If you’re reading this our guess is that you have been feeling lonely, know someone that is lonely or want to know what God says about loneliness. It’s our goal to help you discover how to overcome your loneliness or help someone who has been feeling lonely.
Why write on loneliness?
Loneliness is a real problem, in spite of God’s wishes. He created very person to be connected with others. We all need to be known, loved, cared for, and in relationship with GOD and with other people.
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is a feeling of isolation and disconnection from meaningful relationships. Loneliness says, “no one knows me, no one cares about me.” Even in a crowd, we can be lonely. “Everyone” might like us, but something is still missing. Loneliness isn’t about the numbers: tons of Facebook friends, text messages, or even conversations is protection against loneliness. It’s about being known and accepted. When we’re lonely, we don’t have a safe place to celebrate our successes and share our burdens.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of loneliness. SOCIAL loneliness is feelings of being separated and disconnected from other people. SPIRITUAL loneliness is feeling separated from God. Both disconnects can result in a lot of pain.
Loneliness leads to deep feelings of sadness and it erodes confidence. It’s difficult to be filled with any kind of joy when we FEEL like we don’t have any friends.
What should I do if I’m feeling lonely?
- Try to be encouraged: You are not alone in your loneliness! What we mean is that EVERYONE experiences loneliness and feelings of being disconnected. This is a natural part of the broken world we live in; it’s not right, but it is common.
- Begin with prayer and talk to God about your feelings. This is critical because God wants to do something great in your life, even when you are feeling disconnected from others. God often wants us to trust him with more of our lives when we feel like we have no one else to trust.
- What kind of loneliness are you feeling? Are you disconnected from other people, or from God?
- There’s a great upside to a disconnection from God: he ALWAYS wants us back, and there’s nothing we can ever do to change this. His mercy is available to everyone. There’s also a real tough downside: if we’re disconnected from God, it’s the result of our decisions and there’s no one else to blame. That’s a hard thing to hear, we know! The good news is that you can return to God and renew your relationship with him. Check out some of the other pamphlets for ideas on how to do this in your life. Better yet, talk to an HSM leader as we are here to help you grow in your faith.
- If you’re feeling disconnected from others, here’s a great place to start: start caring and serving other people. That may not make any sense at first. The best way to be loved by others is to love them first. This is what Jesus did, he loved us first in hopes that we’d love him back. It works in friendships too: get to know other people, and in time, they will want to get to know you.
- Remember to take risks, and when the time is right, share the important stuff. Sometimes we hold back, because if someone knows us, then they can reject us. The fear of rejection keeps people lonely. It’s important to share “when the time is right.” You won’t connect with others if you “dump” all of your problems in the beginning of a friendship.
- A side note about pain in the past: If you’ve been hurt by others, learn from it, but don’t let it trap you. The past doesn’t have to determine your present. Again: the fear of rejection keeps people lonely, trust God to help you overcome your fear.
Love others first, serve them by getting to know them. When the time is right, take a risk and share something real and important. Don’t give up, you will find some people to connect with!
Read and reflect on Matthew 6:33; James 4:8; Psalm 102; Gen. 2:18.