7 Ways to Use Your Loneliness
Despite all of our connections and communication devices, AARP reports that 1/3 of adults are chronically lonely. Ever since the garden of Eden, God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone; but we face friendships, families, and lives torn apart by sin. In order to be together, we need to learn to be alone with God. St. Augustine once wrote, “You made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until we find rest in Thee.” How do we find rest when we’re lonely?
Ronald Rohlheiser suggests several ways to use our loneliness.
- Recognize your loneliness. The first step is to admit and name when you’re isolated. Loneliness is not always caused by sinfulness; it’s just a reminder of the human condition we are in.
- Draw closer to Christ. God would not allow Adam and Eve to be alone in their sin even when they were hiding from God. He comes to us in the gardens of life and desires relationship—even when we’re by ourselves.
- Empathize with others in similar circumstances. Loneliness causes us to connect to people frequently isolated– senior adults in assisted living centers to mothers who are home alone with children.
- Reach out in community. We can’t always be with others, but we can touch those who are detached from others. Send a note, share a meal, make a phone call.
- Deny yourself. Resist the temptations of virtual friendships and fantasy relationships. Loneliness often sends us down a pathway of destructive behavior. Instead use the loneliness as a spiritual discipline to “take up your cross daily and follow him.”
- Create something new. The best love songs are written from a place of loneliness and heartache. Compose a song, write a poem, journal a story, paint a picture. Use your loneliness to help you create something new for our world. What you make could likely console someone else in their struggles.
- Trust in a better day. As we draw closer to Christ, we recognize one day that we will be fully united with him. Until that day, our isolation is another groan that the Spirit hears from our lives.