I pull my car into a spot, turn off the engine, and a feeling unexpectedly wraps itself around me.
I brush it off–who has thoughts like that in the parking lot of her favorite coffee shop? I think of my family, friends, all of you and shake my head. What’s the matter with me?
But from time to time, loneliness pays me a visit. I don’t ever talk about it. I really don’t even want to talk about it now. Oh, yes, God isn’t a big fan of my comfort zone.
What am I learning about loneliness?
First, it’s universal. We all feel lonely sometimes. It’s not a personal reflection on us but rather “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy” (Proverbs 14:10).
So don’t let the enemy trick you into believing it’s about you–that it’s some sort of sign that you’re not good enough, loveable enough, worthy enough. No, ma’am. You just put on some pointy-toed shoes and kick those lies to the curb.
Elijah was a prophet in the Old Testament who challenged the prophets of Baal in a serious showdown and God made an incredible victory happen. So what does Elijah do? Hightails it to the wilderness and tells God he’s done. He says, “I am the only one left…” (that’s loneliness talking).
God’s response is full of tenderness:
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When we’re lonely, the first thing we need is to sense God’s presence with us. Yet even after this, Elijah repeats to God, “I am the only one left….” Then God tells him that there are seven thousand others faithfully serving Him too.
Hmm, I’m thinking back to the coffee shop parking lot incident. Yep, loneliness distorts our perspective. I’m learning sometimes we just need a little reminder of the truth–that God is with us, others are alongside us, and loneliness is just a feeling not a fact about who we are.
Yes, amen, and who wants to go to my favorite coffee shop with me next time?
p.s. I feel like there’s someone reading with an ache in your heart and a lie running through your mind that says, “But I’m not loved. I truly am alone.” Whoever you are, wherever you are, I want you to hear this loud and clear–that is not true. You are deeply loved, valued, irreplaceable in this world and the heart of the One who made you.
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