I’m a people person. To the extreme. So extreme that I’m often that seriously annoying kind of people-people-people-y person. That one. That’s me.
Every time someone tells me that it takes a village, it doesn’t even matter much what we want the village to do, I come back with an enthusiastic, “Yes! Bring me that village! And all the surrounding villages. Tell the villagers to bring potato chips! I’ll take folks from three or four villages over. And their finger foods. Village-fest at my place, ya’ll!”
Several months ago, however, after an exhausting, meeting-upon-meeting-filled week, extroverted me said to my introverted daughter Kaley, “I think even I am just about peopled out.” She gave me a sage smile and said, “I’ve never felt closer to you.” And then we had a good laugh.
Even in amidst the chuckles, though, I confess I was feeling the need to say to my village something like: Village. You’ve been here for six weeks. All you villagers. Go home. I love you and please get out of here.
Yes, even I, the annoy-o-vert, need a respite from the village. Crowd-loving gal that I am, I require solitude. I can always tell when I’m not getting enough of it. There’s a disquieted feeling that makes my soul a little antsy. Ever get that feeling of inner unrest?
Who knew 2020 was coming, though? Interestingly, extrovert, introvert—and any other kind of -vert—we all need the special recharging that happens in solitude. I’m not referring to solitude we might seek just for the sake of being alone. It’s not about whether we’re quarantined either. I’m talking about a solitude in which we spend extended time seeking the heart of our heavenly Father. We were created for this.
Jesus offered us His example. “After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone,” (Matthew 14:23, CSB).
In Luke:15-16 we see that it was something He did often. “But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.”
Villagers pressed in on all sides. Jesus received them, ministered to them, taught them, served them bread, loved them—and worked the blessed plan to redeem them. Yet in between, He still intentionally carved out solitude. He worked for it. Not to be away from people. But to be with His Father.
Anytime you find yourself feeling disconnected from Him—or sensing that disquieted, soul-antsy feeling—it’s time to make the effort to find your solitude. That disquiet can happen even in a pandemic. Exhaustion. Zoom-zaustion, maybe. Sometimes we need to boot out even the virtual village for a little bit. Out with the e-village. In with the God connection. In that wholehearted intentionality, we find we can go deeper with the Father, know Him more, love Him better, seek His heart more fervently than ever. And when we seek, we find. “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13 CSB).
There’s nothing in life that empowers us to serve and enjoy our villages like that one-on-one time with our Maker. Charles Spurgeon wisely said, “There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service.”
Find your special kind of solitude with Him. Your village will wait.
I’ve found that all my villages—virtual and otherwise—will indeed wait for me. Not necessarily excitedly, but they wait. Sometimes I wonder, tongue-in-cheek, if every village needs an idiot. Or at least their own annoy-o-vert. Potato-chips/po-tah-to-chips.