The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with other things. – John Piper
Lessons from Loneliness
What is Loneliness
Loneliness is feeling alone – feeling like no one cares, or no one loves. Loneliness is the absence of FEELING loved.
Admitting loneliness is not a negative confession but an honest, often humbling expression of human need. The desire for companionship is a legitimate need, honestly, one God saw from the beginning of creation when he said Adam needed a helpmate. Gen 2:18 God says it is not good for man to be alone.
Loneliness is a feeling – not an actual event, you cannot measure it or quantify it. The whole thing really is in your head… and loneliness, when turned into self-pity, is the absence of the awareness of God and knowing you are loved.
Loneliness has very little to do with being alone – in fact, I feel more lonely in a large group than when actually alone. Loneliness has very little to do with being single… in fact, I would venture to say that in a relationship, the loneliness can actually be worse – because you expect another person to fill a void that God intents to fill. Please don’t think someone to cure your loneliness – you will never be satisfied.
What the world does when lonely:
- Inwardly Destructive – dark thought patterns, isolation, anger, depression, suicidal
- Outwardly Destructive – reaching for attention in an unhealthy manner (provocative lifestyle, seeking attention from the wrong crowd, sinful behavior to fit in, etc).
I think that God does allow us to experience seasons that are void of meaningful human relationships for the sole purpose of making our relationship with him more meaningful. To a degree, solitude is to be sought. Jesus often separated himself from the crowds. Moses consistently left the multitudes to hear from God. David and Daniel were both men who isolated themselves to hear from God. It’s good to get alone sometimes.
Benefits of Seasons of Loneliness:
Knowing Christ More. The fruit of loneliness is a heart that is tender to God’s love. I want to be quick to respond to his moving, and live in a constant awareness of his presence. Seeking attention from a significant other, or a parent, or a leader, or a friend will more often than not leave you disappointed – humans have that tendency! I don’t want to wait on another human being to complete me, I don’t want to put pressure on my loved ones to see my great need to be loved and to respond with counterfeit love. When God gives you the opportunity (in loneliness) to get to know him intimately – take him up on it! An intimate relationship with God is not to be taken for granted and it’s not guaranteed – it must be earned. And the best place to earn intimacy with Christ is when we are broken, and lonely, and in need of unrelenting love. There is no substitute!
Knowing yourself more. This part I love – because it’s the forgotten step in seasons of loneliness. For me, I know that the reason I’ve shred most of my issues with myself and insecurity is because I have allowed myself to get comfortable with who I was made to be during seasons of loneliness. When I had no one affirming me, when no one was pressuring me to become something I wasn’t, I could really start to understand my strengths and weaknesses and be happy about the person God made me.
What to do in seasons of loneliness:
Cry out to God for help – find his faithful shoulder, weep if you must, cling to his truth, fill yourself with the knowledge of who He is and how He fills your empty soul.
Feed yourself – don’t wait for other’s to pour into you, learn to exercise the discipline of encouraging yourself and motivating yourself. God’s word tastes so sweet when you are so hungry for His love.
Move Get active in service – find somewhere to serve. Giving is the only healthy road to receiving.
Call out to others for help – if you struggle with depression, don’t stay in the dark. Have courage and enough wisdom to set aside your pride and tell someone you need help. Go to a mentor or a leader, not another broken, wounded soul. Two broken pieces do not fix themselves! Call me if you need to!
So if you find yourself a little lonely – take it as God’s invitation to His love story for your life. I can tell you from experience that loneliness IS a season, and a great one at that if you allow yourself to grow through it.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
I have decided to dedicate a category to some of the people who have made significant influences on my life – my heroes – men and women who have made sacrifices, loved unconditionally, lived faithfully, defeated their failures, and unknowingly changed the world.
I cannot reveal anyone before I give honor and credit to my biggest hero, my mother, Gayle Mordue. Cliche I know, but I do not care because she’s amazing and deserves the title. Plus, it’s my blog, and I make the rules.
As a single mom, she gave up everything she had ever wanted for herself to give the best possible future to her children. We never went without anything, but we especially never went without love. I hear statistics of what happens to children of divorce; of addictions and habits and broken lives. I am proud to say that my sisters and I are exceptions to the rule, and all credit is due to my mother.
Today she will tell you that her girls were perfect and if we ever did anything wrong, the memories have been erased. I know the truth – we were needy, tough, disobedient, rebellious, sassy, ungrateful children who developed into loving, healthy, intelligent, grounded adults because one woman saw past her own needs to nurture and love three little brats. I love you mom!
The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years …since they had not obeyed the LORD. Joshua 5:6
I have heard many Christians quote 2 Peter 3:9 – “God will not delay in fulfilling his promise.” Peter is referring to God’s patience with us, hoping that none would perish. However, I have allowed myself to believe that this really meant, “If I want something from God, He will give it to me, in a matter of his timing.” Thinking this allowed me to believe that I had absolutely no role in his purpose for my life being fulfilled. Just sit back, buckle up, and relax while Jesus steers this ship in the promised direction, right?
I am always fascinated by the story of the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, fleeing Egypt and pursuing the “promised land” just miles away. However, their disbelief and disobedience resulted in a forty year delay in the fulfillment of God’s promise. FORTY YEARS! Apparently, God felt that their obedience was more important than the fulfillment of his promise.
Did God withhold his promise from the Israelites? Of course not. He could not wait to give them what He had promised. The Israelites’ disobedience delayed the promise.
There is a distinct difference between people that are waiting on God and those who are wandering. When we have offered our hearts as a sacrifice to God, when we have killed our fleshly desires and want nothing else but God’s purposes fulfilled in our lives, God may lovingly make us wait. However, when we want something from God more than we want God Himself, when we complain about where He’s led us and when we are dissatisfied with living day to day on faith alone, we sometimes find ourselves wandering in lonely places. I am learning a lesson in contentment, and in having a heart that is prepared to move when God says “G0.” If only our eyes could be open to the possibility that God actually knows where He is leading us, how much quicker could we arrive at the promised location!
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.
Excellence, I can reach for; Perfection is God’s business” Michael J. Fox
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be excellent. As someone who works full-time in the ministry, excellence is an expectation, not just from God, but from those I work for and those I serve. We are called to give our lives to serve Christ, and He does deserve the absolute best. I am thankful that excellence is demanded of me, for it reminds me that shortcuts are never worth it, that I will only be satisfied if I know I did my best, and most importantly, God is pleased with me.
However, I often interchange my definition of excellence with perfection. The difference is pretty simple but often misunderstood excellence is knowing God sees you as perfect, while perfection is hoping man thinks you are excellent. I strongly believe that the desire to be perfect in all of my tasks has been luring me further from the heart of God. Instead of pushing myself to operate under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have been asking myself to perform to the best of my personal abilities. Instead of knowing I am pleasing God, I am seeking for man’s affirmation. To pursue perfection means that we believe we are responsible for our own gifts and successes, and either take the glory or beat ourselves up for our shortcomings. Shouldn’t we instead be aligning ourselves with the heart of God and asking for his anointing and blessing on everything? His presence can do what my abilities cannot – touch lives. I have seen God use people without any gifting, without any ability, in amazing ways, simply because they were prepared and anointed. I miss knowing God is doing great things among us, despite us.
I do not like where my heart has wandered. I have been relying on my own ability to get my work done and painfully beating myself up when things do not go perfectly, or when I feel like I have disappointed someone who’s respect I was trying to gain. I must realize that I am weak and I will fail from time to time. There are many expectations put on me every day, but the only expectations I should try to meet are God’s expectations for me. Then, when things do not go as planned, or when I’ve fallen short of perfection, I should embrace my shortcomings because they are my personal opportunities to be refined by Christ. The true pursuit of excellence is to depend on God for all of my ability, strength, and results… and then offer back to him my best.
Excellence is journey.
Perfection is destination.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
Well, there is a 1st time for everything, so they say. Here goes my attempt at blogging… stay tuned!