Hope Reflected | The Cure for Loneliness | 3 things to do when you feel alone
At some point in life, each of us feels alone. Perhaps it’s physically, emotionally, or even spiritually. You may feel like there’s no one out there who gets what you’re going through, as though there’s no one out there who understands what you’re thinking or feeling, or as though you’re the only one who’s been there before.
As a child, in gym class – my least favourite class, btw – when we’d be playing dodge ball, or another “team building” game, group captains were assigned to create teams. Each captain got to choose who would be part of his or her team. And there was always someone who was the last to be selected. There were similar situations in class, when students were asked to form groups. There was always someone who didn’t get chosen to be part of a group.
Perhaps you feel like no one wants you to be on their team, or no one wants you to be part of their group. Maybe you’re single and you feel like you’re never going to meet “the one”. Maybe you’re an empty nester whose children are off at college or university. Maybe you’re a senior who feels isolated and misses family or like you’re constantly saying goodbye to people who are passing away into eternity. Maybe you’re someone who has plenty of friends yet still struggles with feelings of loneliness.
You don’t have to be alone to feel the force of loneliness. If you’re feeling isolated, or as though no cares or understands where you’re at or what you’re going through, take heart! There is a cure for loneliness, and steps you can take to overcome your feelings of loneliness.
- Admit that you’re lonely. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 The first step to overcoming loneliness is admitting that you’re lonely. Tell the Lord how you feel; there’s no one who will understand more deeply. Jesus Himself experienced the anguish of loneliness. We read about the most public display of His loneliness and agony when He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) But if we’re being real, Jesus’s loneliness on earth started long before He went to the cross for us. He spent His whole earthly life as an outsider – the only sinless man living in an entirely sinful world – Who came to redeem our sins and eradicate any feelings of loneliness and heartache we could ever experience.
- Enjoy the presence of God. “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 If you’re feeling lonely, take a cue from David, who, arguably, experienced more loneliness and heartache throughout his life than any of us ever will. Wherever he was at, David claimed God’s promises and declared that being in the presence of God was the fullness of joy. When feelings of loneliness flood your heart and mind, get into God’s Word; train your thoughts on Him; talk to Him. Learn to enjoy the presence of God. We are promised in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” When you feel alone, remember that there is One who truly cares for you.
- Reach out. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 A long time ago I heard the advice that in times of loneliness or anxiety, we should “Stop looking in, and start looking out and up.” Those are wise words. When you’re feeling lonely, reach out! It could be as easy as picking up the phone and calling someone you love, or getting involved with a local Church group or Bible study. Also, if you’re not feeling lonely, why not reach out to someone who is or who could use a friend? Visit the elderly or send a handwritten note of encouragement.
At some point in life, each one of us experiences the feelings of loneliness. C.S. Lewis once said, “Look for yourself and you will find loneliness and despair. But look for Christ and you will find Him and everything else.” Just remember, you are never truly alone; Jesus Christ longs to have a relationship with you, if you’ll put your trust in Him.