Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Loneliness



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Loneliness



You don't have to be on a desert island to feel lonely. You can be in the midst of a big group of people, and still feel all alone. You don't have to be shy to be lonely. You can be the most outgoing person in the group, and still feel isolated.

I tried to think of some situations where loneliness can weigh us down. Some of these I have experienced, and others I can't say I have. Some of these situations may be combined in your life, or they may overlap. But I hope this helps a little bit. If there is something that I haven't thought of, feel free to leave it in a comment ... or email me. I wouldn't mind doing another post on this topic if I've left things out.


1. Feeling like you don't fit into one "group" and always feeling on the fringe or outside of the group.

Have you ever stood on the edge of a crowd, just wishing that someone would turn around and include you in their conversation? Have you ever tried to find somewhere to sit, but no one would meet your eyes? These are times where you feel the blood rush to your face, and you may feel awkward and unsure of what to do.


2. Feeling that no one shares your beliefs or convictions.

We have been called as Christians to be holy. This means that we will be set apart - different - from the crowd. I remember the first six weeks of my freshman year of college. I hadn't met anyone yet, and I was a commuter student. I felt so alone. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Even though things got better after those first weeks, there was always a difference between me and the others I interacted with at school. I remember eating numerous lunches with friends, and being the only one to bow my head before the meal.


3. Moving away to a new state, town, church or school.

Have you ever been the new one at a school, church or job? These can be lonely days for anyone. It takes a while to find your niche -- where you fit in -- in your new surroundings.

4. Facing rejection from a close friend. Feeling left behind.

When friendships go stale, it can be a great time of emotional loneliness for a young women. There are also situations where a friend has not necessarily rejected you, but may be moving on in her life and you are not. Maybe she is moving away, or even getting married. If you are not, you may feel that your life isn't going anywhere, and everyone else is hitting milestones while you stay stagnant. You wonder, "When will it be my turn?"

5. Having to take a stand

When I was almost 18, I went to New Mexico as a delegate for a Junior Science Symposium. I felt like I got along very well with the other four young people that I traveled with. We had fun eating together, shopping together, and spent time talking about all sorts of things. The last night there, we attended a fancy banquet. There was a dance after the banquet, where everyone was encouraged to enjoy themselves. I knew that I wouldn't be "enjoying myself" in this way. One of the girls in my group assured me that she "didn't feel like dancing" and would stay with me. But an hour later, I was wandering around the hotel by myself. It was a time of loneliness that caused me to pray for strength. Was I the only one among hundreds that wasn't dancing? But God sent me one person that long evening that loved the Lord as well. We sat and talked for about three hours. The Lord provides, doesn't He?


6. There just isn't anyone around.
Maybe nothing drastic has happened. Perhaps there is simply no one around that you would be able to befriend! These are times when our ability to wait on the Lord is tested. We should have high standards for friendship as Christians. Good friends are hard to find.

If you are lonely, my sister-friend, you must realize several things:

1. God has not promised us lives of ease. We must go through trials in our Christian lives. Loneliness is a trial, but through this trial God is molding us and helping us to grow in Him. Maybe in some cases, God wants you to cling to your parents, and spend time with them. Your mother can be your very best friend. I learned this in my teen years. We must not waste these times in our lives griping about the fact that we are lonely. I am talking to myself too! We must cling to our Savior and meditate on His word. Here are some verses. Please meditate on these things.
Psalm 37:4
James 1: 2-4 (This is a really good one!)
I Peter 5:6-7
Ephesians 3:17-21

2. Sometimes we are lonely because of the unkindness of others. If this is so, always remember to be aware of other's feelings. Because you have felt the sting of loneliness and exclusion, you will be able to minister to others who are going through the same things. Remember to put on a bright and smiling face so that others will know that you are open to getting to know them. If you have a group at church, for example, remember to introduce yourself to new faces that may show up. Make sure that you are showing integrity in your own life. God will handle those who have misused you. Proverbs 10:9: "He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known."

3. Stay busy. Going through an emotional trial may cause you to draw into yourself. This is a natural response, but not one that is pleasing to God. We can find our joy in helping others and finding little ways to make them happy. The busier you are, chances are that you will not feel so lonely.

4. Don't lock yourself in to a particular age group. If God has not sent you a friend that is your age, don't forget that you don't have to base your all of your friendships on one age category. There may be younger girls just waiting to learn from you, who would be blessed if you would befriend them. There may be older women who have a lot to teach you.

5. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Always, always, ask God to send you righteous friends that will benefit you in your Christian life. We should always take our troubles to the One Who can help us. Lamentations 3:25 "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him."

6. Know and take comfort in the Sovereignty of God. Our God has a plan for our lives, and will work everything out according to His timing and perfect plan. Psalm 62:5: "My soul, wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him." Jeremiah 32:17: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You."

With much love, my sister-friends, I leave you to meditate on this post. Like I said, there may be things I have left out that you would like to hear about. You can email me at joyousmommie@girlinside.com, or just comment here or on the website. In the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting new "stuff" on the site, so remember -- I'm looking for recipes for the "Put Your Apron On" section.

16 comments:

Neesie said...

Ahhh...I don't know quite what to say. This was excellent and I was able to identify with so many of your examples! Even though I do have a few friends (for whom I am VERY thankful!), many times I do forget to wait on God....and ask him for more friends that honor him. I often want to take matters into my own hands, and find someone on my own. Yet, if I did this....I'm sure that this person may not be a good example for me, and may pull me down spiritually. I must therefore wait on God to find more friends for me...if that is his will. In the mean time I will...as you have said....try to be looking for ways that I can serve Him...therefore not thinking about this "loneliness" problem too much. I would love to hear more articles on this subject in the future. Thank you dear sister!!!!

Beverly said...

Your welcome, Neesie. I think we all forget to lean on God and trust Him to work in our lives. You're not alone! Thanks for your sweet comment.

Love always,
sis

Laura said...

Wow! Thank you so much for putting so much time and thought into that post. I really appreciated it, and benefited from it.

Beverly said...

You are very welcome, Laura! Thanks for stopping by.

Anna Naomi said...

Great post! I struggled with loneliness for years, crying out and begging God for a close friend. He taught me to rely on Him for everything, and drew me closer to Himself. Soon after, He sent me wonderful friends as an added bonus. He is faithful!

Beverly said...

So glad to hear your testimony of God's faithfulness in your life, Anna! Thanks for stopping by. I got your email -- I'll be writing you back soon.

Sara said...

Thank you so much Beverly! Being a female, I am very emotional, and there are times when I feel lonely and times I don't. As you previously mentioned, you can be lonely even in a large group of people. I have felt this way many times, and at home (with my large family!). It is so easy for me to just dwell on my problems and feel sorry for myself rather than relying on God for comfort and companionship. I am so thankful that even though friends may leave or forsake me (I am very happy to say that I don't think any of my wonderful friends would do this), God will always be here for me, and He is constant and faithful.
Thank you for your examples amd encouragement on this subject. You are such a wonderful role model! I am very thankful that we are friends. <3
Love you dearly!
Sara

Beverly said...

Sara,
You are so right -- God will never leave or forsake ... His love is everlasting. Thanks for everything you said -- I feel the same!!

Ella said...

Wow! I have suffered with loneliness a lot, basically all of the ways you mentioned. However, God is so good!!! He draws me closer to Him through every new problem. And he has given me a wonderful mother who is there for me. Yet I am so thankful for like-minded fellowship that I have now. This was a very thought-provoking post.

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I look forward to each of us reading the other's posts.

Beverly said...

Ella,
I've enjoyed your blog so much, and am very happy that you stopped by to visit. What a wonderful blessing God has given you in your mom. I can see the closeness you share in the comments she writes on your blog! I have the same relationship with my mom, and it is truly a gift from God.

Bethany said...

Thank you so much for posting this! For about a year we were trying to find the right church for us. In all of them I met one girl who continued to greet me whenever we met. But our conversations were at most five minutes long. We are now going to a church where you are never alone! I am so thankful for this. I am so happy that you are doing this blog. It is such an encouragement, I shall be visiting often and I will tell my friends about it! Thank you again!
Bethany

Beverly said...

Bethany,
I'm so glad to hear how God worked in your life! I'm also happy to hear that some girls did take the time to talk to you in your other churches, even though you weren't able to get close to them. Thanks for your sweet words! I'll be visiting you on your blog.

Samantha said...

This is something I have struggled with in the past, through different stages of my life. It can be very difficult when you don't feel that you have the support of others around you. God does answer our prayers. He answered mine. It took a little while, but He taught me alot while I was waiting. Thank you for sharing.

Beverly said...

You are so right, Samantha! I went through the same thing, and God taught me SO much. Now we have our husbands too!! ;-) Thanks for visiting ... I'm praying for you.

Vicki said...

Beverly, I am late in discovering this post of yours, but it touched me and is so excellent for women, no matter the age. I could so relate to what you shared. God bless you. Thank you for this.

Mrs. Elliott said...

I just discovered your lovely blog, and wanted to let you know how much this post ministered to me today. Thank you for the exhortation and encouragement in the Lord!

-Sadie
unfoldinggrace.blogspot.com