I’ve heard the enemy whisper that I’m the only one in a dark empty corner. That this kind of pain isn’t fair. That if anyone really cared, they’d try harder to reach me.
Lies, all of them. But believed by so many of us.
The truths about loneliness might surprise you. No, they’re not easy to hear, but these three truths just might change everything for you.
1) Loneliness is not about your circumstances.
But I hear you. When you’re single, it’s so tempting to believe your pain would be alleviated by a soul mate. Divorced? Widowed? As you mourn the loss of love, you live in a place the rest of us dread. And some of you are married, yet completely alone emotionally or spiritually.
Then there are friendships. Or the lack of them. But no friend can meet the deepest needs of the heart. Even the best friend forgets to check on you during the worst week ever, becomes enamored with a new friend… a new job… a new baby.
Do you see it? Loneliness finds its way into every life. New circumstances only bring new corners into which it can settle.
Ever since Adam and Eve chose their way over God’s way, loneliness has been the condition of the human soul. It’s not about our circumstances; it’s about our soul’s hunger for God.
2) Loneliness, like pain, is a gift — a symptom that alerts us to the real problem.
Medical studies prove the value of physical pain. Not only does it alert us to life-threatening danger, it also signals our brain to speed the healing process.
And loneliness is the symptom of our soul’s need for Jesus. It urges us to run to Him.
Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8
He alone knows when you come and go, when you lie down and rise up. He chose you, formed you, knit you together and knows your inmost thoughts. No other friend will ever be so interested, so eternally invested.
Our spouses, our friends, facebook, chocolate . .. . none of them will fill the cracks of our hearts.
So stop. Stop for a moment and allow yourself to feel the ache of the loneliness. It’s telling you something. It’s pointing you to your true refuge.
Without loneliness, that gut-wrenching despairing kind of lonely that catches up to each of us eventually, we could never know God as our all-sufficient friend.
3) The ball is [almost] always in your court.
There are times when there is no choice. There is simply no one with you besides God. And in those moments, God will be enough.
He is enough.
But when you have a choice, remember: We are part of the Body of Christ. We weren’t meant to go through life on our own.
And while we’re quick to agree that we were meant to live in community, we’re also often slow to make the first move.
But do it.
You might be new to your community, your church, your ministry, your job. All those “settled” people around you should be welcoming you, embracing you, taking you into their lives and homes. (“Settled” friends, read this.)
But the chances are pretty good that they’re not. That’s how it often goes. I’ve been there.
So pick up the ball that’s in your court.
Make the first move. Make the second move. Make the third move.
It’s hard to break into what you see as a “clique,” I know; but don’t let bitterness, shyness, or awkwardness rob you of the joy of life in the Body.
In swallowing your pride, in humbly opening your life to those who haven’t yet really seen you, you bring Christ to them, and set yourself up to see Christ in them.
Don’t believe the lies, my friend. You aren’t the only one feeling alone.
And your loneliness is not a curse, it’s a gift, reminding you that your eternal best Friend longs to meet your needs.
May He give you peace and also grant you courage to make the first step, the second step, and the third step toward a new friend.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
*How have you seen the Lord use your loneliness to work good in your life? And how can I pray for you today?
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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: The newly-released memoir, In a Sun-Scorched Land: A memoir of adoption, faith, and the moving of Haiti’s mountains by Jennifer Ebenhack, Foreword by Lisa Jacobson