Luke 1:80 – The little boy greatly loved God and when he grew up he lived out in the lonely wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

Gratitude Day 811

We can be in a room full of people and feel lonely.

We can be all by ourselves and feel blessed.

Have you yearned for connection and wished someone would be interested in what’s going on in your life?

And in another season, you wish that could just have a few minutes all to yourself?

In this Lent of Simple is Better, today we contemplate the ying and yang of when it’s OK to be lonely. And when we need connection with others. Some people want and feel the need to be around others regularly and every day. Extroverts gain energy in their lives as they interact with other people. They fill their calendars and time with others physically present with them.

And some people find lots of interaction with other people to be draining. Maybe even overbearing. Introverts gain energy from what I call “cave time.” Time alone. By themselves. They need recuperation time after lots of interaction with other people. They intentionally WANT to be lonely.

Neither is “right.” One is “not better.” Both “just are.” Personally, I am a mish-mash between being an introvert and an extrovert. There are times when I love and enjoy being around other people. Other days? I relish being home alone and having it all quiet. By myself.

There should be no shame for preferring either option. Or wanting some of both.

At the beginning of Luke’s gospel, we are introduced to a man who is often called John the Baptist. Often referred to as a cousin of Jesus, in biblical times, cousin could included more than just one generation removed compared to our traditional sense of “cousin.” As he grew up, John intentionally spent time in the wilderness. Alone. We’re told the lonely wilderness was his place of residence until he began his public ministry.

The wilderness. Most of us would think it would be lonely in the wilderness. There is little life. Little going on. Not a lot of people. Few animals. Yet, this is the environment John the Baptist put himself in before living in a much more transparent and public ministry life.

We are told he loved God. Was this nurtured and watered in the desolate wilderness? Possibly. Did he discover more about himself without the busyness and activity of being near neighbors and others? Quite likely.

“Wilderness” can refer to different things. It can be a physical location. We can also feel “wilderness” in our lives even when we are near others. It’s the silence we may feel when we question if others can relate to our feelings of loneliness or what is troubling our hearts in the moment.

Too often, we run away from the wilderness. We feel afraid to let our hearts and souls feel alone. Too often, we do everything we can to prevent wilderness or feeling lonely in our lives.

Maybe, just maybe, we need to take a lesson from John the Baptist this Simple is Better Lent.

Choose some lonely. Seek out some wilderness. I’m not talking about for 40 days. Maybe it’s for four hours. An hour. A day. Just some time where you can get lost only with your thoughts of being with God.

We have become so accustomed to always having noise and people and activity in our lives that we are uncomfortable when we are all alone. When we only feel wilderness. But, my friends, lonely can be wonderful. Helpful. Special.

Before we get to Easter, can you find some intentional time to just be you with God? Maybe this will be easier if you are in a different place than your normal residence. For many, time in nature is a great way to connect back to your roots. Even when you are alone, you are never totally alone. God is always, always, always with you. God yearns for you to spend some time with God.

Maybe nothing fantastic will come out of some wilderness time with God. Be OK with this. It’s pretty hard to hear God speaking to you when there is so much noise in our lives.

Sometimes, Simple is Better.

May we, you and I, find some simple this Lent.

For the benefit of sometimes feeling lonely, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Check out these other blogs that embrace lonely today:

Is God Lonely for You? By Sharla Hallett

Loved vs. Lonely by Lisa Crowder

Open Letter to the Lonely Mom by Ashley Olivine

Lonely in a Digital World by Amy Cobb

Breaking the Stigma: Understanding and Talking About Loneliness by MelAnn 

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