?Brokenness lets us feel that terror. When we admit, deeply and emotionally, that we cannot control what we most want, overwhelming horror sweeps into our soul. We feel nothing deeper. The dark night of the soul begins. We lower our head, retreat into the safety of aloneness, and wail in sheer agony. It?s impossible to believe that sheer delight is waiting to greet us. Someone else needs to believe it for us.?
(The Safest Place on Earth – Larry Crabb, 162)
I am beginning to see that we need others much more than any of us want to admit…
I was reading Gary Smalley recently and he said that men are hormonally structured that when we encounter stress, our natural inclination is to seek solitude. Whereas women are hormonally structured to seek companionship when stressed.
I know when I’m feeling discouraged, or depressed or tired or whatever, I want to go off alone. But I’m always surprised at how refreshed I am by sweet fellowship with like-minded saints.
Dan, yeah, its funny. i totally agree…what we often think we want, is not what’s best for us. i wonder whether that is part of the spiritual battle…when we are down, the enemy tries to get us off alone so he can break us down. but really, what we need to the most is true spiritual friendship….
by the way, i have not forgotten your last e-mail!
just one thought, well two actually…I would tend to disagree with Gary Smalley about the differences in men and women’s reactions to stress. I think it has much, much more to do with personality than gender…for example introverts will tend to retreat and extroverts tend to seek refuge through companionship. So, I guess I am not totally down with his generalization of genders. But that is just my two cents.
Secondly, and mabye this is semantics, but solitude, the discpline of, historically has been thoughts of as essential to our maturity and intimacy with Christ. This is a quote from R. Foster, who is actually quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “Life Together”:
D. Bonhoeffer in Life Together titled one of his chapters “The Day Together” and the following chapter “The Day Alone.” Both are essential for spiritual success. He writes, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…Let him who is not in community beware of being alone…Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.
I think the Spirit meets us at our deepest point of need and then helps us walk out of our deficiencies.
What do you think?
I would profoundly agree with you Jayne about the need to get alone with God. I’ve realized that about myself when I just seem to be frazzle about life and everything spinning around me. Then I realize that I haven’t just off to be alone with the Lord. I used to do it at least once a month but have gotten out of the habit the past couple three years. Was thinking of doing it again here real soon — just as soon as I can clear my calendar. 😉
Look forward to your reply Todd. That was a bad day when I wrote that. Don’t be too hard on me.
Jayne, i think your thoughts are pretty accurate. Actually, when i read your comments by Smally Dan, i said to myself, “shoot, i do have the emotions of a woman!” (that’s kind of the joke we have here in Philly…) anyways, while i would assume that most men and women do tend to fall in these categories, i am a pretty good example of someone who doesn’t fit the mold.
Jayne, this quote from Bonhoffer is incredible, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community…Let him who is not in community beware of being alone..” thanks. i, being one who often craves community, might be well to take the advice! I need to get with myself and God more often.
dan, i’m curious, what kind of things do you do to get alone with God? How do you spend your time?
btw jayne, you just inspired me to buy Bonhoffer’s book…thanks. i’ll be looking for the UPS man in 3-7 days. 🙂
That comment from Smalley came from his book, “The Men’s Relational Toolbox.” It;s funny what you said because when he describes how men are, usually that fits my wife, and I fit his description of women. Go figure.