Withdrawal from Society

**I’m 52, a teacher, and very spiritual. As I get older, I find myself less interested in ‘adult drama’. In fact, I’ve made note of the fact I’ve withdrawn from most of the adults in my world, because none of them is a believer, and I have nothing to say to them. Although I feel isolated, I also believe this is what God wants for me. Is anyone else experiencing this? **

If you are saying that the things that interest other people,“adult drama”, have become trivial, then the answer is yes. I can’t describe how mundane conversations seem to have become. I listened to someone drone on about the details of living in one time zone and working in another. WE GET IT! It is an hour different. LOL

Same age, a new empty nester and I work at home, and in a new town as well with virtually no acquaintances. I’m not that social either but I’m lucky in that my best friend from high school (and she’s a protestant!) and I are able to speak about spiritual things frequently. I do find myself more engaged in prayer. Personally, if they took 53 year olds for the novitiate, I’d head for the nearest convent CLOISTER. . .but I’m not quite sure that God wants me to withdraw from people per se but more to ‘gird up my loins’ with this time to myself because I’m going to need the time and the preparation in order to witness to Him. . .and that witness might be to a LOT of people, unexpectedly. I’m not ruling anything out but trying to do everything with the idea of loving God above all and my neighbor as myself. . .and I think that’s what we’re all called to do.

I’m not sure IOW that we have ‘nothing to say’ to those who aren’t believers. Oh, it might not be that we’re saying it with words. . .but I think our lives have to be a prayer that we’re saying for God and our neighbor.

This topic was actually a matter of lengthy discussion this weekend in our monthly Carmelite community meeting . . . several of the younger members commenting on the “great pains” of sitting among other parents during their kids soccer games. An experience I know quite well. :slight_smile:

There comes a time when the lures of the world begins to lose its meaning. This is often experienced in the form of a separation from other people with whom we now “seem” to have absolutely nothing in common. Routine conversation can become a great chore; perhaps even seeming petty, shallow and insincere. Old friendships might even be lost. We now see ourselves no longer in this world . . . but, at the same time, not yet firmly established in the next. So it might seem as if we’re being pulled in two directions . . . suspended between heaven and earth, in a manner of speaking.

What’s happening is that God, through the light of self-knowledge, is calling the soul unto Himself in greater intimacy. Silence and solitude with Him now becomes our only joy, refuge and respite. Often this is a sign, according to St. John of the Cross, the soul is being led toward a more contemplative way of life. Seperation and detachment from things of the world is a very big part of this process.

Having gone through this myself I’d simply say this: seek this silence and solitude if you feel drawn to it . . . but do your very best (as I’m sure you are) not to be judgmental toward those whom you feel the need to withdraw from for this can be a great trap. God calls each of us by our own name . . . and it never ceases to amaze me how “subtle” our judgments can be of those who don’t walk the same path we do. :slight_smile:

You might even find there comes a time when you desire to “re-imerse” yourself into the world . . . energized and better equipped, through your silence and solitude, to meet the needs of those around you. Not where “your at” . . . but where “they’re at.”

While it might not seem it at the moment, the desire to withdraw is a great blessing if embraced with great love . . . for both God and neighbor. :slight_smile:

Dave :slight_smile:

Yes, I can relate, even though I am younger than you, at 36. For me, it’s a combination of unique life experiences that others maybe wouldn’t be able to relate to, and some aspects of my personality and intellect that are hard-wired to become very bored by trivial and superficial things. Of course I’m not really withdrawn at all, I’m very busy in my career and at home. I just don’t blend in all that well.

i know this way of feeling. i did not know it is a good thing. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I feel it every day , all the time, whenever I see people small talk, whether its about a TV show, drama in their life, problems that they just don’t know how to handle (which Christ could easily solve) … I know what you mean.

And this doesn’t come with age, generally. I’m barely 22 and its been plaguing, or blessing, me for months since my conversion.

great post! :slight_smile:

I’m 23 and I feel the same way… I’m just no longer interested in small talk and conversations about TV shows, etc, I get bored… sometimes I just want to be alone and pray and read spiritual books. But sometimes I also get the temptation to judge others and that’s something that’s very important to fight.

I could very easily have been the author of his topic. I’m 45 single and live in a quiet place in the country. I am not anti social or anything but I treasure my quiet/alone time to be in prayer or reading scripture or saying my daily rosary. I go to a nice little parish close by but I only desire to worship there and I have not interest in getting involved in any parish activities. This world has nothing I’m really interested in. I never fit in with people. My social life on weekends is Saturday morning mass and confession, Saturday evening mass then spending Sunday resting and loving God. Loving God is my most important thing to do in life. My friends call me a hermit LOL. I used to think there was something wrong with my desire to be alone but now I see how beautiful it is and fully embrace it. I used to live in a town but two years ago I bought ground in the country and put a house on it on my own. Its so quiet here you can here a pin drop. I know God gave me this place to be in better union with Him. I even thought about joining a cloistered contemplative community but now in life my age is a big factor. I actually live as close as you can live this life anyhow. I asked Jesus if that was my calling to make it so but I’m led to stay where I am and to be near friends and loved ones who need help. I am very happy in this life.

**These are all great responses and I appreciate them very much. It feels good to know I’m not alone on this kind of journey. I must admit, however, that I am judgmental toward atheists. I tend to avoid them as much as possible, and consider time spent with them an utter waste. In my line of work, they’re rather abundant. My quest therefore isn’t saintly, I’m afraid. **

I have strated feeling this too. (I am 33) I just don’t feel particularly interested in chit chats, especially with atheists. We don’t have the same concerns and I’m bored of feeling like I don’t fit in. I like this change in me but it is really challenging. How do I carry on living a ‘normal’ life feeling so separated from people? I suppose prayer is the answer. Thank God for this forum :thumbsup:

I suppose this withrawal could be indicative of a need for further spiritual development and contemplation. I come from the Celtic fringe of NW Europe - and we have an incredibly strong traditon of withrawal - numerous holy men lived as hermits throughout my region - ascetic eastern monasticism (E Mediterranean) strongly shaped early Celtic Christianity. Time to go to a retreat?

Maybe not now but it can be :slight_smile:

A couple of comments . . .

First, “withdrawl” can take many, many forms. For example, some of the times I feel the most joyfully alone is sitting in the midst of 45,000 screaming fans at a Cardinals baseball game. Just sitting in silence, joyfully watching all that is going on around me and continually praising Him for any small act of virtue I see: a father bouncing his young son on his knee, a grandfather patiently explaining the in’s and out’s of the game to his granddaughter, a passerby picking up a piece of trash rather than stepping over it. So “withdrawl” often isn’t what it might seem.

Second, for most of us, withdrawl will take the form of “being in the world but not of the world.” And a very important part of this is understanding the duties of our state in life. For example, I’m a businessman and I come into contact with all sorts of people each and everyday. Since this is my “state in life” I can not withdraw from these people no matter how troublesome I might find them. To do so is never part of His will because those whom God has given me are counting on me to do my best: my family, partners, employees, clients, vendors and so on.

So after learning from the school of hard-knocks I’ve found this to be most helpful: Silently pray for those we come into contact with . . . not in a condecending way that reflects our biases and judgments toward the individual . . . but in a more general “Father, open their hearts to your light and love” kind of way. You might even want to say a brief prayer such as “Peace be with you” to those you passby each day and especially before entering into any conversation.

Next, we must practice virtue toward these individuals . . . hard though it may be. Simple acts are best: a smile or nod of the head, a kind word, biting our tongue and so on. It’s very hard to fight the urge to withdraw or avoid those among us we find most troublesome. But that’s exactly what we’re called to do. Afterall, doesn’t the Gospel tell us “what merit is there to love those who love you. Even sinners do that.”?

What I’m beginning to learn in all of this is the more we withdraw from the world in interior silence, solitude, prayer and contemplation . . . the more we’re strengthened to go out toward others. In short, we turn inward to go outward.

Food for thought . . . hope it helps!

Dave :slight_smile:

Yes I feel the same. Bad relationship are the cause of many lost souls. How many times have we not been deceived into sin by our friends, who actually are our worst enemies (besides from our own will)? Remember death, and the terrible judgment of God, and it won’t be hard to leave the world behind.

The Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden.

Book 1 - Chapter 32

God speaks: "You ought to be like a person who lets go and like one who gathers. You should let go of riches and gather virtues, let go of what will pass and gather eternal things, let go of visible things and gather invisible. In return for the pleasure of the body, I will give you the exultation of your soul; in return for the merriment of the world, I will give you the merriment of heaven; in return for worldly honor, the honor of the angels; in return for the presence of family, the presence of God; in return for the possession of goods, I will give you myself, the giver and Creator of all things…

Read the rest of the chapter at:
prophecyfilm.com/revelations/book1/b1_chapter32.htm

How well I can identify with that. Often times my heart goes to the Lord among the noisy crowd. While engaging in some secular conversation, a strong thirst can all of a sudden hit me hard. Then I would quietly tell God how I miss Him and how much I love Him, In this way I silently gain a moment of intimacy from within. No one around me will ever know anything about it. Yet by such recollection, I can have strength to re-engage in the sometimes necessary social conversations. What Dave said here is even better – to appreciate the beauty of our brothers’ and siststers’ love toward each other around us and give God thanks and praises.

Second, for most of us, withdrawl will take the form of “being in the world but not of the world.” And a very important part of this is understanding the duties of our state in life. For example, I’m a businessman and I come into contact with all sorts of people each and everyday. Since this is my “state in life” I can not withdraw from these people no matter how troublesome I might find them. To do so is never part of His will because those whom God has given me are counting on me to do my best: my family, partners, employees, clients, vendors and so on.

So true. Not only we must pay close attention to our worldly duties, for me, I must also earnestly serve the Lord in his Church with my time, terasure, and talents. This is the balance between Martha and Mary. I like to be alone with the Lord as much as I can, but I also have a need to serve Him. While walking closely with Him, a fire is always burning from within, urging me to reach out .

Plenty of good advice here.

If I might add that instead of withdrawing completely, which I don’t believe God wants anyone to do, especially believers in Him, you should find a group of like minded people who are believers and work, socialise and pray with them.

I have felt like you and sometimes still do, but I found an organisation like I described above in the Knights Of Columbus. This group works for me, but for you it could be a confraternity or perhaps a third order or a Church group. The Knights gives me a place for socialising and working with a group of like minded men and it let’s me do the good works St. James tells us that we should be doing. It is not perfect and there is alot of human drama, but we are working towards perfection and making our council, our community and our Church better places and that is a powerful thing.

So don’t withdraw completely. I’m sure God has given you a gift that a religous organisation or charity could put to good use and wouldn’t that make God happier?:thumbsup:

Have felt this way for a long time. Work at home - never been happier. Don’t know how I worked “out there” for so many years.

You all might want to check out //www.ravensbreadministries.com.

Also, chapter 53 in the Imitation of Christ. e.g. “You cannot fix your mind on Me and at the same time delight in transitory pleasures. Friends and acquaintances must be kept at a distance and your heart disengaged from all temporal comfort.” :bible1:

It does feel great to be able to discuss these matters. I ask myself your question a lot.

**A great aspect of teaching is that I get to interact with young people, whose company I enjoy. It’s the adult world I’ve grown painfully tired of, unfortunately. Believe it or not, most public school Social Studies teachers are agnostic, at best. Many are rather vocal atheists. It’s a bit shocking, actually. **

I’ve often thought along these lines myself. I underwent a Cursillo retreat, decades ago in Korea. I’ll always remember that experience as awesome.

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