Walking the widow road at times I admit is often lonely and filled with potholes of opportunities to feel very lonely. I do know that widows and widowers are not the only lonely people in the world. In fact it is a true fact that no matter your state in life we all can experience loneliness.
Loneliness, while difficult, can cause some very positive changes in our life if we will embrace it with faith–neither fear nor self-pity. Last week I talked about the critical inner voice–or the hostile judgmental adviser that we all carry in our heads that seeks to confront our faith and keep us smaller than God intends. This voice shouts–“you are alone and lonely because you are unlovable”. I have had to fight against this voice many times. The Voice likes to talk in generalities–“everyone else…; or No one else…and of course we are never included in either!
Loneliness is defined as sadness because one has no friends or company. The problem with loneliness is that we can begin to blame ourselves (via the critical inner voice) or blame others and withdraw. You can begin to read rejection everywhere including within your marriage, family or church. Loneliness can cause people to overspend, overeat, over drink, become irritable and further drive others away.
It is difficult when we get stuck in a lonely cycle. Poor me, I’m all alone leaves plenty of opportunity for the critical inner voice to magnify our negative attributes so loud that we cannot hear even the loving voices of our family, friends or even our Savior. How we view “loneliness” makes a difference.
I wonder if Jesus was ever lonely. Hebrews 4:15, This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing’s we do, yet he did not sin. I think that includes loneliness. So when we feel lonely, it is good to understand that Jesus understands our loneliness. Knowing someone “gets it” always helps me move through difficult experiences like loneliness.
David prayed in Psalm 25:16 turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. It can be difficult to admit to others that we are lonely–so start with the Lord. Tell Him all about it, and then with eyes of faith, begin to look for ways to make the connections you need. Move toward becoming the friend who feel you need. Look for other “lonely people” and reach out to them.
Understand that loneliness can be the motivation to change things in your life. It also can be a black hole that sucks you in to depression and isolation. Understanding that loneliness is common to everyone is not always easy. Sometimes in some perverse way, we like to think we and only we have it the worst. God answered David’s prayer and He will answer yours as well.
One of the tools I use to “fight” loneliness is praise and worship. I bought myself an Amazon Dot last Christmas as a present to me. I don’t have to put in a CD or turn on the radio–I just say “Alexa, please play Praise and Worship””. My home is instantly filled with reminders that I am not alone, and that He is with me. It really helps.
Psalm 68:5-6 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. I will admit there have been times when I have not “felt” like I have found that “family” he talks about. But when I choose to open my eyes to those around me, I know I may at times be lonely, but I am not alone. I use the lonely times to reflect on His goodness, the blessings I do have and develop a thankful and a grateful heart.
Father, I pray for the lonely people who struggle with feeling a part of a family. I thank you for healing the pain of loneliness in their soul and helping them connect with those around them. Bring them close to yourself and show them they are not alone. In Jesus Name, amen