By Jennifer Smith.
Loneliness descended on me like the worst sickness imaginable. I felt like a weight had been tied around my heart and I couldn’t shake it, the knot was just too tight. Not only had the weight stayed fast to my heart, it felt like my heart had been thrown into a deep, dark pit filled with freezing cold water…totally numb.
In a room full of people, busyness, noise and laughter, I felt utterly and completely alone. I felt overlooked and unimportant, like no one even knew I was present. Everything is so different for me than it used to be; so different from how I dreamed it would be, and I found myself in the middle of a very real battle for control of my heart and my mind.
Do you know the feeling I’m talking about? Have you ever been in this place? Have you ever allowed feelings like these to take over your heart and mind? Perhaps you had expected things to be different, better somehow, and those expectations weren’t met. I don’t know what it’s like for you when you battle loneliness, but the old Jewish proverb that says “Loneliness breaks the spirit” rang quite true in the midst of my painful solitude. My soul felt broken.
Loneliness can be a struggle for anyone, no matter where you’re at in life. You might be a teenager with a thousand Facebook friends, you might be a college student or a twenty-something working girl with a ton of Twitter followers. You could be a thirty-something mama running around after two toddlers or forty-something, like me, sometimes unsuccessfully trying to keep track of my teenage son… Wherever you happen to be, whoever you happen to be with, whatever you happen to feel at this moment, however hopeless you may think life seems, this message is for you….
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
YOU ARE PRECIOUS.
YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOU’LL EVER KNOW.
I knew that I couldn’t stay down in the depths of despair; despite the hardship, despite the sorrow and sadness, this is not how I wanted to live my life…
So, you know what I did? Maybe you’ve done the same thing… I gave myself a talking to! No more whining. No more pity party. No more feeling sorry for myself. No more thinking of myself as the center of my universe. Instead, I turned my focus to the One who actually cared more about me than any other person on the planet ever could. To the One who knew loneliness, sorrow and rejection beyond any I have ever felt. During this time of loneliness I turned by heart and mind toward God.
Did you know that God felt loneliness too? It says in the Bible in the book of Isaiah chapter 53 – “He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care.” God can relate to what I felt. He “gets it”. He was rejected. Have you ever felt rejected? He was totally familiar with the deepest grief. Have you known deep grief? He was despised. Have you ever felt that absolutely no one cared? Just knowing that God felt the way I’ve felt brought me comfort. I wasn’t alone in this dark place.
It was in this place of brokenness that I realized something else profound. I had been thinking of myself way too much; feelings of loneliness are only compounded by selfish self-absorbed thinking. My vision of myself and my life was so narrow. My whole life was revolving around me; no wonder I was feeling so miserable! I had turned myself into the reason for my existence and the smallness of my world was astonishing. And embarrassing!
When we begin thinking more about others and less about ourselves our perspective changes; we are no longer stuck in this narrow avenue of existence, we see our problems as small compared to the rest of the world, we see the sun through the shadows, we see the myriad of ways in which we’ve been blessed and we begin to express GRATITUDE and find JOY.
So, friends, think about it… When you find yourself in that all too familiar downward spiral toward loneliness ~ don’t admit defeat, don’t give in to it; don’t allow it to take over. CHOOSE instead to remember the things you have to be thankful for. CHOOSE to find joy in all the circumstances of life, whatever they may be. CHOOSE to look to the God who is intimately acquainted with loneliness and can sympathize with us when we suffer too. He made you, knows you, and wants to bring you comfort. Lean into Him.
About Jennifer Smith
Jennifer currently serves at Pregnancy Choices in Mount Vernon, Washington as the Program Coordinator for Thriving Heart, the in- house education program for clients and women from the community. She has a degree in education and has worked with women and children for many years. Her favorite full time job, though, is as mom to her soon- to- be 16 year old son; she loves hanging out with him, cheering for him at his basketball games, and watching Cake Boss on Netflix. She is also “mom” to a very cute mini schnauzer named Tucker, who hates the rain, is very bossy and thinks he’s a person- dog.