Sometimes people ask me how I come up with topics for these blogs. It’s not always easy, sometimes the idea well runs a little dry and I find myself staring at a blank screen for awhile. Other times God puts a topic on my heart and the words fly.
Usually the things I feel He gives me to say are words I need to hear just as much as anyone else. Authors are often taught to “write what you know”, it’s more genuine. For this month this is what I know, people are lonely. It doesn’t matter their background, social status, marital status, etc. I’m seeing an outbreak of loneliness that’s contributing to a malaise that’s hard to put a finger on.
Feeling this way is hard enough, but it’s even more confusing when on paper our loneliness makes little sense.
I know many people who have families, tons of friends, a good job, are constantly surrounded by people, and yet are lonely. I get it, I’ve been there too. The last thing socially active people should feel is lonely. It happens though, and I believe the short answer is there’s a difference between being physically alone, and being emotionally connected.
There’s no doubt that physical aloneness is hard, but if being around others was the antidote, simply finding a crowd would solve our loneliness. It isn’t good enough though, because no amount of companionship satisfies if there’s not also emotional connection, which at our core is what we need the most.
Get Out of the Shallows
We basically get out of relationships what we’re willing to put in to them. Many times when I’ve felt disconnected, it was because I did the disconnecting. I haven’t always had the time, energy, or interest to go deep in my relationships.
The result was shallow relationships that weren’t always available when I needed them. In growing older I’ve come to value my relationships more than my convenience. Emotional connection requires commitment and energy. We feel lonely because we fear the lack of someone knowing us to our core, and loving us anyway. Staying on the surface may bring companionship, but it fails to build the intimacy that we all desire.
If we want to be less lonely, we need to enter in to vulnerable spaces with one another and cultivate friendships based on trust and reliability.
Need a Friend? Be a Friend
Friends don’t fall out of the sky, we have to make ourselves available and go to where real life happens. There is so much human need in this world. Getting out of our heads and into the lives of others not only improves our perspective, it creates a feeling of usefulness and community.
Friendships are often born from common experiences and values that find a cause. One of the best ways I’ve been able to shake off loneliness is to actually be proactive in reaching out to existing friends, as well as find new opportunities to participate in things that seem worthwhile.
When we’re lonely it’s easy to get in a funk and start doubting ourselves, which then just perpetuates the funk, so we need to break the cycle and stop isolating out of fear. Being a friend can’t help but to win us friends.
When we demonstrate the hands and feet of Christ, we find fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).
Some Loneliness is Inevitable
I know this sounds defeating, but it’s both realistic and scriptural. David often wrote about loneliness in the Psalms, and Paul lamented many times in the New Testament about being deserted by friends. Even Jesus commented about being abandoned by those closest to him at his time of persecution.
I believe that loneliness is a factor of our human condition, and an artifact of still not being fully connected with God on this side of heaven. C.S. Lewis famously wrote that “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” King David felt this when he said “there is nothing on earth that I desire but you” (Psalm 73).
If we were fully contented in this world, even while being physically separated from our Creator who knows us like no one else, there would be no reason to press on to the upward call of our salvation (Philippians 3:14). Longing for the full fellowship of Christ, and our heavenly home, should be expected and may make us all feel lonely at times.
In His mercy though, God gives us the fellowship of the saints on this side of heaven, and most of all, He gives us Himself.
God promises to never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). We have to do our part of the deal though, which is drawing near to God so we can feel Him draw near to us (James 4:8). We have to be willing to make a move in order to feel communion with our Maker. After all, knowing God and being known by Him is the only relationship that will fully satisfy. Anything else may be lovely, but a very distant second place.
If you need help working through your loneliness, you really aren’t alone. We’re here to help you find connection. Give us a call at 225-341-4147 to make an appointment.