What does God call us to DO when we are lonely? How on earth are we to move through these agonizing moments?
I just graduated from college, where I lived on my own with seven of my best friends in a big, old house. The only time I was truly alone was in the shower. Now that I am back in my hometown, there’s this sense of loneliness that is pretty darn painful.
Weekends, where I used to have plans on plans, are now pretty quiet. This past Saturday night I spent curled up on the couch by myself, reading and Googling. And while I enjoy that self-care time, it can be difficult going from a booming social life to suddenly being by yourself.
Even if you didn’t just graduate college, this pandemic is a lonely time for everyone because a lot of people are moving back home with their parents, or their plans got disrupted, or they just feel a lack of social closeness. This season has been a little lonely for all of us.
But what does God call us to DO when we are lonely? How on earth are we to move through these agonizing moments?
What to do when you’re feeling lonely
Step #1: Cry out to God
I am not kidding, the other morning when I was just fed up with the loneliness, I cried on my bed like a seventh-grader after not getting invited to a birthday party. I pathetically, sob-cried, like the ugly cry that also exemplifies a whale sound. Yup – 22-year-old Ashley was doing just that.
But even in my ugly cry, I cried out to God. I asked for his help. I asked for His strength.
David did this too. He said: “So I cried out to you, Lord, my only hiding place. You’re all I have, my only hope in this life, my last chance for help.” (Psalms 142:5 TPT)
When we are under the weight of loneliness, we have to cry out to Him. We have to ask for His help and admit that we cannot get through it alone. When we come to Him, even in an ugly cry, He comes to our help.
Step #2: Ask for specific help.
In these lonely moments, we are allowed to ask for help.
We see an example of someone asking for help in loneliness from David. He says:
“Lord, come quickly and answer me, for my depression deepens and I’m about to give up. Don’t leave me now or I’ll die! Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you. Save me from all my enemies, for I hide myself in you. I just want to obey all you ask of me. So teach me, Lord, for you are my God. Your gracious Spirit is all I need, so lead me on good paths that are pleasing to you, my one and only God!” (Psalms 143:7-10 TPT)
Here, David is asking the Lord for SPECIFIC help. To provide light for His path and to teach Him. To save him from his enemies. To lead Him on good paths. Just as David did, we are also allowed to ask for specific help for our needs.
Step #3: Focus on Him.
After we’ve cried out, and asked for specific help, we have to fix our eyes on God.
Notice how after each of these requests, David switches the focus to God. He says “I trust in you” “I hide myself in you” “I just want to obey all you ask of me” “You are all I need.” As he is asking for help, he is shifting the focus from his feelings to God’s sovereignty.
After you have cried out to Him and asked for what you need, the key is to look to Him and KEEP YOUR EYES ON HIM. Do not focus on yourself.
I think of what C.S. Lewis said: “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
We are not going to defeat this loneliness by ourselves. We are only going to make it on the other side by looking to Christ. He is the strength that will pull us out of this difficult season and into the light.
As for me? I have wiped my tears. I have cried out to Him and submitted my requests. And now, I look to nothing but Him, trusting that He really will get us out of any pit, and carry us through anything with His saving grace.