We’ve all felt it. You’re very aware of who you are, who everyone else is, and how disjointed those are. No one understands you. No one knows you. The feeling where all you want to do is go outside and feel the sunshine on your face, but the storm outside your door keeps you inside.
I think loneliness is a pretty common thing in our society. It looks a little bit different for everyone. For some, no one quite understands you. Your humor is often missed; your ideas aren’t exciting; your voice is often overpowered by another. For others, you’re constantly surrounded by people; you typically have a few unread texts on your phone; your weekends are booked. But again, no one truly understands you. You feel alone in a crowded room. You’re physically present, but feel invisible.
I personally know the feeling. I’ve waited by the phone hoping for the popular girl’s promise of hanging out to come to fruition. I’ve been in a crowded room and felt invisible, that my presence would not be missed nor absence noticed. I’ve felt deeply misunderstood. I’ve contemplated what’s wrong with me. I’ve changed who I am in an empty effort to win the attention of others. I think we all have to some extent. We’re not alone in our loneliness (what a fascinating concept).
Even Adam felt loneliness. Genesis 2:18-20 tells us a narrative about God observing that it is not good for man to be alone. All the animals are brought before Adam, but none deemed a suitable helper. Adam was literally surrounded by creatures big and small, strong and weak, with human likenesses (I won’t deny we have an uncanny resemblance to gorillas) and without (very glad we don’t look like the naked mole rat (cute in Kim Possible, not cute in real life)), but he could not find anyone like him. So God made Eve- a fellow human being and suitable helper.
But here’s the curveball: community is not actually the cure for loneliness. At least not in the way we see community. The definition of community is “a feeling of fellowship with other [people], as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Community is the people we interact with on a daily basis; the people who build us up; the people we go to for support, fun, advice. Key word: people. I don’t know about you, but people frequently let me down. That popular girl? She never called. My best friend? She forgot we made plans to hang out tonight. That cute boy I’ve been crushing on? He just got into a relationship with someone else. My parents? They don’t always remember what it’s like to be a young adult. My pastor? He doesn’t have all the answers to my questions.
People are going to let you down. Period. The end. They have in your past; they will in your future.
So what, then, do we do? What is the answer to our loneliness?
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” -Revelation 3:20 ESV
I can tell you from personal experience that opening the door of your heart to the Lord and allowing Him to transform your life is the best decision you can possibly make. The joy, peace, and freedom I have felt since finding community with God is inexplicable. We were created for community, yes, but community with God rather than with people.
Now when friends cancel plans on me, crushes don’t like me back, people don’t understand my jokes, or my ideas go unnoticed, I no longer feel crushed by loneliness. I know who my God is, and He knows who I am. He sees me, and He loves me for exactly who I am. He gives me complete satisfaction. He listens to me, and He finds my jokes as funny as I do (and let me tell you, I find myself knee-slappin’ hilarious). He is there for me in every situation and every season, without fail.
Community with God is the community. It’s the answer to our loneliness. And the coolest part is that when you accept Him into your heart, His Spirit lives in you. This means you’re never alone (and all the extraverts reading this said HALLELUJAH).
**Disclaimer** Though living life with Christ is the best decision I’ve ever made, there are times when I still feel lonely and unsatisfied. However, I now recognize that these feelings come from times when I choose to look to people for my acceptance and satisfaction. So if you’re reading this and thinking, “well I’ve accepted Jesus into my heart, and I still feel lonely…” know that I get that. To this day, I get lonely. I feel insecure. I have doubts about my worth. My prayer for myself (and you if you are in this boat with me) is that I’ll allow the Lord to teach me what community with Him looks like, that He’ll give me eyes to see His incredible faithfulness, and that people will continue to let me down so that I realize how deeply I need Him. I would love love love for you to reach out to me if you’re feeling lonely. I’ll be a listening ear, a hug, an encourager, or a few bad dad jokes. You are loved.