The quiet can seem so loud, can’t it? Maybe you can relate to this scenario, some nights I’ll sit on my couch, in my empty apartment, and I’ll just listen to the silence, the solitude. And it rings in my ears. Then, the thoughts start to creep in.
“What if I never get married?”
“Is something wrong with me?”
“Maybe if I change x/y/z/ I’ll get a boyfriend.”
“Why does SHE have a relationship and I don’t?”
It’s real. The self-shaming, the wondering if you’re good enough.
You ask how to find peace in the solitude. I wish I had a five-step process for you or a quick fix. But here’s what I know, and what I’ve learned over the years.
I believe that peace is renewed every morning when your feet swing over the side of your bed and hit the ground and you say, “Today, I’ll be right here.” It’s a choice: we choose Jesus or we choose our own way. We decide to walk hand in hand with our Prince of Peace or we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and try to figure out this life thing on our own.
When your identity is rooted in the truth that you are made with intention, with purpose, and nothing is outside of the control of your loving Father, the thoughts can still come and your heart can still hurt, but there is something grounding you in the middle of the chaos. Peace doesn’t mean nothing bad ever happens. Peace just means that you know the truth even when it hurts. And it comforts you.
Habakkuk has quickly become one of my favorite Bible guys. The book of Habakkuk is a small Old Testament book (three chapters!) that I had always skipped over, until about a month ago when my pastor started a sermon series on it. It’s a conversation between God and Habakkuk, and it sounds oh so familiar.
In a nutshell, it shows how we can ask questions and worship in the same breath. Habakkuk is a prophet who is wondering when God is going to speak up about all the evil in the world. And God says that He's going to kickstart the process of redemption by raising up Habakkuk's enemies. At the end of the book, we find a fearful but faith-filled Habakkuk saying, “My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us… yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” Fear. Faith. In the same breath.
Practically, I began to find peace in the solitude when I went out of my comfort zone and started to do things by myself. Finding joy in things like going to a movie by myself, making a fun meal at home, and investing in a church through serving and small groups. It became less scary and the silence became quieter once I started to wake up to my own life. Don't be afraid to ask God the hard questions and don't be afraid to wade through the process of discovering who He made you to be.
We’ll have days when the fear feels like it will overtake us and the questions seem to pile up higher than we think is possible. But God never changes. His character and His love for us stays the same, forever. When I start to hear the questions rattle around in my head, I take a deep breath and remind myself of truth.
You are loved. You are safe. You are seen. Keep doing and wanting the best things.