a blog written by Jennifer Lynn
I believe that one of the greatest epidemics we have in our world today is loneliness. Which might seem strange given the fact that we’ve never been so “connected”; more than any generation before us. Keeping “in touch” has never been so easy. Keeping actual relationships, well, that’s when things start to get complicated. We’re able to keep up with all of our friends and families latest updates with just the touch of a button. But when is the last time we were able to drop in and have an actual conversation that didn’t involve emojis? Even husbands and wives would rather text than call one another. I’ve also actually been in the presence of a couple who, and this is no joke, were texting each other…and were in the SAME ROOM! Which, honestly, makes me lose hope in all of humanity and love. Forever.
We might have the ability to keep us “connected”, but in the process we have lost the ability to have any real “connection”, and there’s a big difference.
Have you ever been in a room full of people but felt alone? It’s an actual thing. It’s something that I have felt many times. Or how about being in a room full of people and literally everyone is on their phone. Because why talk to another human being when you can look at their picture online, right? Years ago, way before social media, people still took the time to write letters and send pictures to loved ones. In the letter it would say all of the heartfelt things that were on their mind and saying how much they missed each other and that they couldn’t wait to visit again. The picture was sent to hold them over until they were able to physically see each other again. That’s why the men who went off to war would carry a picture of their families or their sweethearts with them. It was a reminder of what they had waiting for them when they came home. The picture was temporary. The picture was never meant to replace the real thing. A picture of your loved one is great, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing.
I love looking through pictures of my boys. It brings back a lot of memories for me. But being able to have them with me in person is so much better. I love hugging/squeezing them, trying to cuddle and give them kisses (even if they try to evade my many attempts) And any good husband in a healthy marriage will tell you that they love pictures of their wife but they would prefer their wife in person over a photograph. You can’t get intimacy through a picture.
Loneliness, in a world of being “more connected” makes the loneliness even more difficult. Especially around the holidays, birthdays etc. You see others getting together, celebrating each other while you seem to celebrate most things alone. And if you’re more of an introvert like me,(I can be extraverted/social if it’s required of me) it’s harder to reach out and make plans. After awhile you get used to it and find ways to stay busy as best you can, to keep your mind off of how lonely it can be. If I’m being honest, I had been doing life alone for a really long time but it wasn’t until last Christmas 2017 when my boys left to go live with their father, that I truly felt lonely. This year has felt the same. I enjoy the holidays very much, but it was the first time that I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Something that I have learned, however, over time is that although I have moments of loneliness, I am not alone. There is a difference. Our feelings suggest that we are lonely. It’s okay to have bouts of loneliness. Mine come and go in spurts. But the fact is that we are never alone. Even Jesus felt lonely and even abandoned and betrayed. Standing there before a large crowd full of people that He dearly loved, that merely a week earlier were shouting “Hosanna!”, were now shouting for him to be crucified. Think about how lonely and terrible that must have felt for Him. But He endured it, for you, for me. He knew that despite how he felt in the moment that God was with Him and that He was about to fulfill the purpose and destiny that had been laid out for Him before the foundation of the world. The greatest gift: salvation.
Following Jesus’ example, we too can go through seasons of loneliness and also know that we are not alone. We are NEVER alone. He is there in the midst of whatever it is that we are going through. However we are feeling. He wants us to bring all of that to Him. His shoulders are broad enough to bare even our heaviest burdens. We were never meant to carry them by ourselves. Jesus Himself said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for you souls. For my yoke fits perfectly and the burden I give you is light.”~Matthew 11:28-30
Not only has God given us a relationship with Him through His son Jesus to get us through hard times, He has also given us the gift of relationships with each other. To encourage, pray for, to listen and to practically lend a hand. We are instructed to, “Share each others troubles and problems…”~ Galatians 6:2
This of course goes against everything our culture is currently propagating. In a world where people would rather mind their own business or not get involved, we, especially as Christians are to be the hands and feet of Jesus and help when it is needed. If we could only tear ourselves away from our screens long enough (myself included) to pick up the phone or pay a visit and ask how someone is doing. Just think about how less lonely this world would be if we started having actual, physical, in person conversations again!
Coming up on January 21st is “Blue Monday.” A day that is used to hold conversations again. Conversations about loneliness and other issues or burdens that people are carrying. Because if we can talk about it, we can also begin to seek out solutions and continue on the road to healing, wholeness and the confidence in knowing that we are NEVER alone.
“And be SURE of this: I am with you ALWAYS, even to the end of the age.”~Jesus (Matthew 28:20)