Do you often feel lonely? Even though Americans may appear more connected than ever through social media and cell phones, many are longing for deep, lasting and personal connections; they are feeling strangely disconnected and even downright lonely. In fact, the constant stream of exultant posts, snaps, and stories may even exacerbate the suspicion that everyone, except us, is happily hanging out with friends and loved ones. Do you ever feel like you just don’t know what do with heavy, yet hollow emotions of isolation or emptiness? The most obvious way to lessen feelings of loneliness is to invest in relationships and prioritize friendships. God created us as relational beings who need each other. But obviously we can’t always be socializing and, even in relationships, people can still feel lonely. For these points, let me offer two suggestions. First, let loneliness drive you to God. Second, let loneliness fuel creative and artistic passions in you.
Loneliness is a powerful emotion that can feel like a gnawing, empty ache. Christ knew this feeling when he was on earth and he cares that you’re feeling it. I know it’s not easy, but try to channel your loneliness into a cry to God for sustaining grace and satisfying hope. Let the weight of your loneliness crush you to your knees and push your head down into your Bible. Turn to the Psalms which are dripping with emotion and rich with phrases to help you express your feelings to God. Pour out your heart to God as David did in Psalm 102:7 saying “I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop,” or in Psalm 25:16 saying “turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” Cling to promises like “the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth,” (Psalm 145:18) and “God settles the solitary in a home,” (Psalm 68:6). If share your deepest longings with Christ and let your feelings escape to him, you will have a wonderfully deep, personal and emotional connection with him. Your heavy feelings can become a great opportunity to build a bond with Christ which people who are happily preoccupied with busy lives won’t be able to recreate.
When you feel lonely you might also try creativity expressing your emotions through an artistic medium. Take the example of Taylor Swift. She seems to be able to make millions of dollars every time she breaks up or gets mad at an ex by simply writing a song about it! Would you go through a bad breakup if you knew you could make a million dollars off it? (Hmmm…maybe she intentionally breaks up whenever she needs some extra cash… 😂) My point is that many of the most powerful songs, poems, sermons, books and films which we know and love came from someone’s exquisite hurt or dejectedness captured in a lasting work of art. Beethoven’s father was an alcoholic who would come home drunk late at night and drag the young boy out of bed, forcing him to practice music for hours in hopes of making him into a child prodigy like Mozart. These distressing experiences probably did more for Beethoven by filling his heart with pain, which would later be expressed in heart-rending motifs, than it ever did to hone his skill. I believe that the squeezing of David’s heart while he was on the run from Saul resulted in many of the gut-wrenchingly honest Psalms we have loved and leaned on for centuries. When you feel lonely, see if you can share your loneliness in such a way that others can be touched and possibly comforted.
Do you have other ideas for constructive outlets when loneliness simply won’t go away? Share them in the comments below!