I remember when I first got married and moved to California from North Carolina, I had no car, no job, and no local friends. What should have been one of the most exciting times in my life, was one of the most lonesome. Our house stayed spotless, not because I’m a freakishly clean housekeeper, but due to pure boredom.
I’ll never forget that period in my life, which is why I’m sensitive when I encounter women who confess feeling isolated. Lately I’ve had several conversations with women of all different backgrounds and circumstances who admitted to having difficulty connecting with other women.
Why is this?
I understand the dilemma of moving into a new area. But what about when we’ve been there several years and still haven’t connected? What then? We can’t blame it all on singleness, because there are married women who struggle too. And social media can’t take all the blame, although this has greatly changed the dynamic of how we communicate. (Honestly without cell phones, texting and email, maintaining several of my out-of-state friendships would be nearly impossible).
So do we have our standards and expectations set too high? Most women, if given a choice, pick people like them to be their friends. Or, are we just simply too socially awkward to venture out?
What is it, and how can we fix it?
We long to relate, don’t we? And when we can’t we feel empty, isolated, and depressed.
There’s something about a hug, eye contact, and real conversations over sips of warm coffee! It’s worth more than all the money in the world. Why? Because God created us for it! Remember in the garden, God was looking for Adam and Eve in the cool of the day? Just like He created them for relationship with Him, He designed us for it too.
I want to encourage you if you are blessed with meaningful friendships, don’t be exclusive and cliquey! Go out of your way to love others deeply. You may be crossing paths with women in need of genuine friendship. God will certainly point them out if you ask Him to open your eyes. If given an opportunity, reach out! It’s God’s heart, and He says, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 And in our culture, the lonely could easily be counted as the oppressed, the widow or the fatherless.
So how can we fight this loneliness battle?
1- Like with any other battle, put on the full armor of God through prayer (Ephesians 6). There’s absolutely no harm in making this our first line of defense!! Actually there’s more harm in NOT!
2- Help someone else. People who give by helping others are generally less depressed and live longer.
3- Put down the devices, such as computers and phones, while there’s opportunity to connect face to face with actual humans.
4- Purposefully put ourselves in a position to meet other people. Make the decision to place one foot in front of the other. Go to church. Sign up to serve. Go to meetings where we know we’ll meet other singles or women. Go on a mission’s trip. Set up a routine to go to the gym every day, or several times a week.
5- Be open and mindful of other potentially lonely people and reach out. Don’t have a particular profile made up of how our ideal friend should look. Open up to being friends with people we might not ordinarily choose.
6- Consider getting a pet. It always helps to have someone else to think about and take care of besides ourselves.
7- Realize, if you are a child of God, you are NEVER alone!!! Loneliness is an illusion from the enemy, because “God will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). But, Satan wants us to feel hopeless and isolated. Don’t fall for His lies!
8- Pray for God to send HIS friends! Remember a couple of God-chosen friends are much more meaningful than a dozen we could choose on our own!
Have you ever felt lonely? What’s been your experience?