"For The Lonely Christian"


"For The Lonely Christian"

No part of this is meant to illicit sympathy but I thought it would be nice to share a small part of my young life in hopes that someone will realize that Jesus understands their loneliness.
I grew up as a pretty lonely child. I have three siblings whom I love. We played outside together, fussed at each other, ate together...did everything together. I have cousins who're like sisters to me; we also grew up extremely close. My reasons for growing up lonely never seemed to stem from a lack of people surrounding me; I have a HUGE family, but as I look back I can see that I've always been a pretty different person. I've always had different tastes and interest. I've always loved to do different things. I've always had different opinions and points of view, I've always dressed differently, listened to different types of music.... and the list could go on

When I was in elementary school I was the bucktooth black boy with blue circular glasses. Unfortunately, to my demise, that style wasn't "in" at the time. When you're the nerdy kid it's hard to make friends, not to mention that I was always telling people that I'd wanted to be a "preacher" when I grew up. Not quite the dream job everyone else had in mind. It didn't help the cause any at all, when I had to get braces in the third grade. It was an embarrassment for me to be around the "popular kids". They laughed at me, never chose me during P.E for their sports teams and found ways to make me the center of their naive jokes. Any girl I was every interested in laughed in my face....literally. Of course at that age, being interested in a girl meant nothing, but at that particular time in meant something. At that time I was also a very sensitive child which meant that I felt the weight of every insult which is why, in my 20's I still remember vivid details of kids making fun of me.

Fast-forward to middle school. The pressure to be something was great and while I'm thankful I had a few more friends I was the black sheep in the friendship group; the one nobody included in gatherings or the one who was only included in certain things. I never understood why. Oh! And who can forget, I had to endure another bout of braces. Unfortunately I still couldn't avoid kids mocking and teasing me, and never choosing me at P.E. I'd developed great relationships with many of my teachers and I can remember spending a lot of time chatting with them during lunch, after school or before school. That was my saving grace in middle school. Their company was my enjoyment. At this time I had a decent grasp of who God was and my obligation to following his word. The problem is head knowledge has to move to the heart. It was easy to know what the word said, but hard to believe it when people were just mean. This was the age when I was exposed to ideas and ways of life that were contrary to my Christian upbringing, and I realize now that God's grace held me in the middle of a terrible desire to be accepted; to conform. 
High school brought some peace in that I thought I'd finally found a good group of lasting friends but I still found myself not fitting into the same mold that I was always expected to fit into. All the while, something still didn't feel complete. I always had good fun though. We went on several school trips every year, and were almost always together. I was still the black sheep though. Those differences become more and more distinct as I get older. After leaving for college a good majority of those friendships crumbled any way, and I still don't really have all that many friends. I am thankful for the few that God has blessed me with!

If I'm being honest I still battle feelings of loneliness and insecurity when it comes to friendship, especially because I love to be around people so much. I think getting to know and befriend people from all walks of life is one of my favorite ventures. But it has certainly been a slow venture.  Currently my days are mostly quiet but busy. When I'm not studying or reading for school, I'm usually sleeping, listening to my favorite preachers, studying for a sermon, or reading a book or article online as I do quite frequently. I used to be a lot more open and happy-go-lucky about jumping in and getting to know people, but sometimes reservations arise because the cost seems great. How will I be perceived? What will become of meeting yet another person with no known end? 
We all know that it is very possible to have a wealth of people around and yet still feel lonely, downtrodden and misunderstood especially when difficult circumstances arise and there's nobody to talk to or you don't want to bother the one friend that you always go to. How do we fight feelings of loneliness the biblical way? That's the question I have to ask and answer for myself every time I get discouraged.

 

#1 - Know that Only Jesus Can Bring complete wholeness

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds

 

The biggest mistake we ever make is looking to people to cure our loneliness. That is in regard to an intimate relationship or a regular friendship. While fellowship with others is a vital part of the remedy, the true cure is consistent and affectionate fellowship with our creator, Jesus Christ. He can fill the voids that threaten to destroy our hearts with despair and grief. Jesus himself was a man who was well acquainted with loneliness. He was rejected almost everywhere he went, falsely accused and always despised. He never once turned to his disciples for validation or a "boost" of confidence, but in his hours of testing he always prayed to the father for strength and help. We're weak creatures and we need to learn that in our weakness we must run to the savior for strength in every single matter. The lord made humans for fellowship and it can be tough to be separated from that fellowship whether we think we're not deserving of it or whether someone else has excluded us but in those times of insecurity turn to the savior for peace and healing. Nobody knows loneliness better than him, which means nobody has a better cure than he does! He himself is the cure! Jesus and his all satisfying nature can quench any bit of sadness from our feelings or Satan's lies.




#2 - Know that The Household of Faith Is a Refuge

Hebrews 10:24-25
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

As I mentioned before, humans were created for fellowship with Christ first, and then each other. In the Garden of Eden, God said that it wasn't good that man should be alone. In our day and time God has prescribed that Christians fellowship in the local assembly. Fellowship is important to God and should be to any bible believing church. To the person who is feeling lonely, think about your relationships at church. Is there anyone your age there? Could you work a bit more at developing those relationships? Can you get involved in a small group? Perhaps, people are more willing and friendly than you know or think! Maybe all you have to do is reach out. That's hard, I know! But the potential of strong relationships being built, an avenue for building up and encouragement into love and good works, is worth it! Pray that the Lord will send you Godly friends both inside of the assembly and outside of the assembly, and he'll send you who needs to be in your life. If your church is not encouraging fellowship, it may be worth talking to the pastor, as fellowship is important to any local body of believers. It is also ok to have Christian friends from other churches too! 

#3 - Be Intentional about being kind
Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification
It's always said that kindness can accomplish much, and in this situation I believe that being intentional about being kind can have the power to lift the shadows of loneliness. it doesn't matter who it is or where you are, be kind! When we sit around and focus on the difficulty of our situations we tend to feel sorry for ourselves. This makes for a sour Christian! When you're able to help others, even in your time of spiritual need, you begin to see the many graces of God in your everyday life. Selfless giving has the ability to turn our eyes away from the pity of loneliness into the genuine concern of others. Find a project to be involved in! Set aside some money every few weeks to give away to someone. Volunteer somewhere regularly. Buy lunch for someone different on the job every few weeks. See how you can be of assistance to the elderly in your church. Send letters to family members and friends at the start of the month.... whatever the case may be, find a routinely kind deed to that will redirect your eyes to the care and concern of others and not the loneliness you may feel inside.

At the root of loneliness, are a variety of Satan's lies and a barrage of our own terribly wrong feelings. Perhaps we may have to endure seasons of loneliness, as God may be trying to communicate something to us, or maybe like me you don't have a lot of  "regular" friends to talk to on a consistent basis. Maybe you're different and you're waiting to find someone with similar tastes and interest as you. In any case, 1- seek the lord, and delight in him FIRST and always, 2- press into the household of faith, 3 - get busy being kind!





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