God loves us. Big love. He has promised to never leave us. He has sown His love throughout the earth so that we can find community and experience a Kingdom built on His goodness. We should be drowning in love every day. We should feel the weight of this story, connected to every believer around us and each one who has come before and will come after.
But, we often feel alone.
Lonely has nothing for us — only what we allow it to give us. Here are five things I’ve found to be sources of loneliness, both personally and based on God’s word.
1. You fill up every moment of your day with some form of entertainment, the things this world tries to sell you. [The world is passing away, along with all it seems to offer.] Real relationship can’t happen when you’re constantly distracted.
Soapbox side note: Texting or tweeting to friends who are not in the room while you are actually with a friend, live, in-person, is incredibly damaging. It tells the friend you are with that they are less important than the 140 character conversation you’re having with someone else.
2. You’re waiting for others to reach out to you, instead of reaching out to them. [A friend must show himself friendly.] This keeps us feeling continually hurt and neglected, and keeps our focus on ourselves.
3. You ‘check the box’ of time with God without lingering to hear Him speak and enjoy His presence. [Be still and know.] He really can satisfy your deepest needs to be known, to be heard and to be loved. Have you ever felt love from someone you spend no time with? Not possible.
4. You’re hiding your true self–your hopes, your dreams–from the people who would want to know you. [He made you, wonderfully and marvelously.] You have to be ok with who you are for anyone else to be. If you struggle with your own self-worth, study Scripture and ask God to show you how He sees you. He has placed incredible value in your every cell!
5. You judge others or harbor unforgiveness. [Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. Make allowances for each other’s faults.] Judging others builds walls. We often start by judging people at a distance (celebrities, acquaintances, people we think we will never meet, etc.), but judgment is a cancer that will creep into your family relationships, friendships and romantic relationships.
These are five roots of loneliness I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives others. Can you think of more?
Photo by AbbyD11 | Flickr