We ALL face loneliness in this life. Whether you are an 8 year old girl in a neighborhood with very few children (like our daughter), or a middle school student anxious to find a group of friends, or the “new student” in your high school, or going away to college and not knowing anyone, or you are an adult – there are moments, hours, days, sometimes even seasons or years of loneliness. Singles face loneliness, of course. But married people, do, too. Maybe one spouse has to work nights and the other works days and they barely see each other (that happened for 2 years earlier in our marriage), or maybe one spouse is very introverted and doesn’t want to do much talking or do many things together, or maybe one spouse has to travel extensively for work or even leave for deployment for a year at a time or more. As we get older, even if we have children, our children eventually leave and live on their own – the empty next time can be very painful for some parents, especially moms. Friends may move away or die. Spouses may get really sick or die. None of us are exempt from loneliness.
Jason is a single brother in Christ in his early 40’s who works for the Salvation Army. I so appreciate his willingness to share some ideas with us:
My input for loneliness? I get those days here and there when I even get lonely; and I am a very busy man in my church, community and neighborhood!
- Stay in your prayer life. Even if you feel “sad” stay on the routine of your prayer life. I have a devotional I do nightly as well.
- Have a hobby. Yeah “cliché” I know…..but you need a few activities you can fall on; and it takes work to find and perfect a hobby.
- I remind myself of what I was; and what I have now. I’ll take now….even with the loneliness
- Do a daily physical exercise. Even if it just an after dinner walk down the street. I crank out about a 100 sit-ups a night now. I started with 10.
- Do a mental exercise. Watch a “nature” special on PBS, do a crossword puzzle, or word-search. I am reading a cool novel from the 1930’s called “Drums Along The Mohawk” that takes place in the area of New York I grew up in right before the Revolutionary War. It’s turned into a great story!
- Do something that you DON’T want to do that needs doing. That hall closet needs to be straightened out….do it, you have been putting it off for months.
- DO something for someone else. All the stuff you want to throw out from cleaning that hall closet? Call the Salvation Army to pick it up. Your donations helps SO many people recovering from addictions, they clean, sort, repair and merchandise the donations… giving vital work experience.
- Do something for yourself. Take a hot shower for a few minutes longer than usual, whatever…as long as it won’t break your budget.
These tips have REALLY helped me. No, it has not “cured” my loneliness that hurts me at times, but it has lessened the sting of it.
Loneliness is part of the human condition in a fallen world. We all face times of being alone for a variety of reasons. THANKFULLY, Jesus is able to give us the emotional and spiritual connection we need the most. He is able to meet our deepest needs. And we can pray for godly friends and for a Bible-teaching, Bible-living church to plug into. We should be able to find fellowship, friendship, prayer partners, and connection in a local body of believers in Christ. We were not meant to live alone, but to be part of the Living Temple of Christ!
Some things I do when I am feeling lonely:
- Pray and journal my feelings to God.
- Sing praise songs.
- Write down all of the blessings I can think of that God has given to me.
- Focus on Philippians 4:8 things.
- Read a book (for me, usually a book about godly femininity, growing in my faith, increasing my prayer life, spiritual maturity). It can be really encouraging to read about the lives of believers in the past and how God worked through their trials for His glory.
- Do something kind for someone else – someone who is lonely, sick, stressed, or upset.
- Read the Bible and ask God to speak to me and change me.
- Remind myself that my loneliness is a flag to turn to Christ to meet my needs and that “His grace is sufficient for me, and His power is made perfect in my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Go for a long walk/run.
- Listen to podcasts of sermons by David Platt, John Piper, or Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.
- Sit outside and enjoy the breeze, the sound of the birds, and the beauty of God’s creation.
- Reach out to a trusted friend.
- Find connection with believers online.
- Ask God if there is someone He would like me to talk to or minister to.
Now, I actually greatly cherish my time alone with Christ and look forward to it more than anything else in the world! When I am plugged in to Him, I don’t feel lonely – even if I don’t have other people around. I can be content in Him alone.
What are some ways you deal with loneliness in a productive way? Maybe we could compile some of your ideas for another post that might bless a lot of our sisters and brothers. 🙂