By Misty Honnold, Crosswalk.com
No man is an island. Yet in the festivities of the holidays, all the “Good Cheer” and Christmas greetings, many of us feel like an isolated, lonely island. This year is no exception as many of us find ourselves alone for the holidays, maybe for the first time. We are created for community, to be a part of family. From the beginning God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Then why is the reality of loneliness reaching epidemic proportions?
I believe and scientists agree that loneliness is something that every human experiences. We are not “alone” in our loneliness. However, like a hunger pain helps us realize our bodies are missing something; loneliness is a clue that we are missing something that is necessary for life, human interaction, relationship with God and relationship with others. From the dawn of creation, God has had the desire for His children to be a part of a family. His family, and it is His desire to use loneliness to draw us to Him.
A few years ago, as my youngest was transitioning out of the home, I became aware of intense loneliness. My days would no longer be filled with wondering how he was doing, making sure he got to work on time, or had goals he was pursuing. I would no longer have daily interaction with him to just touch base and see if he had eaten. My full-time role as a mother was suddenly drawing to an end and I became increasingly aware of a growing abyss in my life and heart.
I saw a desert before me, barren and dry and I sensed the Father inviting me to enter in. As I looked to the right and to the left, I thought, I can go back to what is comfortable and do things the way I have always done them. I could allow my relationships with my children to become unhealthy and try to manage their lives. Or I could something to run to, create a party or find a new social club to belong to. I thought about becoming more involved in church and wondered what I could offer.
I wanted to escape the foreboding expanse of desolation I saw before me. Yet the Lord prompted me to enter into to this wasteland by reminding me a verse He had shown me some 20 years earlier.
“Behold, I will allure you and draw you to the wilderness (or desert) and there I will speak kindly to you.” (Hosea 2:14 NASB)
As this verse came to mind, I realized that this was an invitation from the Lord to enter into the mystery of loneliness (the wilderness), and in that place I would find Him.
This holiday season, in the midst of all the seasons greetings and Christmas cheer, when you feel the ache of loneliness, remember that you are NOT alone, that many experience what you feel. Even though we are apart, we can be in this together by faith and praying for each other.
A Prayer to Pray while Walking through the Desert of Loneliness
Father, over and over you tell me you are the God who is with me. You say you will never abandon or forsake me. Today, I am depending on your Word to be true for my life. I am asking for the knowledge of you for today, choosing not to worry about tomorrow. I am asking for my daily bread from your hand of mercy. Come and give me a drink from your cup of lovingkindness (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Jesus, you felt the pains of loneliness while here on earth. You “were despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face. You were despised. You, the Beloved Son were struck and crushed by your own Father, for my sake. Help me understand the full impact of this gift you offer me, this companionship in my suffering that you extend to me. Help me know I am not alone and that my God understands the ache of my lonely soul (Isaiah 53).
When I feel like no one understands, and I begin to slide down the slippery slope of negative self-talk, sinking deeper into the pit of despair, break in and remind me that I am not alone. Show me that you are there with me. Lift me up in your strong right arm and hold me close (Isaiah 41:10).
Lord you are intimately acquainted with all of my ways and you know the numbers of hairs on my head. You know my thoughts from afar and you see me, and you search me. When I am in the dark place show me the way out, step by step, and grant me the grace to take those small steps to bring me out into the light once again (Psalm 139).
Jesus, you came to To anoint me with gladness instead of sorrow, to wrap me in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness. Wrap me Jesus; anoint me. Here I am waiting and ready for all you have to offer. I want this great exchange for my life and I give you my sorry, depression and sadness so that I can freely receive all you desire to give (Isaiah 61:3).
Oh God, forgive me when I have not been compassionate toward those who struggle with loneliness and depression. Forgive me when I have not taken a moment to help someone feel like they belong. In the midst of my despair, help me to show compassion to others. Give me an awareness for those who may be struggling too.
Let me be strong. Take courage. And not be intimidated. Empower me to know that God, my God, is striding ahead of me. You’re right there with me. You won’t let me down; You won’t leave me (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Lord even though my father and mother, friends, and family, are not close; you have taken me in. Jesus, you have prepared a home for me and you call me your friend, your brother and child of God. I have a family; a kingdom family (Psalm 27:10).
Thank you for the gift of loneliness. Let it escort me into a greater knowledge of who I am as the beloved. Just as my hunger leads me to filling my stomach with food, let the pain of loneliness lead me to filling my soul with the Bread of Life.
Misty Honnold is the Founder and Director of the non-profit organization The Single MOM KC. Misty equips, trains and empowers women to discover the source of their strength in Christ. She publishes a weekly blog on the website The Single MOM KC as well as freelances for other publications. She is working on her first book to be published in 2016; an autobiographical teaching of the Song of Solomon.
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