Loneliness often manifests itself as an inner ache, a vacuum, or a craving for affection. People who are lonely often struggle with feelings of emptiness, uselessness or purposelessness.
As I travel the world, I see an increasing number of people requesting help and guidance on handling loneliness in their lives.
In the Bible, God tells us we are not alone—He wants to deliver, comfort and heal us. But when people encounter painful losses in their lives, sadly, many never get over them.
I think we’ve all been there. Sometimes when sudden tragedy occurs, the hurt can seem unbearable. And without help, a sense of loneliness can actually settle on a person or a family like a cloud, and it doesn’t seem to go away.
There are many causes of loneliness, but one thing’s for sure: We don’t have to live with it. We can actually confront it and deal with it.
Alone doesn’t mean “lonely.”
Let me ask you…
Are you alone (independent, solitary, on your own)?
Or, are you lonely (desolate, deserted, dejected due to a lack of companionship)?
There is a very real difference! Just because you are alone, it doesn’t mean you must be lonely or lonesome. And while it may not always be possible to avoid being alone, there are always answers to loneliness.
Many times, loneliness results from a trauma or crisis due to the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a separation…
When something happens that makes us realize things are never going to be the way they once were, it often creates crisis or trauma in our lives, which can lead to a sense of loneliness and despair.
Like a healing wound, the pain may be felt for a long time, but complete recovery requires daily improvement.
When a physical wound refuses to heal, it indicates there’s an infection that must be dealt with. I believe the same is true of emotional wounds: the emotional part of us should heal just like the physical part of us.
God gave us emotions just as He gave us physical bodies. He has provided for our emotional restoration in Him just as He has provided for it physically. While it is true that you may always miss the person or the thing that was lost, it doesn’t mean you must suffer permanent loneliness.
Two things you must do…
If you are dealing with loneliness, I believe there are two very important things you must do:
1. Know that God is with you all the time.
In the Bible, God reminds us that He is always with us and He’ll never forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).
Loneliness often leads us to ask ourselves all sorts of questions that can’t be answered, such as:
What if I am alone for the rest of my life? What if this pain I am feeling never goes away? What if a problem arises that I don’t know how to handle on my own? What if…what if…what if…?
The questions could go on and on endlessly. Chances are, you’ll never be able to answer the “what ifs” in life. But as long as you know that the Lord is with you, you can be assured that He has all the answers you need.
2. Press aggressively into a new life.
When something traumatic happens, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and feel like everything in life has gone wrong. However, it’s vital to remember that not everything in your life is over—just one part of it has ended.
One season has passed and another can now begin—if you are willing to take action.
Don’t just passively sit and wait for something to happen or someone to come along. Go make new friends. Find someone else who is lonely and be a friend to that person. You will reap what you sow, and God will return that friendship many times over.
When “life happens” and things don’t go as planned, it can leave us feeling lonely and even hopeless about our future. If we’re not careful, we can fall into self-pity and begin to get content watching life pass us by.
But that’s not God’s plan. He has a bright future in store for you, and He wants you to actively take a hold of it, knowing He is with you every single step of the way.
Joyce Meyer Ministries, joycemeyer.org