As I write this, we're in the middle of another COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney and this time has got me thinking about loneliness. I'm lucky enough to be living with 4 beautiful friends, but I know many don't have it that good. Many people live alone or don't have great living situations, and perhaps you're feeling lonely or isolated. You see, loneliness is this usually un-welcomed emotion which we try with all our might to run from. We might feel lonely because we're not in a relationship, our friendships aren't living up to our expectations, we live by ourselves and spend so much time alone...or we might even feel like we have it all together but still experience loneliness.
So we get busy. Busy on Instagram looking for some likes, busy on Snapchat sending streaks, busy on TikTok distracting ourselves from the feeling of being lonely. Sometimes we use the busyness of life to distract us from that unwanted feeling. We work more, study more, spend more time on Netflix to distract ourselves from the nagging feeling of loneliness which sits there in the corner until it's dealt with. I know, I've been there many times!
The thing about emotions is that they're actually there to give information. It's your body's way of telling you that something needs attention. So, instead of ignoring your emotions or bottling them up, the best thing to do is to stop and deal with them. You actually have control over your thoughts and emotions, they don't need to control you! And you'll find far more peace when you decide to face it head-on! So, how do we deal with loneliness?
Face the emotion and the thoughts that come with it.
It can be scary, I know. Sometimes thoughts and emotions can seem so big and overwhelming, and perhaps the last thing you want to do is face loneliness. But facing the emotion is a wonderful reminder that you have control over it.
Get out your journal and ask yourself why you're feeling that way. Is it unmet or misplaced expectations? In others or in God? Have you simply spent too much time alone and need some company? Are there people you're missing? How is your relationship with God? Are you spending sufficient time with Him? Did something happen that triggered this emotion?
Take it to God. Share with Him how you're feeling and give it to Him. Ask Him to give you a new perspective, to strengthen you, to bring people around you. And ask Him to remind you that He is right there with you.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” ISAIAH 41:10 NLT
Learn to be okay with your own company
Being okay with your own company is incredibly healthy. Use this time, whether you're in lockdown or not, to take time for you! Spend time doing things you love and enjoy, especially things that you can only do alone! My top suggestions:
Clean your room + sort out your wardrobe
Dream about your future
Plan your next holiday or trip overseas
Start a business
Think about others
Sometimes thinking about others can be the last thing you want to do when you're feeling lonely or down - but it's probably the BEST thing you can do to combat the feeling!
Think about one person you can encourage today
What is something you can do to brighten someone's day
What can you do for someone who is struggling or in need today
You might feel lonely, but know that you're not alone.
“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.” PSALM 27:10 NLT
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” DEUTERONOMY 31:6 NLT
If you're feeling in danger or in crisis, please reach out to someone! You matter and your life matters more than you could know.
Lifeline Suicide Hotline Australia: 13 11 14
Child Protection Helpline: 13 2111 (NSW)
Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463
Emergency Services: 000
NSW Rape Crisis: 1800 424 017