What exactly is loneliness?
Here are helpful thoughts and 3 Action Plans to help you navigate this common human experience.
(This post is an excerpt from my book, Reach Back.)
“Loneliness is a common struggle to all people, married or not. It is an experience that cuts into every heart. There are many reasons for loneliness we will not take time to discuss now. Loneliness is a yearning for deeper, richer relationship, and quite frankly, it is the human spirit crying out for more of God at its root!
One of the greatest struggles a Christian experiences is loneliness. Most people seem to believe that if they are lonely, they do not have peace. It is possible to experience loneliness and still be in a place of peace.
If you are practicing concepts from studies we have already worked through about going to Jesus to have all your needs met, you will address the roots of loneliness. However, loneliness is a fact of life. It comes to all people. If you are in the midst of loneliness, there are some things you can do to take ownership of your loneliness and manage it. These intentional choices increase your level of peaceful enjoyment of the circumstances you find yourself in.
Action Plan 1 – Time ALONE With Yourself
“It is what I do in my solitude that makes me fit for company.”
C. S. Lewis.
Getting away by yourself seems anti-productive when addressing loneliness. Yet, it can actually help manage loneliness. If your time alone is dedicated to being renewed in the Lord, you can then re-enter your daily life with a heart that’s been re-booted.
To the list below, add things you can do to be renewed alone with God:
- Journaling that integrates the truth of the Word with your feelings.
- Reading a good book.
- Enjoying activities that are special to you.
- Praying with an intentionality that reaches back to God.
- Watching a good movie.
- Taking time to write goals and objectives.
- Making a list of creative things you can do, going forward, to add to a life of worshipful living.
- (Add some of your own)
Those are activities that help you renew and refocus. Enjoy God. He is a fountain of life. (I want to add a note here that is not in my book: sometimes loneliness is because you are disconnected with yourself. That is why it is important to schedule time to reconnect with the person God created you to be. You do that best by reconnecting with God. Loneliness is often stronger when you are very tired or your personal resources are depleted. So – schedule time to renew.)
Action Plan 2 – Time TOGETHER With a Trusted Friend
Just as spending time alone can help address loneliness, so can scheduling time with someone you really trust. A kindred spirit. If you don’t have someone like that, ask God for that kind of friend in Christ.
Outings with a good friend need a little more planning, since you are calendaring several schedules. Start the ball rolling by putting options on the calendar. Follow through with a game plan. Then put into place the pieces that will make your time away happen.
In order to be purposeful about your time with your friend, agree on a loose agenda of activities. Plan things you both enjoy. Relax together. Have a nice dinner out. In all your activities and conversations, work together to focus on your loving Lord and His work in your lives. Focus on laughing. Cry together, if needed. Share Scriptures together. You’ll be amazed at what the Holy Spirit does through this kind of fellowship!
Action Plan 3 – DAILY Action Plan
(I’m adding another note that is not in my book: You need a daily action plan to address loneliness, especially if it plagues you often. It is part of your “treatment plan.”)
Fast-paced lives make it difficult to get away. On the practical level, you need to have a plan to address loneliness in your daily reality. (Set some goals!) Here are some ideas to help focus and be refreshed on a daily basis.
- Live “in the moment.” Milk it of every enjoyable thing you can find.
- Praying in the moment. Pray for yourself, for others, for issues.
- Make positive memories, even while in sorrow, in the moment. This actually forms habits in your mind that show up over the long haul.
- Keep perspective in the moment. Hold yourself to the Word.
- Intentionally reach back to God in the moment. Expect God to connect with you. Hold to this by faith.
- Praise God in every moment. If you are in a time of sorrow, weave your praising into your grief with passion of heart. The incense of such an act of faith will rise to God with highest honor.
- Share the moment with a trusted friend.
- Journal about your lonely moments and weave truth from Scripture into your written thoughts.”
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