Three Ways Not to Cure Loneliness

lonely

My facebook status can be liked by my grandma, an old high school friend, and the missionary I worked with once overseas all in the same minute. We are more connected today than we ever have been before but seem lonelier. Even though we are connected on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat we still feel a deep longing for more meaningful relationships.

Did you know it is possible to be in a room full of people, even people you call friends, but still feel alone? There are few things worse in life than that feeling.

Loneliness is the painful awareness of isolation, emptiness and an intense longing for deeper relationships. Loneliness brings with it feelings of rejection, being left out, unwanted and misunderstood.

How do we cure loneliness?

A Japanese company invented the “hugging chair”. For $419 you do not ever have to feel alone again!

The chair is about as helpful as these three things you might have tried.

Get Busier

I’m sitting in my room alone right now, if only I was busier I would not feel so alone.

Swamp yourself with school work, keep long office hours or fill your schedule with things to do – and you will still feel lonely. Busyness does not lead to deep relationships. Maybe this is why in America we work insanely long work hours and psychologists tell us we are lonelier than ever before.

Busyness is a distraction that numbs the pain of isolation but never fixes the problem.

Sometimes business is equated with significance. Significance can be a pretty strong anesthetic. But it is only as good as those pain meds you get after your wisdom teeth get pulled, eventually they wear off and you are left with nothing but an empty hole and a nagging pain.

Get a Significant Other

Look at that couple, they seem so happy – If only I had someone to be happy with I would not feel so alone.

Our desire for intimacy drives us into what ends up being hurtful, destructive relationships.

Truth: Lonely single people just become lonely people in a relationship. Then you just break up because someone else might be able to cure your loneliness.

Even worse – bypass the “significant” part and just go for a quick hook up. Friends with benefits may seem to be better than no friends at all.

In the end, asking someone else to solve a problem they cannot solve, never works out. Also, just because someone is keeping the pillow next to you warm does not make you feel any less lonely.

Get Wasted

Forgetting is not fixing but at least I forgot for a while.

There are numerous reasons for the party culture on college campuses. I have heard one reason over and over again: For a night, escape from our pain is possible.

But it is just a night.

Like all problems in life, when we try to solve it in the wrong way, it usually results in a whole new set of issues. Distractions are not a cure – just a short fix. What if you could have a fix that lasts a lifetime?

Redefining the Loneliness

Popular thought is that loneliness is a social problem.

We say, “if only I was more outgoing…” or “If only I had one close friend…”

But what if loneliness is a spiritual problem. What if we came to God with our loneliness and let him redefine it.

He might say, “You are lonely, and that is an issue that cannot be solved by a close friend, a group, or a social experience – you need me!”

I love the story of a girl named Hagar (I know, crazy name). Her story is told in the book of Genesis.

Hagar was an Egyptian woman, meaning she was likely enslaved as a result of a lost battle. Abraham’s people said, “You become our servants and we won’t kill you.” She has made a deal, “I give you my life so you don’t kill me.”

Hagar ends up pregnant with Abraham’s son. She had done so with the full consent of his wife too!

Hagar thinks, “This is my chance. I’m going to give birth to Abraham’s heir. I have finally arrived. Life is going to get better.”

Hagar finds out though, that Abraham’s wife, Sara, is planning on just taking the Baby after birth and raising it as her own. Hagar begins to despise Sarah, she actually hates her.

Sarah comes to Abraham and complains about Hagar. Abraham says, “Do with her as you please.”

Sarah beats Hagar.

You can almost see Hagar huddled in a corner, all alone, afraid of losing her baby. She wonders why no one is coming to help her.

Eventually, she runs and hides, and seeks escape from her circumstances. She runs away, she comes to a well where she sits down. Maybe she can spend the rest of her life here.

She is all alone.

Then behind her the Angel of the Lord leans down and asks her, “Hagar, where have you come from, where are you going?”

God came near. What Hagar needed was not another friend. Hagar did not need to be busier, find a husband or drink the night away. She needed God.

Our loneliness is not a social problem it is a spiritual problem. We need God.

What would happen in your life if you pursued more of him? I wonder what would happen to our loneliness.

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