Stay in His Gracious grip. May God bless you and Jennifer to the max. Jim

27 10 2011
Greg Poppy

Jim,
Thank you for your kind encouraging words! I’ve been blessed by you since you’ve joined the men’s group. Your wisdom blesses me and encourages my Spirit man.

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