Friday was a rough day because of the isolation. I kept from losing my mind by writing. Eventually I sent someone a text to share.
Then I found a great article about loneliness (and a sermon series linked at the bottom – score). There were questions God asked this guy while he was battling this problem. I thought the question “If I never fixed your problem, would you still worship me?” was just great but none of those were the questions God asks me (at least that I recall). I get asked “Do you trust me?” It is not the question I want to answer because truthfully my answer would not be “yes”.
It is interesting to me that when you struggle with loneliness people will do or say specific things. Some people will question your Christianity – “You have all this Jesus and Bible stuff going for you, you shouldn’t feel like that.” Others will console you with their love – “I want you to know that I love you, many people love you.” And others still will reassure you in another way – “The right person is out there for you. Just wait on God.” And better still – “I’m here for you.” What I need is an entire set of pithy statements people give the lonely.
Sometimes you begin to believe parts of these things. Maybe I’m not a Christian, I mean it is obvious that Christians do not experience the same pain in this fallen world as everyone else. Christians, especially the ones that read their Bible and have Jesus, just skip around like Cinderella in a fairy tale. Only good things happen to those people. Only good feelings. Because they have the power of positive feelings coming from God. Just pick up the prosperity gospel and see how false those teachings are. You know what? Christians, even the ones that read their Bible and have Jesus (is there another kind?), experience the same pain in this fallen world.
Of course people love me but only because they want to use me. “How are you?” is a question that requires more of your time than you really want to spend so just be a good person and acknowledge my existence and nothing else. Do not speak to me unless you really want to listen. Do not call me unless you want to hear my words. Do not claim to be my friend because during that 10 minute phone call I said fewer than 150 words (yes we counted them). When I tried to tell you I had a rough day, you didn’t even stop talking long enough to acknowledge that you heard me.
And possibly worst of all – you need another person to complete you. Yes, you need a spouse. I wish you would try to find one. Get on a dating website. Go out. There are many single women around you. You want to know something? I am not ever going to be complete with a spouse. And if you believe that you are complete because of your spouse, then here is some truth you need to hear – you are not. We are complete in Christ. Our identity is in Him. My identity is in Him and your comments are not helping so keep them to yourself.
Do you really think you are here for me? If you have diluted yourself into believing that, then you really have no idea. Well, you will tell me that the onus is on me. All I have to do is let you know. Thanks. Because when I feel like this, the first thing I want to do it contact you so that I will hear about all the ways you will fix me. And interestingly enough, you are not here now and never have been. You are nowhere to be found in this sea of remorse.
I keep waiting for the next set of comments. “You should read your Bible more.” and “Are you praying enough?” Some days I don’t read any book but the Bible. While other days I get the bare minimum in. Some days I pray all day long. You know what I pray? “Just get me through this day Lord because I can’t do it.” I should probably add “Don’t let anyone give me advice when they know nothing of my pain.” Other days I can barely bring myself to talk to my Lord in more than a cursory manner.
What other wonderful advice and comments do you want to give to the lonely?
Life is not defined by the acceptance of others. My life is defined because I am in Christ. He is my identity. And I do not know how to understand that. All the thoughts are taken to the extreme where rejection means there is nothing left. It is used against me and my mind is willing to run the pattern. It seems better to hide and never allow the pattern to exist but denying it will not make it go away. It will return and you will not have become stronger. God will use everything to bring glory to Himself – even when you do not understand.
Sometimes I think if I had my sadness I might be better. The comfort of that sadness is something you may never know but it is what I remember. That comfort is no more. Only the comfort of Christ remains. If the comfort of Christ is there, then how do I miss it? Why do other things seems to overpower it? I know Christ is stronger than the world. He conquered the world (John 16:33). If I know this then I need God to help me live like it.
Do I allow myself to be consumed? You take to much. Empathize too easily. This may be true but you know what? God made me. God is in control. There is nothing outside His control. God knows what is best. What I take on, He gave me for a reason. The things I empathize with, He gave me so I could feel and know I am alive. My isolation is obviously given to me for a reason. Maybe so that I will remember that I am never really alone.
It drives me to Him. Loneliness drives me to Him.
What is the heart of this problem? Easy enough – the heart of this problem is sin. Sin that separates me from God. Sin that pushes people away. Sin that corrupts my heart, spirit, and mind. Sin I cannot escape from. Will you tell me that we have been redeemed so there is no sin to keep me away from God? Will you tell me that He took the sin upon Himself to free me from this pain? Will you tell me that I am a child of God?
All these things and still I struggle with the pain. Still struggle with my separation from God because of my sin. Loneliness…