I have known loneliness in my life. When I first started to follow Jesus, I was 24 years old. Soon after making that decision, I moved to a new house. During this period I lived alone in a house with no television and no internet. I lived like that for four years. Because of my decision to follow Christ, I didn’t have many friends who were very present during this time as I wasn’t socializing the way I used to. I would come home from work, and the silence in my house felt deafening and overwhelming. I ate many a solitary pasta meal; and honestly, I felt lonely a lot. While this was a challenging period in my life, I look back now and see that it was also a period of amazing growth and a time when the Lord did a huge work in my heart. Let’s explore some of our views on loneliness and see if we can change them in order to embrace it in a more hopeful way.
Don’t run from loneliness.
Often, when loneliness strikes, our first reaction is to fill up our time in order to escape the feeling of being alone. Sometimes our need to not be alone can cause us to make unwise decisions, to look to people we know are not going to be a positive influence in our lives just so we are not alone. Sometimes we need to take a moment, breathe and just admit to ourselves, “Right now I feel lonely...... and that’s ok.” Don’t be so quick to avoid loneliness, the fact is, it is an emotion that everyone will experience at different times in their lives, so it might be worth just facing it and learning to accept it; or you will spend your whole life fearing it. God tells us in Deuteronomy 31:8, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” As a Christian, no matter how alone you may feel, the truth is, you are not alone. The one who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) is by your side. It might be time to rest in that truth and allow the very real presence of God to pervade your loneliness.
God wants to use this solitary period of your life to work in you.
We know that “everything works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). So, do trust the Lord that He can turn your lonely time into something beautiful. Instead of resenting this time, look at it as an opportunity to tune into the Lord; it is you and Him now, and He knows your needs better than any human person. The Lord wants you to “abide” in Him, rest in Him, allow Him to fill up the empty, lonely places in your heart.
This season will eventually end, and you can come out of it closer to the Lord, fulfilled in Him, ready for the relationships He has for you in your future. You can emerge from your desert season, standing on the constancy of Christ in your life, or you can rush around filling your time with unhealthy relationships, born out of the fear of loneliness. I would encourage you to turn to Christ and see His work in your life during this time of loneliness.
Loneliness is not something to be ashamed of.
There is no shame in being lonely. It is not something you need to feel bad about. There is nothing wrong with you. You are just human, you, like everybody else at different times in their lives, are going through a desert experience. Remember that even those who seem to have very full lives can be feeling lonely in the midst of their busyness. So, resist the urge to compare your life with someone else’s. We never truly understand what people are feeling in their hearts, only God knows that, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God knows your heart. He knows your needs, and He wants to use this time to draw you closer to Him, so that you can become practiced in relying on Him.
Instead of dreading loneliness, look at it with hope that this is in fact an exciting season for you, one where God wants to do something that would not be possible in another, busier time of your life. Do not miss this opportunity!
Don’t worry about what you’re missing.
During those periods when I was young and very lonely, I suffered from what I called W.A.I.M. (What am I missing). I would sit at home alone and think that everybody else was out having loads of fun. Everybody else had tons of friends and was out having fun, and I was majorly missing out. WHAT AM I MISSING? The fact of the matter is, I wasn’t missing anything, and neither are you. If you are following the Lord and seeking His will for your life, then you are where you are meant to be, even if that is a season of loneliness. Stop wondering what you’re missing or trying to figure out ways to dodge feeling lonely. Just allow yourself to be in the season you are in and let the Lord do the work He wants to do in your life during this period. I know you will look back on this time and rejoice in the goodness of God and the beautiful plan He has for you.
Rejoice in the Lord!
"Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). Remember that God is your joy, just as much in the season of loneliness as when your life is full of friends and fun. So find your joy in Him. No matter what period of life you are in, whether full or lonely, there is only one constant, one rock we can stand on, the rock of ages, the rock of Christ. He will never let you down.