I have been through many stages in life where I battled loneliness, and felt like I was living this life without a support system. I’ve felt I was fighting my battles alone. I would share the good things in my life with people, but would keep the challenging, hard times to myself.
This left me feeling lonely during the times I needed the most support.
Looking back on these times (they are too numerous to count), there were ways I was enabling my own loneliness. There were also direct ways I could fight this, choosing to live a fulfilled life in community with others.
Letting go of Pride
Yes, this is really easier said than done…I honestly still struggle with this. I am tempted to share only a small portion of my life with others, and that’s MY choice. In turn, I will feel like a victim, unloved, and lonely. In reality, it is MY choice how lonely I want to feel in the hardest times of my life.
It is hard to open up and be vulnerable with others, and every relationship isn’t meant to go “that deep.” However, there are a small handful of friends in my life that are the closest to me, that I spend the most time with and communicate with most often. These are the friends that should hear the good & bad. That is where REAL friendship and community is fostered…in the most difficult of times, not just in the good times.
It’s difficult letting go of the sense of control and pride, trying to mold the perception people have of us and our lives.
Let’s be honest…most people are making judgements of our parenting, our marriages, etc. whether we share our “truths” with them or not, so we should just take that jump to be honest.
There are many times in my life, I have faced the hardest battles completely ALONE…but this was my choice. I was not a victim. I didn’t have to be alone. I made the choice to care more about the perception I wanted to create, than true friendship and community with another person.
Staying in your own mind is not safe when feelings are running wild. Sometimes being open and venting to another person is all you need to get back on track. Most times, when I hear myself talk out loud, I realize how crazy my stance is, or I fix the problem myself. At the same time, staying in my own mind never has a benefit on any situation.
God tells us in Galatians 6:2 to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.“
No one can carry your burdens, if you don’t share them. No one can be there for you and walk with you if you don’t share it. No one can pray for your marriage, pray for your children, pray for your financial situation, if you don’t share it.
The Bible is full of verses encouraging us to share with one another, encourage each other, and pray for/with one another. We can’t do this when we keep everything to ourselves.
So…I’m pushing myself to be open and honest. I’m reaching out and doing my part to combat loneliness in my life. I encourage you to share struggles you are dealing with at this stage in your life with someone today.
The enemy hates this, wanting us to live alone…feeling sad and abandoned. He hates to see us live in community, in truth and honesty with each other. He would rather have us withdraw and feel like no one cares what we are going through. In reality, there are many people around you that care..if you would just open up your heart to them.
You may be surprised by the issues other people have battled as well. Many times when I have taken this jump, I hear “ME TOO” or get the exact encouragement I needed.
Some of my favorite quotes on vulnerability come from amazing author, Brene Brown ….
“without vulnerability, there is no love, no belonging, and no joy.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
Pump yourself with the Truth.
When I am constantly hearing the lies the enemy tries to throw my way, I have to combat that with Truth. I have to get out of my own mind by hearing what Christ says about me, about others, and about my situation.
I pump up the praise music. It reminds me of how loved I am, that hard times will come but God is always with me. We forget many of the truths we memorize and hear on Sunday mornings when we are in the eye of a storm.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
We have to lift our eyes to heaven and set our minds on the things above (Col. 3:2). When we focus on the things of this world, we will easily drown in our own emotions.
However, if we focus on the things of God, our perspective on everything changes. The only way to do this, is to go directly to God’s word, or even begin a devotional on truths of Christ, loneliness, or depression. The content for this quiet time will depend on where you are. This has been the key to freedom, opening my eyes to the truth of situations…instead of a clouded, emotion- filled perception.
These things have helped me live a life of courage, of faith and of community. Allow others to do the same with you. Fight the temptation of loneliness, of excluding yourself, and of perfectionism. I am learning to trust God through the good and the bad, and realizing He uses others to remind me of His word, of the truth, to encourage me, and to walk with me through this life. Allow others to do the same with you. Fight the temptation of loneliness, of excluding yourself, and of perfectionism.
For more articles on Community, check out: “The Bravery of Truth Telling in Friendship.”