Heart to Heart: Loneliness

Loneliness. A word no one likes to hear and an emotion no one wants to feel. But let's be honest, we all go through seasons of feeling alone and secluded. We can be surrounded by friends and family or thousands of miles away from those we love, but the truth of the matter is, distance doesn't actually play a very big role in loneliness.

You can force yourself to hang out with people and try to shake the feeling, but it just doesn't seem to help. We can quote scriptures about how God will never leave us or forsake us and ask Him why we feel this way and why he allows this feeling to exist at all.

Of course His word is true and He will never abandon us. He will always be with us on our life journey, but it doesn't necessarily mean we will always feel Him. In fact, the Bible never says that we will never experience loneliness. It actually promises the opposite; that we will be rejected by men (Matthew 10:22, John 15:18, Mark 6:11), that we are to take the narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14), that we are to leave everything comfortable and good behind in order to follow Him (Luke 9:23). And He never tells us we will always (or even sometimes) feel loved and understood by those we love.

I would even venture to say that Jesus was lonely at times. He was 100% God, but he was also 100%

man, which means he felt the things we feel. He probably didn't have many people to lean on during hard times... In Matthew 26, we see that even His closest friends fell asleep in his darkest hour. And in the very next chapter, we see that even God turned His back on Him for a moment while he was on the cross. Those few moments void of God His Father were probably the weight of all the loneliness the world will ever feel.

I know the feeling of sitting in a crowd of friends laughing and talking, but feeling so secluded and distant on the inside. I know the feeling of just really wanting to talk (in person) to your best friends that live hundreds of miles away. I know the feeling that you're all alone and no one really gets you and how it feels when everyone else seems to have their lives together but you're just chilling over here all alone... It's not a great feeling.

Seasons of loneliness are definitely difficult ones. I don't have three easy steps to end loneliness once and for all. I'm simply going to share with you some of what I have learned in my own seasons of loneliness. 

I've heard the quote by Jeannie Mayo,

And that sounds really great. The idea behind it is solid, but it's a whole lot easier said than done.

In the times when I feel like I don't have anyone to turn to, sometimes, admittedly, the last person I want to talk to is Christ. I find myself putting it off over and over until I finally cave and realize that it's what I needed all along. He really does "get me."

In my experience, I've noticed that these seasons are less about the empty feelings of loneliness and more about Him getting our attention. Him calling us back to Himself.

Times like these do more for my faith and my character than seasons when life is everything I think it should be. It's in the lonely times when I can't lean on my friends the way I would like to and I really have no one to go to and I can't try and explain away my problems, that I finally understand that all I can do is return to Christ. And it's in those moments where He can begin to restore and speak and deposit things in me that I might not have seen if everything in my world seemed to be coming up roses.

We are in a constant process of change and growth not only as Christians, but also, as women. We definitely don't look and dress the way we did just ten years ago. Hopefully we have matured and become more confident in who we are. Loneliness is no exception- it's an avenue for growth. It takes us on a journey of finding ourselves and drawing us closer to the heart of God.

If only we will let it. 

Certainly it's hard and can often times leave us feeling like we have nothing left, but that is the exact moment when we have a choice to make. We can wallow in our sad. lonely emotions or we can allow the Lord to rebuild us and perfect us.

We may never welcome loneliness, enjoy it or look forward to it, but we do need to learn to accept it, embrace it and grow through it when it comes our way. 

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