A while back I participated in a link-up on a Christian Mom blog. I was surprised to see how many posts had to do with loneliness and friendship….and I had only read the first dozen or so post titles.
It has struck me that loneliness is, unfortunately, a common problem.
I knew I was lonely. But I thought I was somewhat alone in my aloneness.
My first move ever occurred when my amazing husband and I moved to TX, nine months after we were married. Up until then I had lived in the same city my entire life and gone to the same church for about 18 years. But I honestly didn’t mind moving. It was great. We loved being on our own and setting up our own home. We loved our new life.
A year went by. And then it hit me. Last Christmas, a little over a year since we had moved, I started to feel lonely. Disconnected from friends and family, I felt like no one knew what was going on in our lives and I was painfully aware of how much my life had changed. And the people who meant the most to me were nowhere close to weep and rejoice with me.
When I was 12 I also went through a period of deep loneliness. That was my first big life trial. It was horribly difficult. I remember God speaking so clearly to me, though, and drawing me to Him. I found so much comfort from Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” I guess that I thought that hurdle was past. Loneliness was no longer something that would plague me.
But, alas. Not so. :)
Having a baby I believe was the greatest contributing factor. My son was 5 months old and both sets of parents hadn’t seen him since he was 2 and 6 weeks old. It hurt that they couldn’t see our son growing and getting older.
There were also some interesting moments with friends. I was so lonely, so desperate for friendships, that I decided to get out of my comfort zone and start pursuing friends instead of waiting for someone to pursue me. I knew that I needed to find people to be the Body of Christ to me and that I could be the Body of Christ to. I initiated with three different people……and all three at first seemed to be excited to talk and we started to get to know each other…..but then, suddenly…it just stopped. They stopped responding to me.
To be honest, I felt like I was in junior high again, as I analyzed every little word I had said. Was I overbearing? Did I sound mean? Did I come across as desperate? What is wrong with me? Do people not like me? What did I do wrong? I would read and re-read the messages I sent, wondering what had been wrong with the words I said.
Thankfully, I was able to curb those thoughts before they ran too far. I spoke the truth to myself. All I can do is be myself and strive to encourage others. Obviously there is some reason those friendships have not worked out. Maybe they simply forgot to respond to my message. Maybe they honestly didn’t feel like I was someone they wanted to get close with. Maybe they had their own circle of friends and didn’t know the loneliness I was facing. Whatever it was….being bitter was not the answer.
It took a couple months for me to realize what the answer is. And it will sound like a cliche or a platitude but when it comes down to it, it is one of those simple truths that can blow your mind, rock your world, and change your life.
I knew that I needed to recognize my worth in Christ.
God brought so many verses to mind, like the passage in Hebrews I mentioned above, and all the verses about casting our cares upon Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). I was reminded that all I really truly need is the Lord. He is my joy. He is my delight. He is my Friend who never leaves, never changes, and never stops being there for me.
I remember one time I told Michael that I knew God was my friend to whom I could tell anything….but I wanted a friend that could talk back. I felt like I was just talking to space or a big empty wall. The lack of dialogue or verbal response was hard.
And then I read Spoken For. This small book was packed full of truths. Truths about God’s deep love for me. His pursuit of me. His delight in me. It calmed my heart and fed my soul as I realized that God is not empty space or a big blank wall. He hears me. He catches my tears in a bottle. He cares.
I do still believe it is vitally important to be involved in community where you can be the hands and feet of Christ to other believers. But right now I want to pursue God. I know that as I follow Him, I will find community on earth as well.