I'm thrilled to be sharing this wonderful post about loneliness from my new friend Bethany Griggs. She shares wisdom and encouragement, and I hope you'll be blessed by her article.
Loneliness is hard. It’s also a part of human nature. We were made to be connected to God and others, so when those connections are not strong, we feel the lack. Everyone deals with feelings of loneliness at one time or another, but those of us who are chronically ill sometimes seem to get a double dose. We find ourselves limited from interacting with our family and friends because we just don’t have the strength, energy, or maybe even the brain power.
There are times we really want to be with people and just be normal, but we know that if we try it, a crash will be our payback. Sometimes our friendships may begin to fade because we just don’t have the energy to invest in them, or people drift away from us because we are no longer able to spend a lot of time with them. There are so many different situations we can find ourselves in, but the end result is much the same: loneliness.
The worst kind of loneliness is when we struggle to feel the presence of God. After all, He made us to be connected to Him and abide in Him. So, when we are not abiding in Him, we feel incomplete – as though part of us is missing. Maybe you are struggling in your relationship with God. You feel that He has let you down. Or, you want to spend time with Him, but you can’t seem to muster up the energy and brain power to focus on praying.
When we are lonely, it’s easy to just give in to these feelings and have a pity party. It may feel good to feel sorry for ourselves, but it never fixes the problem and does not take away the hurt. I would like to share three positive things we can do when we feel lonely.
1. Remember you are never alone
“And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20b
The first thing we can do is remember. And, no matter how foggy or troubled your brain is, and no matter how much memory you may have lost, this is still something you can do with the Lord’s help. Remember that you are never alone. Even if you feel like God has forgotten you and isn’t there, He’s there. Always. He promised.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
So, no matter how lonely you feel, remember, you are never alone! We must begin to replace the lie that we are alone with the truth that Jesus is right beside us. And He is not out of reach. When you reach out for Him in faith, admitting your need, He reaches out for you. He longs to have a relationship with you!
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8
Take a minute to write down the Bible verses in this post. Put them somewhere you can see them or at least have them handy. When feelings of loneliness hit, look at the verses and remind yourself that you are never alone.
2. Talk to Jesus
Did you know that Jesus wants to be your Best Friend? That’s right! Now, what is a relationship with a best friend like? You love to talk over things, and it really doesn’t matter too much what you’re talking about as long as you’re together, right? That’s the kind of relationship Jesus wants to have with you! He wants you to enjoy being in His presence.
Sometimes we limit ourselves in our prayers (which is really just the name given to our talks with God). We think, “God already knows about this. Why should I put it into words? I don’t need to be specific.” Is that how you would talk to a best friend? Often, it helps to tell them what you’re going through, even if they already know, because it gives you a chance to get it off your chest. Jesus wants you to do that with Him. He wants you to pour out your heart to Him.
“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Psalm 62:7-8
Another trap we fall into is only asking for things from God rather than just enjoying fellowship with Him. We certainly wouldn’t treat a human friend in this way, and we must not do this with our Best Friend.
When something happens that bothers you, tell it to Jesus. When something happens that makes you happy, tell it to Jesus. He wants you to share your heart with Him. Yes, He already knows all about it, but He wants you to come to Him and share it with Him. He delights to hear you speak to Him! That’s the kind of a Friend you have beside you, always.
3. Be the one to reach out
Sometimes when we are feeling lonely, it’s because we are focusing on ourselves rather than others. When we are dealing with chronic illness, we have to learn to think about the things we do and how they will affect us, but if we aren’t careful, we can begin to think about ourselves too much and become selfish. When you are feeling lonely, instead of waiting for someone to come to you, try reaching out! There are many other people who are also feeling lonely and are waiting for someone else to make the first move. Be that someone. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35), and this is also true in the area of relationships. When we give to others, God uses it to bless us as well.
I know that the ways we can reach out are sometimes limited, but don’t let the limits keep you from doing what you can do. Maybe you can send a text, or a short note to someone else, letting them know you are thinking about them and praying for them. Or maybe you could invite a friend over for a quiet chat. If you read things on social media, maybe you could try answering the comment of someone who seems to be hurting, giving them some encouragement. You never know how far reaching a simple act will be. Even a cup of cold water does not go unnoticed by our Savior, and as you seek His strength, He will bless your labor of love.
Loneliness is hard, and it may knock again and again, but we don’t have to let it keep us down. We have a Friend Who will never leave us! At any time of day or night, we can call out to Him. And there are many other lonely people we can reach out to. Instead of giving in to self-pity, let’s look up into our loving Father’s face and then reach out as He gives us strength.
Bio: Bethany Griggs is a blogger of Christian simple living and writer of Christian contemporary fiction, who lives in Texas with her parents and two siblings. She enjoys crafts from paper, coziness, and creativity. Oh, and alliteration! When she's not writing, you might find her designing planners and stickers or reading Christian fiction from the 1800s. As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, she loves encouraging people through the rough places, rejoicing with them in the good ones, and pointing them to Jesus her Savior. You can connect with her at arubyintherough.com.