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:

  1. Inwardly Destructive – dark thought patterns, isolation, anger, depression, suicidal
  2. Outwardly Destructive – reaching for attention in an unhealthy manner (provocative lifestyle, seeking attention from the wrong crowd, sinful behavior to fit in, etc).

Healthy loneliness

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. 

Isaiah 43:1-2

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.