It has been a while since I've written anything valuable. I believe this may be the perfect time to unwind and transfer all of these useful portions of knowledge experienced during this season. This year has been the hardest one yet. I don't need to include details because I don't want to overwhelm you with foreign burdens. Maybe I'll share down the road some of them with the intention of helping others, but for now let's focus on today's topic.
The Silent Struggle
Today's topic is not one that is usually spoken about in churches. I write this because I'm sure someone out there can relate and may benefit in knowing they are well accompanied by this struggle. I am talking about loneliness. It's about the loneliness when you are in trouble and feel desperate. It's the kind of loneliness that comes when you lose friends, opportunities, strength, expectation, money, loved ones, etc. Loneliness can take place even when you do have people around you but they quite don't seem to understand you. It's the type of loneliness that creeps into your heart, when it's 3 a.m. and you go through the names of people you know in your mind, and know there's no one to call because they wouldn't probably pick up. When life hits you hard and friends that have their own thing going on, and can no longer be there for you, what do you do? I have been well acquainted with loneliness. It's not a place where you would want to stay for too long. However, you can't determine when will the wilderness or valley end. You can try and decorate the walls of the space called your situation, and still feel so unrelatable to other human beings. You may try to distract yourself by unconsciously forcing people to be your friend and compromising your current struggles for the sake of not being left alone with your own thoughts. Whatever tendency might be to do when you feel alone, I can assure you that your coping mechanism may not be the most healthy one. I do not blame you, for it is in our nature to follow the deceitful voices in our hearts and gravitate to sin to alleviate any type of pain. There's no condemnation, only love here. I relate and would like to suggest certain things that may help you if you are going through a season of loneliness. Make sure to get a pen and paper and write down anything that may resonate with you. I want you to put it somewhere visible. Whether that place is your mirror, work space, or bedroom. I want you to remember that you are not alone and that loneliness is not a permanent jail cell. You're not weird. You're just human.
Perspective is not the absence of severity in a situation; it's the ability to observe it in a different angle. I may have used this example before, but for the sake of this word I'll use it again. If you look at a mountain range directly, you will notice in the distance that the common denominator of unevenness is present. Step into a helicopter, ascend a couple of hundred feet, and the view is completely different. Remember the highs and lows of the peaks? Well, now they all seem to be the same height from above. You may be looking at your situation with your natural eyes, but ask God to reveal to you how He sees the situation in His eyes. There is nothing that can intimidate Him.
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
2 Kings 6:17-20
I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
Isaiah 45:2 NIV
Chill. Honesty is not a bad word. If there is something that God longs for, is for honesty on your behalf. There is no reason to hide behind fig leaves like Adam and Eve did and expect awesome results. God is a relational, loving, and caring God. Being honest about your current pressures, frustrations, incorrect motives, and brokenness can be the best thing you can do for yourself. Facing the truth of the things going on around us costs less than constructing a world of escapism. What are your coping mechanisms during this season? Do you tend to run away from problems? How is that working out for you? Remember the truth will set you free.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:32 NIV
Remember Hannah when she poured her heart out before the Lord in the temple? Eli the priest thought she was drunk. She was upset because she couldn't get pregnant. When people don't understand the way you are acting is probably due to a lack of knowledge. Don't be surprised if people point at you and judge you for your tears or odd behavior. Going through the valley is hard enough, but dealing with the critiques of others is another type of animal as they say. Once Eli was informed by Hannah why she was crying and praying, Eli understood the whole picture. Now, I am not suggesting you have to provide a footnote to every person you known why you have inconsistent mood swings. God knows. He understands and he cares. If you go before him and pour out your complaints (Psalm 142:2) and give him your burdens (Matthew 11:28-30), you will find new strength. Free yourself from the pressure to perform for others and God.
Come as you are.
Jesus I come.
Make a list of the things you can change and the things you can't. Focus on what you can change to make life a little bit easier. The things you can't do anything about will gladly be managed by God, if you let him fight your battles that is! You have the power of believing what you want to believe. No one makes you wallow in self-pity or operate in destructive behaviors. No one makes you hear that depressing playlist on Spotify. No one makes you watch useless videos on YouTube all day and procrastinate. Make a decision to think about different things. You're welcome. [Insert smiling poop emoji here, because I felt I was too hard on you on this point.]
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8 NIV
Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Matthew 22:37 NIV
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
Proverbs 4:8 NIV
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV
During this season of loneliness, ask God to examine your heart and motives. It may not be the loveliest thing so to speak, but it will benefit you. Is there any envy, strife, insecurity, anger, depression, pride, lust, fear, anxiety in your heart? If we were face to face, you would probably smile and be like: "Me depressed? I don't think so." This is why is so important to submit under God's authority and let him reveal to you the deep parts of your heart. Because at scripture says the heart is a wicked thing and emotions can trick you from seeing reality. The following verses can really help you during your quiet time.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23 NIV
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 NIV
Knowledge & Wisdom
Wisdom requires living some stuff out in order to dust off the ingenuity attached to societal and family based idiosyncrasies. Wisdom is obtained when you ask God to help you have insight on a recurring problem, a draining addiction, or a complicated relationship. Wisdom is heart awareness, whereas knowledge is head awareness. During this time, do not let the walls of boredom and isolation cave in. Learn about different topics and explore new stories. Read books and novels. Listen to an audiobook every month. For your own sanity, educate yourself. I am not suggesting you are not intellectual, but sometimes in loneliness we tend to stick to what we think. Does a person in solitary confinement develop a healthy mentality throughout time? I don't think so. Don't lean on your understanding, because bitterness and pain may be the foundation of your opinions. Going through pain is necessary, but pain is not a good teacher. Let God teach you through pain what you need to know. Your future self will thank you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
Proverbs 3:5 NIV
David was always intentional about seeking the Lord during times of trouble and stability. Make sure to make time to spend with God. Even if you go out by yourself, be aware of his presence. Remember he is so invested in you and loves you. He is interested in every detail of your life. Not to dictate what you should or shouldn't do, but to help you navigate through the uncertain waters of life. Jesus is a gentleman, he will never force himself into any area of your life. If you open the doors, he will be more than glad to help, comfort, advice, listen, and speak to you. By doors I mean every segment of your life: your finances, relationships, emotions, physical health etc.
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek."
Psalm 27:8 ESV
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
If you are in a season of singleness may I suggest for you to start writing letters to your future husband or wife. Start praying for him or her. Don't focus so much on that all the time or else you end up dating the first doofus that comes across your path. Carry on with daily activities and responsibilities but make time and space to now and then ask God guidance on how to improve as a person. Remember you are not looking for the "one", you are becoming the one. The perfect person does not exist. A person cannot cater to everything you need. It's way too much pressure to put on another human being don't you think?. Don't expect for someone to enter into your life while you disregard your own issues. Work out any issues you may be experiencing during this season, so you won't bring it with you in your next relationship. While you wait, grow in God.
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
Exodus 14:13 NKJV
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17 NIV
I know that the committee in your head stands firmly in objection with this idea, but wait! Just wait and reconsider! Maybe your friends haven't reached out to you because they are going through something. Can we stop being a generation that thinks this way: "I don't talk to people because people don't talk to me first. If people talk to me first then I will more likely engage." Baloney! We are humans remember? Gregarious? If you think of someone you haven't talked to in a while, make sure to text or call the person. Of course this depends on how close you are to that individual, and if you have their phone number. But in all seriousness, don't avoid reaching out because you may never know if that person is going through worse. This happened to me recently. A close of friend of mine and I had stopped talking for a long period of time. I reached out in attempts of ending the friendship, because I thought I was being a burden to that person and that I was no longer important. I later on apologized, it was all a misunderstanding. The reason why this person didn't reach out before was because there was a lack of awareness on how bad my situation was. Also, she had many personal things going on. I didn't have a clue she was going through the hardest test in her life as well. When I reached out to her and apologized I then understood that communicating with others is more than an act of courtesy. I personally dislike when someone says to me in person: "I was thinking about you." or "I had you on my heart." Thoughts are beautiful and well-intentioned but are not effective. Sometimes we have to get out of ourselves and start the conversation. For some people a simple text can literally save their lives.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 NIV
Whatever you do friend, don't give up!