We are relational beings to our core. And the deep joys and satisfaction we desire in life can only be found by staying in meaningful relationships with others. But this does not negate solitary pleasures from also having an honored place in our life. To be sure, solitary pursuits are not inherently selfish.

Of course, we must not neglect our relational duties, and part of maturity is looking out for the interests of others and not just ourselves. And it’s by doing life together that iron sharpens iron and we’re forged into better versions of who God has called us to be.

All the same, this is not to make an idol of our relationships or to otherwise become addicted to them. And times of solitude allow us to exercise the relational freedom needed to continue growing in our love of others as self.

And these times of solitude are not just for moments of serious reflection or personal growth. They can also include moments of delight and pleasure.

For example, we might spend all day on a fishing trip, working on a personal hobby or project, or simply retreat into our favorite music, films, or books. Whatever it looks like, it’s an activity that brings us joy even without the company of others.

And we don’t have to shy away from these pleasures or feel guilty about them. Ideally, like times of worship with others and times of worship by ourselves, we find a similar rhythm as we receive with deep gratitude the many gifts of pleasure God has given us to enjoy. While remaining intentional and wise with both, there’s no need to pit them against each other.

In the end, freely enjoy your solitary pleasures without guilt. It’s okay to enjoy these moments of delight when they’re kept in a meaningful rhythm with your relational connections.

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Dr. Corey Carlisle

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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