Written by Katrina Martin of Toronto, Ontario (Currently in Thailand)

I absolutely love how girls go to the restroom in groups.

“Jess, I have to use the restroom, you?”

“Yeah, I’ll come with you, how about you, Lindsey?”

“Not really, but I’ll come anyway.”

Before long there is a pack of 15 girls who have left the guys to make awkward small talk with each other and count the minutes until the females return (or at least that’s what I’m assuming they do).

Now guys, I won’t tell you exactly what happens in there, because I enjoy keeping you in suspense, but I will let you know that it is just a glimpse at the sisterhood girls share. Females are dynamic creatures who – when united – are the most unstoppable force of strength, elegance and intellect the world has ever seen.

And yet, despite the power we possess together, we must also learn how to stand on our own.

I’m not saying we must learn to be alone, rather, we must learn how to be alone. Humans were not created to exist alone but rather in constant community; firstly with our Creator, and secondly with those around us. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that (despite what we may think) we need others.

Nevertheless, in order to be a life-giving member of this community you must understand yourself separately. How? Do something alone. And before you suggest it, locking yourself up in your room and binge-watching Netflix doesn’t count. Actually do something.

Dine out by yourself. Wander. Find a place beyond your bedroom that brings you comfort. Learn your true likes and dislikes, understand your inclinations and amaze yourself with what you are capable of. Learn who you are without being defined by other people.

Learn who you are without being defined by other people.

In doing so, you will discover that not only do you understand yourself better, but you like yourself more. I’ve had people ask me why I enjoy spending so much time alone and I thought, “Well why wouldn’t I? I’m a riot!”

Oddly enough, the more I was alone (the right way) the better I was with other people. I spoke with greater confidence, I showed a more genuine interest in others, and I stopped laughing at things I didn’t find funny. Anchored securely in my individual identity, I could better contribute to the collective identity that comes with being children of God.

I challenge you to strive to enjoy solitude, for it is a beautiful state once actually achieved. Let the presence of the Creator and your own identity colour the spaces between your bones until you are sturdy and shining with assurance.