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Dear Reader, I won't start this with "Everyone gets lonely sometimes" because the lonely you feel may be deeper or different from what I've felt. Maybe your loneliness is due to a recent change in circumstances, an ongoing feeling that no one understands you, or mental health struggles. I won't pretend to know your story, but I'll tell you what I've learned from mine: Lonely is never what I am. Loneliness is a thought that attaches to my mind like a leech. It may have real causes, but it doesn't have real control. Yet, it feels like a dark tunnel with no exit. Is there a way to avoid that path?There are certainly practical steps to take, such as reaching outside my comfort zone or telling people how I feel. But what if nothing works? What if, for a time, I can't change the reasons I feel lonely? What if there is no apparent reason? Well, I guess I'll revisit my fictional friends (Shout out to New Girl and public libraries). Or maybe I'll read a thousand differing opinions on Reddit. Hmmm....There's nothing wrong with consuming a bit of great content, but it doesn't pull me through. I need something solid to carry me forward, and so do you.
"Here comes the Jesus talk." Whether you're a believer or not, you may consider closing this page, thinking this will be another delivery of "Just pray and God will help you." Well, please wait! I promise I have more to say. Yes, it will include the value of prayer and God's guidance, but I want to explore the heart of the matter. I'll start with a rhetorical question: Does loneliness mean you're alone?You can feel lonely in a crowded room. You can feel lonely no matter how many people cherish you. Loneliness is the opposite of feeling known. I believe Jesus knows me to my core, but how can my brain digest that without His physical presence? Why can't God speak aloud to me, just once? I want to give a list of answers, but the truth is that I don't know. What I know is that Jesus is the one constant that shows me the light ahead. He gives me examples of how to connect with others and healthy ways to process my emotions. He listens to my frustrations and gives me peace that I honestly can't explain. I don't feel "all better" every time I talk to Him, but I'm reminded that I matter. I'm more content with myself when I realize God doesn't forget about His children. Words can't replace people, but they can renew your mind. I'm not just talking about the Bible; you can use words you write yourself. For example, you can write a letter to someone or make an uplifting note for your bathroom mirror. You can write a list of action plans to nurture your relationships. However, God's Word is an irreplaceable source, and I recommend applying it to every part of life. It holds all sorts of genres through which the authors express every kind of emotion. Psalm 25:14–18 says, "The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses."Passages like the one above, Psalm 139, Lamentations 3, and so many more are gritty poetry. What shifts them from brooding to inspiring is God's loving presence. He cares so much that He sent His Son, who experienced every emotion we feel. Pain and worry won't go away while we're in this world, but neither will Jesus. He offers comfort and encourages authentic relationships. Jesus won’t “fix” your loneliness, but you will grow in freedom the more you seek Him. Whoever you are, I hope that even just a little, this helps your tomorrow be better than today. Sincerely,Attie
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Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.