The Truth About Loneliness

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Alive and Active Life
The Truth About Loneliness
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Do you remember the film, “Cast Away?” Tom Hanks plays a systems analysist named Chuck who is marooned on an island quite unexpectedly when his flight goes down over the Pacific Ocean. In this movie, you get a front-row seat on how a person might deal with loneliness. From hopelessness, to anger, to desperation, to finding a way. He’s alone on this island for four years! Meanwhile, he’s declared dead by family and friends back home. Chuck’s only friend is a volleyball that washed ashore from the plane wreckage. This ball becomes Chuck’s only friend: “Wilson.” Chuck becomes very familiar with the truth about loneliness. 

Loneliness

Loneliness is a condition common to so many people on earth. Truly, every person has known some kind of loneliness at some point in their life – people from young to old, famous to regular folks, higher education to lesser opportunity. In fact, I would say loneliness is, unfortunately, a human condition. And some suffer significantly from loneliness for various reasons.

Incidentally, did you know you can be in a crowd of people and still feel lonely? You can be surrounded by people – even people you enjoy – all day – and still experience pangs of loneliness.

One can learn a lot about a word – in this case, a condition – by looking at synonyms of the word. Some of the synonyms of loneliness are:

  • Desolation
  • Heartache
  • Solitude
  • Aloneness
  • Seclusion
  • Withdrawal
  • Remoteness

 

Have you ever felt any of those things? Do you remember a time in your life when the heartache of solitude was so strong, you felt you were literally withdrawn from people? It’s a sad kind of aloneness – a seclusion not desired. A kind of desolation or remoteness.

More Truth About Loneliness

Loneliness is a condition brought about when lacking sufficient nurturing companionship. It can be depressing when deprived of support. Consequently, being in this condition too long can feel like living in an arid wilderness where no one else knows you exist.

Loneliness can also develop when a person closes off from others who would welcome relationship. Sometimes it can be a kind of “shut-down.” Coincidentally, the logic is – “if I protect myself from the hurts others might bring or disappointments of circumstances, I’ll be safer.” Sadly, the reality is the opposite – intense loneliness.

Most of the time, a person can address loneliness with specific action steps. Occasionally, the sadness of loneliness can remain indefinitely even after taking intentional good steps. However, a wise person will choose to not allow this condition, this feeling, this temporary season – to define them or to dictate their life choices.

How well do you manage loneliness in your life? What about others you know who struggle with loneliness? How well are they doing?

THE Truth About Loneliness

It’s time to look at loneliness through God’s eyes. God did not intend for people to ever live in this state. Rather, He intends people to have support, companionship, friends, and a social structure that nurtures well-being.

In addition to those things – God, Himself, weighs in on the loneliness issue on behalf of people. He literally makes very specific promises to combat loneliness.

And there’s more. When Jesus becomes a human baby, He does what no one else can. The “God-man” forms a bridge – a connection – to God. Since God cherishes each person on earth throughout all centuries, this includes you.

Fundamentally speaking, it’s critical to remember why God made people. He made you for Himself! And this arrangement flows from a heart of deep love for you. Further, God made mankind in His image to be glorious and rule the earth. The intention is partnership with Himself – and deep friendship. God intends to meet the intense need of loneliness in your heart.

I believe at the root, loneliness is the human heart longing for God!

Scripture Is Pretty Convincing

The heart of God leans toward you always. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”  (Is. 65:24) This verse strongly hints – the split-second you lean toward God – He has already launched into action on your behalf. Wow.

God really, truly loves you deeply. His eye is always trained on you. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chron. 16:9) God’s great heart longs that your heart would Reach Back to His love. He wants to help, guide, encourage, and bless you. And He desires your friendship!

“You have searched me, LORD, and You know me . . . when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar . . . discern my going out and lying down . . . familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.”  (Ps. 139:1-5) This is a lot of intimate knowledge about you! No one else on earth is that committed to and invested in you.

Logical Conclusions

PONDER SOME IDEAS:

God knows your every thought, every longing, hopes and dreams. He knows where you are afraid and where you feel weak and incapable. He knows your sorrows . . . and any areas of sin. Yet, His love for you is steadfast with all this personal knowledge about you.

God makes relational initiatives toward you through Jesus. He wants to be Emmanuel to you every day of the year. Emmanuel literally means “God With Us.”

Choosing Jesus is knowing God is always with you.

WRESTLE WITH THE ROOT OF LONELINESS:

If God is truly leaning toward you to answer before you call – and to hear you while you are still speaking, why are you hesitant to call to Him and tell Him about your life? Where does fear or doubt linger in your heart? What about personal agenda? These are important questions to ask. God doesn’t want you to be lonely.

God made you for Himself. Emmanuel means you never need to be alone. This is hope. And it’s a reason to rejoice, even in hardship. So –

  • Engage His goodness.
  • In humility, give Him control.
  • In contrite trust, nestle into His abiding love – and give up your agendas.
  • And finally, in respect, consider His words more valuable than your own.

 

You can make a life-response about loneliness by accepting God’s invitation to “do life” together. This is the truth about God and you.

Jesus made God tangible. He promises to never leave you. Deut. 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified . . . for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

Why not respond to His extravagant offer of relationship and address the root of loneliness? 

Healthy Action Steps To Manage Loneliness

Pro-active action steps help manage loneliness. Here is a quick list –

  1. First and most – come close to God in your heart. You are never alone when you have Jesus.
  2. Take action in times of loneliness. Here are a few ideas you can add to:
    • Journal about your feelings.
    • Call a friend to share thoughts.
    • Schedule regular times with a friend or group you can associate with.
    • When you feel lonely, think of another person who also might be lonely. Reach out to them. “Do to others as you’d have them do to you.” (Lk. 6:31)
  3. Never let loneliness define you: personality, skill sets, or value.
  4. Schedule fun activities occasionally to refresh your heart.
  5. Look for simple pleasures in life – a candle, good food, a good book, rain, smell of herbs, uplifting music, your Bible, a kind memory, and thousands more. Thank God for these small, meaningful pleasures. This re-connects you instantly to your dearest Friend.
  6. Write a note to someone who needs encouragement. Include Scripture and perhaps write a prayer on their behalf.
  7. Invite someone to share an experience or special meal with you.
  8. Repeat God’s promise to always be with you and always love you.
  9. Choose to lift your countenance to a platform of joy. Since joy is a choice and not necessarily a feeling, you can do this.
  10. Remember, many painful experiences help you interface with others who suffer. Be a friend to a lonely person.

 

Application Thoughts And Questions

  1. Do you often feel lonely?
  2. What pro-active action steps do you take to manage your loneliness?
  3. Which action steps we explored in this content will you put into practice when you feel lonely?
  4. Do you believe God loves you and will never leave or forsake you?
  5. What keeps you from addressing the root of loneliness? Fear? Anger? Loss? Disappointment? Something else?

 

 

       * For more on Emmanuel, check out my Advent book: Celebrate Advent: A Life-Response to Emmanuel. This is a wonderful tool to use Dec. 1-31 to prepare for Christmas. And the principles in the material are “keepers” for every day of the year. If you order now and even tell others about our “best-loved book,” you (and they) can be ready to start using this tool on Dec. 1.

 

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Visit our website for resources to get into God’s Word and live an Alive and Active Life.

 

 

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