Whether moving abroad for school or work, recovering from a recent breakup, enduring misunderstandings with our family, or for seemingly no identifiable reason at all—we have all felt the familiar, sticky grasp of loneliness.
It can drag on over days and weeks, and easily lead to discouragement and dejection. During this time, the lies we’re tempted to believe about our loneliness can be especially crippling, oftentimes preventing us from reaching out and forming the connections we so deeply desire.
Here are some lies we can watch out for:
Lie #1: It’s not worth reaching out to others.
The friend that never responded to our text or phone call. The coffee meeting that was rescheduled, and then rescheduled again. Did we do something to upset them? Should we stop reaching out to them altogether? More than likely, our friends’ seeming lack of attention is no fault of our own.
We can try being more direct, and share honestly about why we want to connect with them. We can also pray for God to lead us to reach out to someone new—even if we might not know him or her that well.
God knew we’d all have times when we need others to help us bear a burden (Galatians 6:2). We can be unashamed in reaching out to others, because by doing so, we’re living out God’s design for community.
Lie #2: You’re too different to fit in.
It can feel isolating if everyone at church seems to be in a different place. If we’re stuck somewhere between a tight-knit college group, and the “married club,” with concerns and interests seemingly shared with none.
Though this can certainly feel discouraging, as Paul reminds us, the body of Christ needs to have diversity (1 Corinthians 12:17), and various life-stages can be a form of that. Do we have some time to get to know the older widow at church? Or freedom to spontaneously grab lunch with the brainy aspiring scientist student?
Even as we invest in people at church, we can also seek out new friends and support networks with people in a similar stage of life, or maybe volunteer with a non-profit that is doing work we are passionate about.
Lie #3: No one can relate to your struggles.
Other times, the challenges we’re experiencing can make us feel alone. Maybe we’re fighting temptations other Christians seem to have under control, a recent breakup has left us reeling in a world of happy couples, or we’re struggling to manage an impossible workload while our coworkers don’t seem to bat an eye.
Though others may not have had identical trials, they can likely sympathize on some level with what we are going through. God can use these people to encourage us and walk with us, even as we navigate the painful new landscape of our personal challenges.
Paul also reminds us that as we receive comfort from God in our difficulties, “we can comfort those in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:4). Our current difficulties will equip us to one day offer the comfort we so desire to others who walk the same path.
Lie #4: Even God has abandoned you.
In the most difficult moments of loneliness, it might feel like even God does not hear our cries. Or that if He does, He’s not answering.
But nothing is further from the truth. We know that Christ our Savior was “a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3). We can take comfort in the fact that He knows well what loneliness feels like. He knows our trials and struggles in ways others cannot.
We also remind ourselves that there is absolutely nothing that can actually separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Though the loneliness we experience may feel overwhelming at times, He’s walking with us through this. How can we take note of His comforting, providing presence even in the small things?
Let’s acknowledge that loneliness is difficult. We can grieve its pain without falling prey to lies it tries to tell us about ourselves, those around us, and God. Even though we might be living with gray skies, let’s fight to remember what’s true!