On a recent night while in prayer, God impressed upon me to write on the subject of “Overcoming Loneliness.” Often we hear Sunday messages on faith, salvation and tithing, but there is another legitimate issue people wrestle with called loneliness. Being alone does not necessarily mean that one has to be lonely. Loneliness, according to the dictionary, is a condition where a person is “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone.”
God does not want anyone to struggle with or be defeated by loneliness. Many people hate to have this feeling and place themselves prematurely in wrong relationships in an attempt to overcome this feeling. BIG MISTAKE! Just because you are with someone in a relationship (even a marriage) does not mean that you will not wrestle with loneliness. A second definition I found for loneliness reads, “…destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, or support.”
Many have found out the hard way that even after marriage their spouse may fall short of their expectations. This is especially true if they married a person God has not intended for them or an immature spouse. If your spouse does not try, know how to, or care about fulfilling emotional and physical needs for attention and companionship, you may STILL suffer from loneliness. Even worse, hurt, distrust, and low self-esteem, etc.. may result from a broken relationship. Add these with loneliness and you have an emotional wreck.
To help you avoid falling into these traps and overcoming loneliness I prayed and asked God for some points to share.
- Realize That You Are Not Alone
Our natural mind and the enemy (satan) often try to trick us to believe we are alone and that we are the only person dealing with certain situations (see 1 Kings 19:14). This is certainly not true. Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “…there is a friend who sticks CLOSER than a brother” (emphasis mine). This refers to God Himself. He is always watching us, with us, and for us. We are often unaware of this and He is the last person we focus on. The more you recognize and “in all your ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6),” He will be that much more real to you.
James 4:8 says, “Draw to God and He will draw near to you…” The more time, energy, and devotion you spend toward God in the Word, prayer, and casual conversation the more He will draw closer to you. This means He will reveal more of how close He ACTUALLY is. This may come through dreams, visions, discerning His presence, Him taking away loneliness, grief, depression, etc. Both of these acts require faith. When you first begin to confess, “God is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” you may feel nothing at first. But overtime “by faith” the reality of this truth will become more apparent in your life.
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit as a “Comforter.” Because God created your heart and mind He is the ONLY person who has the blueprint to them. He knows exactly when and how to comfort you and re-energize you, even when you allow yourself to get beat down, defeated, discouraged, or wrestle with loneliness.
- Discern Your God-Sent Relationships
We are admonished to be friendly and kind to everyone but not everyone can be our friend. There are specific people appointed by God for you to be in relationship (friendship) with. You cannot get to your destiny without them and they cannot get to theirs with you. There is a mutual dependence. God specifically chose Prince Jonathan for King David. They loved each other like brothers. God specifically chose twelve disciples to accompany Jesus. We see this throughout the Bible.
Many times people struggle with loneliness but neglect to trust that there are specific people God has already handpicked for their lives. When you pray, trust God will send these people into your life. Very often we miss them because they may not look, talk, or think like you. They may come from very different backgrounds and have different interests but there will be common ground that will serve for a higher purpose. People often only befriend those who are similar to themselves out of fear or ignorance but God works beyond our thinking.
In the book of Ruth, Ruth lost her husband and had a choice to start a new life or remain with her mother-in-law. Our minds would say, “Leave and start over, Ruth,” but she chose to “cleave” to Naomi, her mother-in-law (see Ruth 1:14). After losing a spouse or leaving a bad relationship a person is often vulnerable and sensitive. Ruth chose to stay in friendship with someone whom she had known and trusted through the years. Often there is security and comfort in familiarity. The story ends with Ruth marrying the right man at the right time, and he was a gentleman and very WEALTHY! So it worked out for her.
Many miss friendships because of defensive walls that are up due to past hurts, fear of being rejected or judged, or they simply don’t know how to be a friend themselves. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly…” This means there are some things you need to do on your end to make and maintain friendships, like not being jealous of others, not competing, showing humility, avoiding selfish actions, not being condescending, and not backbiting. Also, don’t wait on the other person to initiate friendship. You must “show yourself friendly.”
3.Connect and Stay Connected with the Body of Christ
Hebrews 10:25 commands us, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves…” Another version reads, “Don’t stop meeting together…”
What better place to make friends than a place with people who have the common ground of Jesus Christ as God and have the same belief systems (in theory anyway). That is the way God ordained His earthly Kingdom. Often God will use someone in the Body of Christ to comfort us or meet our needs for companionship, finances, inner or outer healing, etc. No one can grow into their full spiritual potential while being disconnected from the Body of Christ.
- A Gift From God
Being alone is not always negative. Often it is a gift of God. Only when we are alone can we discover our true identity. Moses discovered that he was to be deliverer of Israel from Egypt when he was ALONE on the backside of the desert and encountered the burning bush. Jesus spent 40 days ALONE in the wilderness when He began to walk in the power of the Spirit and do miracles.
John the Baptist was in the desert places, ALONE, until the day of his showing. Many others throughout history have discovered their potential, identity, strengths, weaknesses, life goals, and visions for the future while in their time of singleness or solitude. You can be alone but not be lonely. Enjoy your gift from God UNTIL.