In this season, I have found myself struggling deeply with loneliness, or more accurately singleness, a battle I thought I had overcome long ago. So to find myself here, yet again, has been quite frustrating.
Even more frustrating is that I am in a space mentally and spiritually where I can easily and adequately identify the logical error here. I know I have God with me and the Holy Spirit residing within me at all times. I know my singleness is not a statement about my lack of value or worth. I know this period of singleness is seasonal and not permanent. I know this time of singleness is about preparation and intimacy with God. I know I have so many people in my life who love me and care about me. Yet, my heart still feels heavy. I still find myself feeling sadness and sorrow. I still find myself yearning for the emotional support and comfort of a significant other.
The trigger of this recent surge of loneliness in my life is dual-sided.
Side A– My Current Health Situation. This last quarter of 2018 has been plagued with a health battle I wasn’t expecting to face. With all the appointments, tests, procedures, and the mental/emotional drain of it all, I miss the days of ending my days with another person. The simple act of having someone to text, call, Facetime, or come home to- it’s the feeling that I am unable to be 100% vulnerable with my thoughts, feelings, and fears surrounding this particular situation. Emphasis on “it’s the feeling” because the reality is that I do have people in my life I can be 100% vulnerable with. Yet, there is a level of selfishness I have that wants to reserve that only for an intimate partner, and thus the lack of an intimate partner in this situation makes me feel very much alone.
Side B– A Challenge From God. In my private time with God, He made it very clear that I needed to be very clear about every relationship in my life. It was about clearly defining each relationship and then aligning expectations and energy invested accordingly. As beneficial as the process has been, the realization that certain people were not able, ready, or willing to play a certain role in my life that I had been hoping or expecting they would was somewhat disappointing. Where I once thought I was that much closer to where I ultimately wanted to be, I then realized or felt I was actually no closer to gaining that particular desire of my heart. It was a reality check I needed, but in some cases, it perhaps wasn’t something I was ready for.
Self-Worth. As much as I logically know that my singleness is not a statement about my value and worth, my singleness in this season still tugs at the root of self-worth, or lack thereof, deep in my heart. This isn’t the post to explain how that root got planted, but it’s there and it’s something God continues to work at completely uprooting.
At times like these, being single makes me question what I’m lacking that would keep me from having the type of relationship I desire. At times like these, being single makes me feel like I’m missing out on a deeper level of love or joy or togetherness because I don’t have an intimate partner to share life with. At times like these, I start to go down that path of thinking that I am not worthy of what I desire or that I must perform/behave a certain way in order to get what I want. It’s a lie from Satan, this I know, but it doesn’t stop the enemy from throwing those darts my way.
I wish I could say there was a one step, one size fits all solution- I can’t. What I can say is that I identified some ways to help me overcome my loneliness in this season.
Social Media Fast– Social media this time of year is full of so much beauty and so much love. I truly enjoy seeing everyone celebrating with people they love doing the things they love. But let’s also face it, social media can easily breed discontentment and comparison. What started off as me enjoying and appreciating the love between boyfriends & girlfriends, newly engaged couples, couples announcing pregnancies, and couples basking together in the joy of their children opening gifts slowly turned into me wondering when I get to have my “happily ever after.” My own child’s recurring questions about when I’ll get married and give him a brother was no help. Sooooo, for the time being, I have to cut down on my social media time. That means those limits the iOS update allows you to place on social media usage are going to be turned on. I’m allowing myself 1.5 hours per day max until further notice.
Gratitude Journal– Grateful is not an emotion, it is a way of being. One of the best ways to combat feeling like you’re lacking is to focus on all you have in front of you. Fact: I have a lot of people in my life who love me unconditionally (family, friends, Wonder Women, church leaders, mentors, etc.). Fact: I am blessed with so many good things in my life. Fact: God has been unbelievably faithful and gracious. If I can spend more time focused on what I do have, then what I don’t have won’t be the focal point.
Relationship with God– A revelation God gave me is that loneliness is not about the absence of people. Rather, loneliness is about a lack of closeness with God. In God, we can find all the love, support, and encouragement we need because He is our source. To rely on a human being to fill that emotional void is to make a human being a God in our lives. It dishonors God and it is unfair to that person because they will never be capable of filling the empty space in your heart that God designed for Himself to reside. So, I have resolved to dig deeper into my Word and go harder in my prayer life. I need to get back to a place where my Heavenly Father can pour into me. I know that once I am whole in Him, this outlook and attitude I have will soon change.
Feeling lonely is nothing to be ashamed about. Everyone feels lonely occasionally, even the most spiritual among us. It is 100% possible for you to have loving people in your life and still feel lonely. You are not inherently ungrateful or depressed because loneliness creeps in on occasion. Your Heavenly Father understands that feeling lonely is a function of your humanity and He isn’t going to punish you for it. So do not condemn yourself for having human emotions, however, do not use your humanity as an excuse to remain stuck there. God can and will move in our lives, but we must also do what the Holy Spirit has equipped us to do to fight back against the enemy when he tries to cripple us with lies and emotional bondage.
So keep things in the proper perspective. We serve a God who will NEVER forsake us and who is ALWAYS with us, for His Spirit resides WITHIN us. And while this season of weeping may endure for a night, the Bible promises that joy will come in the morning (Ps. 30:5).