Dealing with loneliness is something that happens from time to time. It becomes a problem when people are not able to handle and overcome loneliness well. This may result in it negative effects like depression. This teaching is to help anyone who will find themselves in a situation like this to know how to handle loneliness.
There are several factors that cause loneliness
Transitions in life can introduce loneliness.
This happens in situations like a divorce or losing a loved one. When you get a new job, or lose a job, or even getting married, it can be difficult for some. All these life transitions can sometimes expose one to loneliness and can happen to anybody.
Separation due to illness or relocation
A good example is when your kids grow up and have to go out of the house. Divorce and the realization of living alone dawns. There are also times when a spouse has to travel to another city or country because of work. All these situations have a way of making you feel lonely.
Opposition can lead to loneliness
When you face opposition from people, sometimes it feels like you are standing alone. This almost happens frequently.
Rejection also has a way of introducing loneliness.
Dealing with loneliness can also come about when you get rejected one after the other after a job application. It can also happen when people you seem to like reject you.
How do people handle the Factors?
The thing is that we are not always able to control some of these situations and when we are not able to handle it well, they may lead to several other bad effects.
When people who are dealing with loneliness do not handle it well, it may lead to many bad situations. As examples it could be substance abuse or drug abuse. And they do this because they feel the drug has a way of helping them remain calm or overcome any form of anxiety.
Others also enter into illicit affairs with the opposite sex especially when they feel loved or appreciated by them. In the end, this is also a destructive behavior that does not always end well.
For some, their way of dealing with loneliness is to be lost in more work. Hence, becoming workaholics. And before you realize other things begin to suffer.
All these will lead to depression: doing nothing, living life without purpose and many others.
The question now is, what is the Bible way to handle loneliness? Remember I shared that it can happen to anybody. But what you do next will determine what will happen to you.
What I am sharing with you will help you to handle your season of loneliness well so that it doesn’t degenerate into these bad things.
PAUL, a good example of how to handle and overcome loneliness
In 2 Timothy 4, we find Paul was in prison, and we know that anyone who finds himself in prison is most certainly dealing with loneliness. Notwithstanding, there are 4 important things he did that I believe that you and I can be able to learn from and do likewise.
Let us look at these 4 Principles
1. Use your Time Very Well
When things happen to you, and you begin to feel lonely, the tendency not to take care of yourself is very high because you just want to sit in a corner and cry or mope around. I remember when I first suffered a broken heart from a relationship, I used to play songs that make me feel sad and remind me that I have been rejected. But I overcame it, and you can too.
In 2 Timothy 4:13, we see Paul saying, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” You realize here that Paul used his loneliness as an opportunity to study. Yes, it is an opportunity. Here’s a fun fact: Paul wrote most of his letters while in prison when he was lonely. Loneliness is always an opportunity.
Sometimes when I feel lonely, I ask myself whether there is a way I can develop myself. I think about whether I could build an app or a software I can build. I have built almost about 50 applications and I can say that a lot of them were built during my lonely times.
The first thing to tell yourself is to use your time well. You have something to deliver to your world. Loneliness is an opportunity. Ask yourself, “What can I do now that if people were around I cannot do?”
2. Try to Minimize your Hurt
Try to minimize your hurt by forgiving and not being resentful. In verse 14-15, Paul says:
“Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.”
Did you see that? Paul says, “…he strongly opposed our message.” Paul battled with opposition. Perhaps you are presently dealing with loneliness and you think that no one understands you but I want to assure you that you are not alone. At least, you see that Paul went through it too.
Again, Paul goes on to say in verse 16, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” We see here that he was totally abandoned but what did he do? He did not hold it against them. Do not hold things against people. Minimize your hurt by forgiving. Let things go. It doesn’t matter the betrayal or hurt, try as much as possible to let go. When you allow yourself to become resentful you start blaming everyone around you, and worse, you become cynical. And I must tell you, it’s no fun being around a cynic and no one would want to be around you.
Anytime I’ve found myself dealing with loneliness, I tell myself that “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. It follows then that if I love God, it works for my good whether I was accepted or rejected because this rejection would open another door to something greater. See your rejection or disappointment as a stepping stone into something greater and not as stepping backward into something bad. When you begin to see things this way, it becomes easier to let go. God is in that situation, and He will not let you down.
3. Recognize God’s Presence
One of the most important things you’ll have to note and learn to do is to recognize God’s presence and develop His presence around you. Furthermore, in verse 17, Paul says, “But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength….” Remember to develop your relationship with the Lord because he will stand with you. Friends and family may desert you but the Lord will not leave you. Jesus says that “I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
I always tell people that there’s no way I can feel lonely because as far as I’m concerned God is a person, and His glory can be made flesh. When God speaks to me, I can hear, and when I speak to him, He can hear because I have developed that relationship. So, turn off your phone and put on some soaking music and just play it. As you play, just talk to God from your heart, worship him because he inhabits the praises of his people, and as you worship, His presence will fill you and you will begin to walk in the presence. Also, you’ll begin to see strength welling up from within.
What I want you to learn in this principle is that an opportunity has been given to you to develop the presence of God around you anytime you are dealing with loneliness. This is one of the best opportunities to know God.
4. Emphasize on Other People’s Needs
Ask yourself, “What can I do for others?” Focus on others more than yourself. When you do this, you will be able to handle and overcome loneliness well. Paul was thinking about others when he said said in verse 17, “…so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.” Paul was interested in the Gentiles so much that he wanted to go and preach to them. You should know that his focus on others more than himself led to many of his epistles that are blessing us today.
Do not wait for your issue to be solved first before you do it for others. As it stands now, you may feel lonely but don’t get stuck there, get a simple and a nice gift and send it to someone and tell them, “I just wanted to be a blessing to you.” At this point, their joy will will be so fulfilling to behold. You can also choose to go and volunteer at a homeless shelter or just go and check on somebody.
In your time of loneliness, knowing that you yourself need encouragement, be a blessing to someone by encouraging others because the Bible teaches us that whoever waters others shall himself be watered. Before you realize, God has sent wonderful and good people around you who will help bring you out of your situation.
Beloved, remember these 4 principles I have shared with you so that you can deal with loneliness well. Remember to:
- Use your time really well
- Minimize your hurt by forgiving everyone who needs to be forgiven.
- Develop the presence of God with you and grown that relationship.
- You need to emphasize on the needs of other.
Here is another important lesson on how to get and keep a good spouse.