Summer Snapshot: The Secret of Solitude

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Galina Pylypiv connected with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) at Urbana15, where she served as part of the liveblogging team. See some of her previous work here, and browse other Summer Snapshots here


Same setting yet different pace of life. A transition from being an undergraduate student to graduate student at the same university is a place of mixed feelings. As I’m utilizing my summer by starting a research project, the reality of large time commitment is becoming very tangible for me as I realize how quickly time escapes from me. It leaves me questioning how to make the most of the time that I have. How can I live a well-balanced life in the midst of a busy graduate school schedule?

To help me think through this, God has been slowly teaching me the disciplines of solitude and Sabbath. I know from scripture that keeping the Sabbath was one of the original ten commandments given to Moses, which confused me for a long time. I used to believe that God was just being demanding and asking people to spend one whole day out of their busy 7-day week to do church things. I’m now learning that this is not necessarily true. The Sabbath is a built-in day of rest that God gifted to His people. It’s not a selfish thing, but a real gift. As a natural introvert, I find it restful to unplug from community to recharge. This makes solitude seem like it comes easily but I’m finding that it’s difficult to actually pull myself away from my work at times and spend quality time in solitude.

The discipline of solitude is spending time alone with my thoughts and allowing the Lord to search my heart. It is a time of reflection, meditation, clearing my head, and soaking in what the Lord is speaking. My best times of solitude happen near a body of water. Being in nature helps me to appreciate the intricacies of God’s creation—the details of the waves, the sounds of wildlife, and the characteristics of the wind. Through this, I am reminded of God’s care and love for me. The God who cares about the subtle details of nature also cares about the subtle details of my heart, emotions, and work. He cares for me, guides me, and listens very well.

Although these moments are short because life is demanding, they are a valuable discipline to maintain because they fill me with a quiet confidence in my Creator. It reminds me to enjoy every moment of my life as a gift from God as it says in Ecclesiastes 5:18. “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.

God cares about the details. He knows that work can feel toilsome and mundane. Yet, it’s a gift from Him to find satisfaction in the work, in the business of daily life. Practicing Sabbath and solitude, even if for a short moment, is a gentle reminder of my dependence on God to enjoy my work and continue to do it with excellence.


Image courtesy of Galina Pylypiv. 

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Galina Pylypiv

Galina Pylypiv is a senior Biomedical Engineering student and biomechanics undergraduate research assistant at the University of Akron. She is Vice President of the University of Akron Society of Women Engineers and leader of the InterVarsity International Student Ministry small group on her campus. Born in Ukraine and raised as a third culture kid in the US, she is interested in cross-cultural community that brings together the differing perspectives of culture, faith, and science.

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  • Kle.seaton@gmail.com'
    Kelly commented on July 26, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for this! Sabbath is interesting, isn’t it? One of the ways that really changed my thinking about Sabbath was during graduate school. I was tithing, and felt like even 10% didn’t matter that much, as it was a small sum of money. So then I thought about what I had that was valuable beside money, and I realized that was my time. So then I thought about tithing my time, and how much time =10% of my week. Interestingly, 24×7=168 hrs. 10% of 168 is 16.8 hrs, or roughly the waking hours of 1 full day. Such a neat picture of Sabbath to me, and a wonderful reminder of giving our firstfruits to the Lord!

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