Today I read that, “Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, if you feel alone and isolated, then that is how loneliness plays into your state of mind.”
What do you think?
Loneliness causes people to feel empty, rejected and alone. It causes people to crave human contact. Which is a recipe for danger! Because the state of mind of a lonely person makes it more difficult to form connections with other people and so begins a cycle of negative emotions and actions.
A recent Psychology Weekly (2020) report stated that one in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely at least once per week. In other words, half of our population feel that they lack companionship at least sometimes. This makes me feel sad and concerned.
I have been one of these statistics. Five years ago, I felt alone. It was a harrowing time- I had people around me, but I felt no real connection. I functioned well at work, I attended church and related functions, I visited my family, I socialised with friends. But there was a persistence of emptiness, a lack of fulfilment.
I prayed about it. I felt guilty about it. I also felt the Lord’s presence and His desire for me to not feel this way.
Just the other day I came across a quote that caused me to reflect and now write about this time. “The presence of absence is not the same as the absence of presence” (David Strain, 2018). It was written to explain why in the book of Esther, in the Bible, God is not mentioned. Not mentioned but known.
It is my belief that this was my experience five years ago. Whilst I could not see God, I did feel His presence and it is the same today. Unlike the people who were around, I saw them but did not feel their presence. I was disconnected.
This is not a blame game. Rather, it is an offered solution. Christ died for my sin and rose again, He is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father. He told His disciples that He would send a comforter to be here on earth in His place with all of those who believe in Him, the Holy Spirit. This is my life I am a child of our Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Daily, I remain in their presence.
How might you ask?
By reading the Bible. I remember a time when I understood very little of the Bible but today I understand quite a lot and look forward to learning more.
This is why Jesus left us with the comforter, the Holy Spirit. So that we would grow in understanding and faith. So that when we feel alone, disconnected, even rejected we have His words to turn to and His words to be comforted by and to be strengthened.
It is not easy, but it is well worth the effort and perseverance. Yes, I do still get the odd pang of loneliness, but it is short lived. Why? Because I have created the habit of carrying the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6).
I am frequently amazed by how many Biblical verses are found in our hymns and songs of praise. So, when I put on the Full Armour of God, I not only read it, but I sing it.
There are numerous benefits to this but one of the most important is that I feel connected. And this connectedness flows into my human relationships. I look to God for my sense of fulfilment first and foremost.
- Janelle Fox