I thought I hit the jackpot when my federal position was reclassified as remote after being sent home due to the pandemic. As it turned out, the work I performed could be done from my spare bedroom. For two years, I enjoyed working in stretchy pants and wearing minimal makeup, but as I enter the fourth year of my work-from-home experience, I feel less of a jackpot winner and more of a prisoner.
These days, career websites are inundated with articles regarding the benefits of remote work. Employees are quoted as saying the balance created by work-from-home situations has changed their lives for the better. As I read through hundreds of online pages, I can’t help but wonder if I am the only one who has grown to dislike this new normal. Surely, there are other extroverted remote workers out there who are itching to slap on their business suits and re-enter society.
I suspect the overwhelming desire to return to the office is what led me to interview for a new job. I wanted to escape the control that remote work had over me. I could not wait to immerse myself in a sea of in-person meetings and water-cooler conversations again. But when God shut that door of opportunity and sent me back to my remote position, I had to concede that, like it or not, I was in an uncontrollable season of isolation.
Seasons of isolation, while uncomfortable, lonely, and frustrating, are not uncommon during our walk with God. They are often ordained by Him. Scripture tells us that even Jesus was led into isolation by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1-11). When orchestrated by God, solitude is never without purpose, for it is during this quiet time that He can do amazing work within us.
Here are some benefits that emerge from seasons of isolation:
- Connection to God – Solitude eliminates distractions. When it is just us and God, we can better hear His voice and focus on our relationship by seeking His presence, wisdom, and guidance. Time alone with God brings about spiritual growth.
- Preparation and Alignment – God uses seasons of isolation to refine our character and align us to His will. During this time, He stretches our faith and molds our attitudes, perspectives, and responses to prepare us to handle the responsibilities and challenges that come with our purpose.
- Trust – Reliance on God, and faith in His plans increase the longer we are set apart.
- Healing and Restoration – Being alone allows healing from past hurts and restoration of the soul, enabling us to move forward stronger and healthier.
- Patience – God wants us to slow down, give up control, and trust Him to deliver the promises He has for our lives. His promises are perfect, as are their timing, but we must often wait. Learning to wait without grumbling honors God and increases our resilience and endurance.
I do not know how long I must remain in a remote position. Of course, I miss the breakroom conversations, holiday parties, luncheons with co-workers, and the overall presence of others, but I am not alone. God is with me every day. I have learned to set my mind on the blessings that come with remote work and to wait with excitement and expectancy for the next season.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the heavens.
Matthew 28:20(b) NIV
And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing, but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Lord, in this season of solitude, I come before You, acknowledging Your presence amid my isolation. You see me, You know me. Help me to feel Your nearness, to sense Your guidance, and to know Your peace that surpasses understanding. As I navigate this period of separation, I ask for Your wisdom. Help me to discern Your voice and draw me closer to You. I trust the plans you have for my life, and I acknowledge that this alone time with You is a gift. Thank You for loving me so much that You would set me apart and refine me so that I am perfect in You and ready for the tasks You have planned. In Jesus’ name. Amen.