Alone or Lonely? Which is best?

I Don’t Want to be Lonely But I do Want to be Alone.


“It is not good for the man to be alone.”  Gen 2:18.  “The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.”  Mark 1:35-36.

One of these alones is deleterious to our well being and the other completely essential to maintain it.  Without one our human needs unsatisfied will cause unhealthy habits and responses and without the other we will lack spiritual vitality and progress.

One ‘alone’ refers to social relationships, the most important element being love – it is this ‘alone’ that isn’t good for us.  Long term we need others to be completely ourselves, if we understand ‘self’ to be a complex entity that has interdependence at the heart of it, of us – created for connection.

The other ‘alone’ refers to God time and space, and this ‘alone’ is very good for us. We need to be alone to replenish, to hear from heaven, to quieten the soul from all the noise of life’s traffic.  Whilst a healthy portion of our spiritual life is spent in and done via community alone is still essential to compliment this.

Some people can’t stand their own company or are barely comfortable with.  Without a doubt some people are more inclined to replenish from community/connections but even they still require time out to remain whole.  Some find being alone disquieting as it faces them with themselves or an inability to do the same.

We need to be happy with our own company on a regular basis and maybe even for a season.  Modern life militates against this practice but a disciple of Jesus will find time and space – to effectively remain so.  Being able to reflect and listen is an antidote for a lot of temptations and pressures.  It allows you to sit back and take stock with someone alongside more interested in truth than performance.

There is a difference between ‘loneliness’ and ‘alone-ness.’  One is troubling, the other nourishing, and one indicative of relational breakdown or weakness, the other relational wholeness.

I don’t want to be lonely but I do want to be alone.


About simondmcintyre

Husband, Father, Grandfather, Minister, Company Director, Writer, Leader of C3 London. Director C3 Europe. View all posts by simondmcintyre

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