Never underestimate the value of solitude in the spiritual life. It is essential. The first movement of a healthy spiritual life should always be towards God. Without that movement, we run the risk of moving towards others out of need rather than out of love. Under that scenario we begin to demand from our community that which only God can give, and that is never a good place to start.
When we go first into solitude, and hear the voice of our God telling us that we are loved and cherished and delighted in, then we actually have something to offer those in our lives and in our world, rather than needing to extort or extract something from them. If, however, we run to the world first, we will continue to seek our security, significance, and affirmation from the creation rather than the Creator, and it will be impossible for us to love rather than manipulate.
O God, help the first movement of my soul always be towards you. Help me to run to the quiet, to the place where I can hear your voice and sense your presence. That place where I can be filled with you, rather than seeking to be filled by that which is around me. For only then will I be able to love the way you have called me to love.
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