Owner of a Lonely Heart: Quality Friends Needed

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?

15 thoughts on “Owner of a Lonely Heart: Quality Friends Needed

  1. Julia Schmidt says:

    Oh, absolutely! I especially like #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.”

    A number of years ago I joined a women’s bible study at a church we had just started attending. There were three women in my small group who instantly irritated me. I judged them, in turn, for being too aloof, too flaky and too talkative. After the Lord revealed to me that I was being judgmental, and after I started to get to know them better, they ended up being my three dearest friends in that study. If I had stayed with my first impressions (which were definitely twisted by my personal filters), I would have missed the opportunity to form friendships with three beautiful women who blessed me greatly in the years to come.

  2. RebeccaAarup says:

    Reblogged this on Living on the Mountaintop and commented:
    This is a post from my dear friend, Rivera. She is a speaker, encourager, and writer, currently working on her first book while writing devotions for her church. Please follow her blog and encourage her through the journey God has given her. You won’t be sorry!
    I particularly enjoyed this post because it speaks closely to a struggle I’ve had for years. (Praying for that “special” friend to come along, feeling isolated and lonely…)
    I know you’ll be encouraged!

  3. Betty Cummings says:

    I love it when God gives Conformation.I have been talking to one of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have been dealing with the whisper of satans lies they are Seriously Depressed.I told one of them last night I am Praying for God to send the Friends He has choosen to him.And the other to Pray and Seek God daily and add her name in the Sciptures as well.I Thank God for Women like yourself and all the p31 Women of God that are making a difference.I to have been where they are at.And it is by God’s Substaing Grace I can Conqueror the storms of Life.God Bless you Sister Riverra.

  4. Crissy Smothers says:

    Rivera, what a wonderful post! Of course, you already know some of the struggles I’ve had with making friends and forming bonds with other women when I moved to NC. Recently, I’ve started to realize that part of why I place so much emphasis on my friendships is, in being an only child and not having extended family around me when I was growing up (my dad comes from a large family, but they all live in Washington state while we were in Texas), I sought that comfort through friends.

    You hit the nail on the head when you instruct women to not be cliquey and expand their circle of friends. This is something I never really understood, and still struggle with today. I live by the mantra, “the more the merrier,” and when I come across women who refuse to “let others in,” it’s so hard for me to understand. I often find myself asking “what’s wrong with me” or “why cant I be friends with them, too?” I think alot of the cliqueness centers around womens’ insecurities and fear of letting new people in. Why are women so afraid??

    Thank you for being such a wonderful leader and exhorter!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Thank you for sharing Crissy. Truly what are we afraid of? When we walk in God confidence and not in our own confidence, there’s nothing to fear is there? I’m so glad God crossed our paths 🙂 Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart. And thank you for encouraging.

  5. Patti Leisure says:

    Great message Rivera. I have had to battle loneliness since I moved here 4 years ago. I left a very full life in Ohio (full time ministry job, involvement in schools of my kids, great neighbors, and the best friends I have ever had) to move to NC where my husband and I knew no one. Left my 2 older sons up there and brought the teenage daughter with us. The 3 of us were excited about the new adventure. But then my husband went to his new job, my daughter went to her school and I was home alone day after day.I didn’t know what to do with myself and fell into a depression, which I had never experienced before. We felt so sure God moved us here and then I felt like He left me. I felt very alone. It is hard to make new friends when you had no job and no young kids. To find like-minded friends I started to join women’s Bible study groups. At one point that first year I was in 3 groups. I knew that at least I would have one thing in common with them-Jesus!! I have been here a little over 4 years now and you won’t believe what a thrill it is for me to go to the grocery store and run into someone I know!! Yes, that is a thrill for me. It makes this new place feel more like home. Each one of us has a need to know others and be known. Even though I have friends here now there are times that I still just feel lonely. And in those times I try to remember to turn to God, who promises to always be with us.

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Thanks for sharing Patti! I’m so glad God put you in the path of some great people here. I learned from living in CA all those years, I can live anywhere –if God wants me there of course– as long as I have Him and community:)

  6. creationscience4kids says:

    Years ago I read a biography of Fanny Crosby. At the end of her life she got very lonely because all her friends had gone to heaven already. Since then I’ve tried to be friends with older and younger women on purpose (not that I would eliminate ladies my own age!).
    Since I was a teen, the ladies I’ve been closest to haven’t had much in common with me on the surface, but we are all in love with Jesus and seeking Him out.
    There have been times I’ve wished I were close to another mom to hang out at the park with our broods, but that’s only very rarely been the case.

    I really like what you said about asking for God’s friends. Not just to find other Christians, but to be there for God’s children that HE wants to bless, comfort and encourage through us. I’ve always found the greatest joy and freedom from shyness when I seek to minister, not to focus on my own needs.
    For those of us on earth, there is only one way that God can give us a real hug- with the cooperation of other Christians!!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      And I love those “God hugs,” don’t you? 🙂 I too love people of all ages. I like to think there’s something uniquely special about everyone!

  7. Pamela Healy Nogueira says:

    Oh, yes! Once upon a time, I was a VERY lonely, stay-at-home mom!!! Just as I used to look for love in all the wrong places, I was looking for friends in all the wrong places: Mother’s Mornings Out, Playgroups, and Soccer! I was using a common denominator, kids, to try to connect with other ladies; however, there were not a lot of commonalities between the other moms and me! I think the key is exactly what you said–find other Christian women. I don’t have everything in common with my Christian friends, but that bond that we have is Jesus! There’s no stronger bond than His!

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