There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely, having to have people around constantly is as serious a problem as having no one around. All of us at times, will have to be alone, visiting a strange city on business, leaving home for higher education or work, etc. Yet, in all these areas, God is still there.
Often, we think that we are unique in our feelings of loneliness when in reality, in every crowded room, there are many people who are in the exact same situation.
Instead of waiting for others to include us in THEIR lives, we need to develop the courage to take the first step and invite them into our own. Learning how to genuinely express an interest in someone else’s interests, past, values, and concerns is one of the most appealing and attractive character traits we can develop. All it takes is a little courage to take the first step.
And what often holds us back is the fear of rejection; yet, God accepts you, has called you into His Kingdom and made you a member of His family. So what if some people do not appreciate, understand or value your gifts; He does!
And there are others out there, just like you, with whom you can have a ministry of encouragement, compassion and love, IF you are willing to take that first step.
Dealing with Loneliness
Good relationships are central to our wellbeing;
- It is not good for us to be alone: (Gen 2:18).
- The Sum of the Moral Law is relational; to love God and others
- The essence of eternal life is a relationship with God (Jn 17:3)
Loneliness is the feeling of being destitute of sympathetic or friendly relationships. Sin separates us from God and others (Psa 66:18). Often loneliness is caused by the inability to relate to God or others due to;
- Guilt over unresolved sin
- Selfishness rather than selflessness, including a competitive rather than cooperative spirit towards others.
- Unresolved anger, distrust of other’s intentions, defensive behaviors or irrational fear
- Mishandling of conflict or confrontation
- Self-concern (pity) rather than concern for others leading to envy, brooding, fretting, being egocentric
- Inadequate social skills: e.g., inability to listen to others, make conversation, etc.
Our responsibility as Christians is to relate to others in a loving way which requires us to identify and repent of the specific attitudes and actions that can separate us from others and replace them with godly practices.
Therefore we must learn how to:
Spend quality time with God
(Jn 17:3): perhaps God has providentially placed you in a situation for a while just because He wants you all to Himself?
Spend quality time with others
- Do not wait to be served, but seek ways to serve (Mark 10:45); our goal always ought to be to share the love of Christ, ministering to others.
- Develop good social skills; i.e., the ability to listen to others, develop an inventory of questions you can ask new people to learn about their life, make sure your dress and appearance is appropriate, etc.
- Write out a thumbnail sketch of your history, goals, interests that you can share with others
- Do not be afraid to be vulnerable and open with others: remember, love “casts out” fear. Previous hurts do not justify trying to be a “loner.”
- Learn how verbalize what God has been and is doing in your life
Spend quality time with ourselves
- (Eph 5:15-16); loneliness is often compounded when we lack a sense of accomplishment.
- Therefore replace passive activities (i.e. TV or fantasy reading) with solitary skills: g., adult education, challenging reading, developing hobbies, skills or other interests, discerning and developing your gifts and talents, setting and achieving realistic intellectual, physical or spiritual goals, etc.
- All of which make you a more interesting person and puts you in situations where you can meet and interact with new people.
Never allow yourself to;
- Indulge in self pity; people who whine, complain and always find fault are not “nice” to be around.
- Become involved in the depressive cycle (where you feel bad, do not do what is right, feel even worse, so you are even less motivated to do what is right…)
- Dwell on our situation, but instead acknowledge the providence of God and find ways to use that situation for His glory.
- Blame others for our loneliness; we are called to serve, not be served—to love rather than be loved. We need to take personal responsibility…