Ep.1173: How Do I Cope With Overwhelming Loneliness?
Discovering five practical and scriptural ways to combat loneliness
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Theme Scripture: John 16:32
No one wants to be lonely. It is a sad and painful state of being that daily grows more and more common. There is a major difference between being alone and being lonely. To be alone is to be without anyone to engage with. This can be a productive place to be when in the right frame of mind. On the other hand, we can feel isolated in a crowded room or when we are with family and friends. We can be lonely at work, at play and even at church. Perhaps we are lonesome when with our spouse or when engaged in social media. Loneliness is not dictated by outward circumstances, rather it is driven by our interpretations of our experiences and our perceptions of our environment. To be lonely is to feel unimportant. It is to be convinced we do not belong and that we in some way, are unacceptable and even unwanted. Loneliness can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to combat it!
If we are stuck in a lonely corner of our lives, the last thing we want to do is to let others know. Such an action is far too risky, as it brings on the anxiety of a further sense of rejection. We don’t want to hear, “Pull yourself together!” or "Get out there and meet someone!” While these statements may be meant as encouragement, they feel like judgment and enhance our fear of failure. Loneliness, therefore, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Feeling lonely provokes actions of loneliness and expectations of continued isolation. How do we begin to break down this destructive pattern?
Approach #1: Prayer
We suggest five action steps for Christians. The first is prayer. Why? Prayer is a private experience. No one needs to know about it which relieves us from the ever-present sense of judgment we feel. Think about this – God ALREADY knows we are desperately lonely. He ALREADY knows how we arrived at such a state of mind. The purpose of approaching God through Jesus about our isolation is not to inform God of what is happening but to say it. The purpose is to humbly admit to our heavenly Father the extent of our misery and to place our experience into His eternally-capable hands. We begin to seek His will in coping with it.
While taking such a first step requires the courage to be honest and humble before God, its benefits can be dramatic. Understanding ourselves through the lens of God’s mercy and love can help us develop the fortitude for the next steps. Check out our April 12, 2021 podcast, “How Do I Cope With Overwhelming Loneliness?” for more. We round out the approach to and benefits of prayer. The next four steps are introduced, seeing how steps two and three are basically private and therefore less daunting. Don’t miss this opportunity for profound and practical insight. Loneliness does not have to rule our daily life if we learn how to cope with it!