|AKA: Bye Bye Loneliness|
Loneliness! It belongs to us all. It is not the exclusive domain of the person who lives alone, or who is confined to a nursing home and is rarely visited, or even the traveling salesman who spends so much time on the road alone. Yes, loneliness is common to each of us.
Most of us, at some point in our life, could say I know all about loneliness because it lives inside of me. Loneliness is no respecter of persons. Sooner or later it knocks on everyone's door and we have to deal with it. It is now known that loneliness is a major contributor to mental and physical sickness in our society. The statistics are awesome. Loneliness cuts across all ages. It is a very depressive condition and, if it is serious enough, people suffering from it have taken their lives.
|What is Loneliness?|
It has been defined as the painful awareness that we lack meaningful contact with others. I describe it as that feeling that no one really cares about you as a person. If you suddenly disappeared, there would be no search party because no one would care enough to put one together.
We shouldn't think of solitude and loneliness as being the same thing because they are not. Solitude is by choice. It is when you purposely withdraw yourself from others for a time of personal introspection and renewal. It's a time when you want to be alone. Loneliness, however, is the painful experience of wanting to be with others but being unable to.
|What does it feel like to be lonely?|
The word that best describes the experience for me is empty. When I feel lonely, it makes me feel as if there is a big hole right in the middle of my chest. Sometimes it feels like a dull aching pain for which no doctor's prescription can alleviate. At these times, even the things I enjoy the most seems pointless; because, when I reach out to share them with others, there is no one there to respond.
Our loneliness does not come because of the absence of people around us, because sometimes a crowd is the loneliest of places. Loneliness is not dependant upon the number of people with whom you may be in the same room or same place with, but rather on your relationship to those people. You can be utterly desolate and lonely in a crowd or delivered completely from all loneliness with one person.
Some people are driven by loneliness to do things they would not otherwise do...to drink compulsively, to eat compulsively, or to work compulsively. Some people do nothing. They have simply learned to accept loneliness as a way of life.
But here is hope. While loneliness is painful and a very prevalent ailment, it is not incurable. God can enable us to turn any frustration into a fulfilling experience. We need to know that the frustration of loneliness is no exception.
|Why are people Lonely?|
There are many reasons why a person may be lonely; not all lonely people are lonely for the same reason. I suggest to you that the major underlying cause of loneliness is the frustration of our basic needs. As people, we have three basic needs:
If any of these needs are unsatisfied, I believe, that a person will experience feelings of loneliness.
|How do we cure our loneliness?|
Some people learn to enjoy their self-pity and pain and are unwilling to do anything to change their situation. But, if we are seriously interested in doing something about our loneliness, there are steps we can take to meet those needs so important to our welfare.
Step one: relates to our human need to love and be loved. Most people who feel lonely fall into the trap of waiting for someone to build a bridge to them. They erect walls around themselves and expect others to either scale it to get to them or break it down. Don't wait for someone to call or write or visit you. Don't wait for someone to give to you. Give first! Reach out first! Take the initiative...be a friend.
Step two: relates to our need for a sense of worth and meaning. Even though a person may feel worthless, they are not worthless. God considers them precious, so much so; He was willing to die for us. We have worth simply because God created us and because we belong to Him. Shake off the garment of the feelings of worthlessness to yourself and to others.
Step three: requires us to be committed to a relationship with God. In those times when no one else is around to support or encourage you, God will always be there for you. Hebrews 13:5:
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
A meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ is always the first and most important step for curing our loneliness. He can really scratch our loneliness itch effectively because only God can fully understand how we feel.
Take charge of your life before loneliness and its tag-along buddy, depression, overtake you. Quit treating loneliness like its incurable and you can't overcome it. It's not incurable and you can overcome it.
I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.
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