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Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

Why it Is (Sometimes) Good for Man to Be Alone

  • Robert Beeson Author
Why it Is (Sometimes) Good for Man to Be Alone

I had never given thought to the idea of searching out solitude. Things were going great. I was a Grammy Award-winning music executive with a wife and three beautiful kids. I had so many amazing friends and an exciting community. Solitude—why would I need that? After all, we weren’t built for solitude: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). We go through life better in community.

However, there is power to be had, wisdom to be found, and intimacy to be discovered when we deliberately step aside from community and carve out time to go solo. 

Jesus understood this. He always traveled in community, but when he needed to recharge, he left the pack and went solo. In the desert, on the other side of Galilee, in the garden of Gethsemane, and in many other examples, Jesus sought out solitude. There is a depth of understanding that cannot be gained in the company of others. For me, going solo transformed my life.

My wife walking out—leaving me to be a single parent of three young girls—was the best thing to happen to me. I was alone. Really alone.

I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone, but this is precisely what it took to get my attention—to help me see how being alone, with the bottom dropped out, was the pathway to true peace and a strength I hadn’t known before. Over the next 8 1/2 years of being a single parent, I discovered the gift and power of solitude. In fact, I came to crave it. But it didn’t start easy.

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Note to self: Get over yourself.

Note to self: Get over yourself.

First, it’s important for us to hear, you are not “all that.” You don’t actually have all the solutions to the troubles or opportunities presenting themselves. You may have others fooled about how together you are, but let’s be honest—you’re a mess. And you know what? It’s okay. In fact, not only is it okay and completely normal, but it’s actually the only way to find the power of solitude. Your weakness is the only key to wholeness.

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"Be still" is verb.

"Be still" is verb.

It’s ironic to me that seeking to be still requires serious effort. It’s a choice and an action. Being quiet doesn’t just happen because we wish for quiet (or even because we say, “be quiet!” out loud). Parents, can I get an amen? Whoever is making the noise must first choose to stop and then decisively act. What happens when we move towards solitude and stillness is that it actually starts to create its own inertia. For me, being still meant sequestering myself to my room, every day, just for 15 minutes, and leaving technology in the other room. Walking towards something demands walking away from something.

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Well, this is awkward...

Well, this is awkward...

Laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, and doing nothing felt so ridiculous. Fortunately, I had been warned: At first this is going to feel really stupid and awkward, they told me. And they were right. So I am warning you that there is no way to get around the initial awkwardness. I would pray, God please meet me here, then lie on my back, hands crossed over my chest, and just wait. Give it time. Expect that this will seem pointless at first. Focus on your breathing, the life-giving oxygen filling your lungs and then flowing back out. Don’t attach any meaning to anything. Just center and simplify your focus on your chest expanding and then falling. Let your thoughts go. When you catch your attention being captured by something, it’s no big deal—just gently bring your focus back to your breathing. 

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Awkwardness becomes awareness.

Awkwardness becomes awareness.

As you repeat this process (for what seems like an eternity), focusing on your breathing, something happens without any effort. With every exhale, you start to release the stress, the pressure, and the worries. You start to enter an awareness of how small the things we let become huge really are, in relation to the reality of the expansive power of your Heavenly Father. In my book, Going Solo, I refer to God’s omniscient power as “the constant,” the great “I AM,” relative to “our condition.” The “constant” is so much bigger than any “condition” commanding your attention. Without giving it a conscious thought, your body inhales and exhales 23,040 times a day. When we focus on this simple miracle, we become aware of the constant, miraculous provision that is present beyond our conscious thought. That is why we are here—to connect to the original source of everything. 

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Seek a state of knowing.

Seek a state of knowing.

When we move deliberately toward solitude—real solitude—we are reminded about the holy order of things unseen. In our daily life, we often lose sight of Who is really beside us, Who is for us, Who is bigger and stronger than anything we face. When we are still, we come to know how little we need to stress. The roles we play in life—executive, homemaker, teacher, plumber—don’t matter to our Father, because His pursuit of us is exclusively to connect to our heart, regardless of how the world (or even we) see ourselves. He wants to remind us of the power He brings to us, Power to overcome the world. 

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Solitude communicates without words.

Solitude communicates without words.

When I started practicing solitude, I would remain in this state of “knowing” for as long as I could, letting my mind slow down and letting the Holy Spirit comfort, strengthen, and recharge my soul. This solitude always brought exactly what I needed. Even if I couldn’t articulate what I was lacking or worrying about, these times of solitude made my soul open to my Father’s care and provision supernaturally, without having to use words. He knows what we need more than we do. Our job is merely to come to Him and make our souls available, beyond words.

If my life hadn’t fallen apart, I never would have discovered the power of solitude. My hope for you, however, is that solitude will not have to be imposed on you for you to discover the power and peace it can bring. I hope that you will deliberately seek it out—daily, even. The secret of solitude goes beyond what we understand with our minds. It provides connection to the intimate heart of our Father and to the power that only He can bring. And trust me, as someone who spent eight years raising three young girls on his own: God’s power is far greater than anything we are capable of on our own.

Music executive Robert Beeson founded Essential Records and was a senior executive at Provident Music Group. He has worked with Jars of Clay, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith and other. He is the founder of iShine Records, a faith-based music/multimedia company geared to tweens. After seven years as a single parent, Beeson remarried. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife, Barbara, and his three daughters and three stepsons. Robert recently launched Solo Parent Society, a community for solo parents to thrive.

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