Life can be crazy busy. Who has time to be lonely? After working 8 hours, you rush home to put in another 8 plus hours with kids, dinner, sports practice, music lessons, youth group outings, homework, housework, yard work, laundry…(you know the list!) Or maybe you are with your kids 24/7, with never a minute to yourself. If you are like me, you find yourself frantically trying to keep up with life. Yet in the exhaustion of all you must do, you are lonely.
Loneliness. You don’t have to be single to be lonely. I know what it is to be lonely for many years in a very broken marriage, and I now know times of loneliness as a single mom. The psalmist describes it well in Psalm 102:7 when he says, “I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.” (NLT)
God created us with a desire for intimacy, a longing for someone to really know us, to share our dreams and with whom we can face the future. The absence of intimacy leaves us feeling lonely. Loneliness doesn’t come from being alone; it comes from feeling alone. You can be in a room surrounded by people and feel alone.
But you are not alone. Not ever. “I am with you, says the Lord!” (Haggai 1:13) David said “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8) Wait a minute, isn’t this the same guy who said he felt like a bird alone on the roof? So what changed for David? One minute he is crying out that he is all alone, and the next he is declaring that he will not be shaken for God is always with him. Today, my heart may be filled with gratitude and a tremendous sense of God’s presence, and tomorrow I may have tears streaming down my face, feeling oh so alone. Emotions change, minute by minute. Thank goodness our God does not!! He IS always there. We are never alone, no matter what we feel. We have to allow this to sink into our hearts and emotions. It was true for David and it is true for us.
But what do we do when loneliness threatens to overwhelm us and steal our hope and joy? First, cry out to God. Tell Him you’re lonely, pour out your heart to Him. But don’t do all the talking. Open the Bible, and then listen to what He wants to say. I have had years of being “alone”. God has been the one to whom I have turned daily. I talk to Him continually, and the most amazing thing has happened. I have come to know intimacy with God. I believe God has allowed this season of solitude to teach me to draw nearer to Him. Though I have known God personally all my life, having walked alone, I now know Him more personally and intimately.
When you feel alone, put on praise music and sing out loud at the top of your lungs. Who cares if the kids, the neighbors or the people in the next car hear you! (You may have seen me driving by, singing praises at the top of my lungs, with my tear stained face!) Even when I do not feel an once of praise in my heart, I have found that when I sing praises out loud to God, my focus shifts from my aloneness to an awareness of God with me.
Finally, make the effort to connect with people. I don’t mean on Facebook. In fact, studies show that Facebook can increase our sense of feeling alone if we use it to replace connecting with people one on one and when we read of all the fun others are having. Call a friend on the phone; meet a friend over a frozen yogurt. Be a friend to others, and you will find you have friends.
You are not alone, no matter what you feel. May this truth sink deep into your heart, and may you know God’s tender love and intimate presence in this day!