Wednesday, September 27, 2017

No One Is Alone In Feeling Lonely

I looked at the time on my iPhone.

8:36 am.

How is that possible? I had read my Bible and inspirational books, caught up on current events, went for an hour walk along the beach while listening to a podcast, eaten breakfast, and checked my emails. It’s going to be another long day. I realized.

I was in a beautiful place, a quaint beach town in California, yet I was alone and miserable.

My husband, Zane, and I had planned to be in northern California for a few weeks before moving into a little cottage we rent in Boulder, CO. As empty nesters, we had purposefully downsized and simplified and we were enjoying our newfound freedoms. We still do have responsibilities and unfortunately, my husband was held up with a project he was involved in. He couldn’t come at the time we had planned. I decided to go anyway, thinking I would enjoy a little alone time. I needed to do some final edits on a book, catch up on other writing assignments, read a novel I’d been wanting to finish, play around with some photography and maybe watch a good girlie movie. I enjoyed the first day of the time to myself, but as one day dragged into four I was getting depressed.

It was so quiet in the little apartment we rented I could hear myself chew.

In this beautiful spot on earth, I was vividly reminded that loneliness is a miserable feeling. 

I found myself going to a coffee shop just to be around the buzz of people and reading my novel. I spent more time than usual scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, thinking this would be a good way to feel connected to my friends and family but – surprise – it didn’t. I walked around by myself and didn’t see one familiar face. I didn’t know a single person and no one here knew me. When I went out to dinner I chatted with my waitress like she was a best friend. I was desperate to have another human being acknowledge me, talk to me, hear me and see me.

Recently, Flatirons Church pastor Jim Burgen spoke about Jesus being familiar with all of our struggles, because, although he was God, he was wrapped in a human body. I don’t fully understand this mystery, but I believe he did feel lonely. Maybe he got a little lonely that time he spent 40 days alone in the desert?

I didn’t intentionally choose silence and solitude I just happened to find myself standing in it. Many women I know have found their self in a similar place, whether divorced, empty nester, out of a job, a move, or for some other reason. I think most of us feel lonely more often than any of us would admit, because who wants to admit we’re lonely people?

As I thought about it, I saw a consistent thread of lonely stints weaving its way through my life. I felt alone as a young mom at home with three little ones. I worked remotely rather than in an office. I dealt with specific circumstances I was convinced no one else could understand, and so many more times. How about you? When have you felt lonely?

For those of us who are lonely (or at least admit we are), don’t we try to fill that need with all sorts of stuff? Maybe we go shopping, eat too much, drink too much, sleep too much, watch Netflix, or reach out to another human who we know is not good for us. Well, Jesus shows us a better way.

I do find comfort in knowing Jesus understands what it’s like to feel lonely. 

After his alone desert time, Jesus faced off with Satan who tempted him in all sorts of ways. The first thing Jesus did was quote Bible verses out loud to combat Satan’s temptations. We can do that too.

Read and speak truth from the Bible:

1. About who God says we are such as:

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” - 1 John 3:1a

 2. His promises to always be with us – no matter what – like this verse:

 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10

And, after reminding yourself what God says to you and about you, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, she might be (or probably is) feeling just like you…

Jeannie Blackmer is married to Zane and mother of three sons. She’s authored three books, including MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering, contributed content to more than 20 books, and written articles for a variety of magazines. She loves her family, salt, chocolate, scuba diving and being outside as much as possible. She's managing the blog for the Flatirons Women's Ministry and is looking for writers! And she has a new book coming this fall!

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