Loneliness begins with a painful social situation- a rejection, a few hurtful words, a piercing action- things we have all experienced. After the event we have two choices; we can seek counsel and talk through our pain or we can bury ourselves in. In the latter choice, we hide and pretend to be fine to protect our heart. We believe Satan’s lies that “no one will understand,” “they will think I am a downer or depressed,” and worst of all “they will see my greatest weaknesses.” So we keep that arrow to the heart buried deep (the arrow idea taken from The Sacred Romance, Eldridge & Curtis, read it!!).
I have been to that place far too many times.
Once the loneliness begins it is a huge, witch-infused, purple water tornado pulling you (and all of the Little Mermaid characters) to the depths of the ocean. Since no one will understand, you don’t want to see anyone anyway. You push people away if they get too close. You avoid loved ones who will ask “how are you really doing?” And worst of all, you avoid the one who loves you more than anything: God.
Avoiding God isn’t always intentional and it is often (to quote Casting Crowns) a slow fade. Satan will do anything to put a wedge between us and our creator. The two biggest ways I have seen – 1.) He convinces us to become as busy as possible so there is literally no time to breath and look up. 2.) He tells us we are worthless to this world, attacking our self-esteem and self-worth. Both of these tricks are one-way tickets to loneliness.
Everyone needs to be alone sometimes, but God created us to live in community. Genesis 2:18 “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” From the beginning God knew we weren’t meant to be by ourselves. We are human, we are going to make mistakes and are going to need help! Check out Ecclesiastes:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Let me tell you, this is so much easier said than done.
I was in a season of loneliness in late November early December until God finally broke through and pulled me to the surface. I wrote this prayer in my faith journal on December 12th: “God, use all of my life for your glory – the good, the bad, the terrifying. Show me how to give it all to you.” This blog was born out of that prayer. I felt God calling me to share my story, my journey, my strength to anyone who might be going through something I have been through.
I have always felt a calling to serve and more recently felt a serious calling to do mission work in other parts of the world. Every time I start searching I am quickly reminded of how much work there is to be done here! Yes there is worldwide struggle but there are people here in our backyards that believe it or not are worse off.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”- Mother Teresa.
Think of the poverty she saw! I was awestruck when I heard that quote for the first time and humbly reminded to get back to work. We HAVE to find ways to reach out to people and bandage their loneliness. No not with a drug Doctor, but with Christian love. Every day is an opportunity to be a piece of saving someone from isolation. When some random old person talks to you at the store what is your demeanor? When someone you don’t like sits by you in a meeting or in class what is your first response?
We as Christians just don’t do a great job of loving each other. First of all, as I said at the beginning, loneliness begins with an event and we cause those events. We say and do things that are hurtful and force people to withdraw. Second, we leave people out in the cold. (ever been to a nursing home?)
The more I have looked the more I have noticed loneliness is a pandemic in our world. In our churches, in our marriages, in our families. Other than a newspaper column (which I still think is a good idea), what do we do?!
If you are experiencing loneliness 1.) get out of the dark. Cancel netflix. Find something to do that isn’t by yourself. 2.) be brave and reach out to both God and a physical person. A friend, a family member, someone at your church, or even me for heaven’s sake (always willing to listen). It will probably be awkward, but we as Christians are called to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2. People love you want to help you. They want you to be happy. Sometimes they just don’t know how to help. TELL THEM.
If you suspect someone is experiencing some loneliness, call life out of them. Sit them down (even if you have to force your way in) and say “you are my brother/sister in Christ, I love you, and I am here to help.”
Okay that’s all fine and dandy, but where’s the catch. Here it is, are you ready? YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO ACCEPT LOVE. You as the one who is lost and broken have to be willing to let love in. Accept God’s love. Accept your family’s love. Accept the love of your Christian homies. You are a beautiful child of God, made in His image. He created you to live and to love not hide and suffer in silence. Don’t believe satan’s lies, you are so much more than the mistakes of your past.
Show, give, accept love. God’s ultimate calling (Mark 12:30-31) Get down on your knees and pray for help. Then pick up the phone. Everyone has experienced loneliness, even Jesus. But you have to be strong and take that first step. Whatever you’re feeling is only temporary. Life is just a blink and then we are reunited with God in eternal bliss. You will get through this. 🙂 It’s a long walk through this world, but keep walking tall, you’re one day closer to being home.