Hi. It’s been awhile. While I would love to greet you with a lovely and uplifting post after such a long hiatus, I can’t. This is a difficult season – a lonely season. The great news -it’s also a season of growth and major breakthrough.
It’s taken me 5 years to come to a place of acceptance of this life and singleness in general. I have said it a thousand times, and I don’t plan to stop beating this drum now – grief is a strange unpredictable thing. You cannot control it. Ron L. Deal, author of Dating and the Single Parent stresses the importance of feeling the full weight of grief in order to work through it towards acceptance and healing. He says, “To truly move out of your pain, you must first sit in it.”
Here I am, grieving again over another loss. My biggest foe? Loneliness. And all the single people said, “Amen.” Especially -no, specifically those of us who for one reason or another are not in a healthy place to date. “This loneliness just sucks,” I said to my best friend today. “Yeah, it does,” she sighed into the phone. Stink as it may, it’s an animal we must learn to harness, or it will control us. Let’s just get real. while there is nothing inherently wrong with sitting home alone on a Saturday night while all of Facebookland lives it up, the lonely feelings that flood in can feel paralyzing.
I don’t know anyone who wants to admit that they’ve cried themselves to sleep because the bed is cold and you’d give anything to have a warm person next to you or skipping a meal because cooking for one is too much trouble and you’re either too broke to eat out or can’t stomach the idea of eating alone – again. Yes, the ache of it physically hurts sometimes. It bites. There is no two ways around it. That’s just the thing, there’s no two ways around it. I think Elizabeth Gilbert says it best in Eat Pray Love “When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
I have been regretfully guilty in the past of using people as a way out of my pain, or as Ron Deal calls it “a ladder”. The tables have turned, and I became that ladder, and I was a poor one. Shaky, fragile and prone to bending under the pressure of keeping it together. I have never been super good at that. To say it hurt is a grand understatement. Still, a blessing because it caused me to open my eyes to my propensity for trying to scramble my way out of the pit of pain rather than feeling the junk and then climbing out on my own when I was healthy enough to do so. Lonely friends, just don’t. Don’t go looking for a distraction in the form of another human being. We’re not just bodies, we’re souls and hearts.
So here I sit in this pit. I am not happy about it, but I am also not really alone. Never have been.
“14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
It comforts me to know that I can cry out in the pit of my pain to Jesus, who gets it. We’re not lifting up prayers for help to a God who has no idea what we’re talking about. Jesus’ followers abandoned Him, betrayed and denied Him. Yeah, He gets it. He felt the pain of the Father turning His back on His son as Christ took our sin on Himself. Utterly alone. He was alone in ways that I don’t think my experience will ever touch, and He did that for you, and me and all of us sad, broken, messed up and barely limping along. SO feel the loneliness, turn to the one who can handle it, and don’t sin. Striving in vain to run from your pain or medicate with whatever it is that you think makes you feel better only leads to more emptiness.
“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14
What’s your experience with loneliness? What were the blessing that came from learning to turn it over to God rather than allowing it to control you? Is loneliness something you’re struggling with now?