Since Valentine’s Day was last week, I know there can be a lot of feelings, good and bad and in between, that can crop up. There are so many conflicting messages out there about the holiday. And while I’m not one of the people that hates Valentine’s Day or flowers or people in love, I am also not going to say that it wasn’t difficult for me.
While my depression has always caused some seasons of loneliness, this year has been capitalizing on that emotion. I think we can all agree that the pandemic, various lockdowns, and on and off quarantine times have made the lack of social interaction a heightened problem. I say this, not just coming from being single on Valentine’s Day, but from an overwhelming feeling of isolation from others. I think last week brought these feelings full force to the forefront of my heart again. This loneliness isn’t just something us single people experience; it stems from the heart of humanity. While explaining my feelings to a friend this past week she told me something so simple yet so profound.
How easy it is for my heart to forget this foundational truth. Although God tells us many times that He is with us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23:4), somehow my head forgets that I will never be alone. Though this is true, how does one cope with the emotions? Even if we never experience another pandemic, there will always be deaths, losses, people will move, and things will change. But the question still is: What do we do with this loneliness? It sounds like a futile effort, like disagreeable emotions will always be lurking, waiting for a moment to take over the truth. This isn’t the case, though.
1. Give yourself the grace to acknowledge this feeling as real and valid.
Unpleasant emotions are real and they matter. It is okay to feel them. They don’t make you any less worthy of God’s promises and presence.
2. Remind yourself of who God is.
God is for you (Psalm 59:6), He hears you (Psalm 24:17-18), He satisfies you (Philippians 4:19), He is trustworthy (Psalm 18:30), and He loves you (1 John 4:9-10).
3. Surround yourself with people that are consistent with the Lord and are consistent with you.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” (Proverbs 27:17).
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” (James 5:16).
If my friend who loves the Lord and loves me hadn’t reminded me of this, I could have been stuck for a while trying to dig my way out of the pit of loneliness. One of the gifts that God gives to us is a community or friendships that are Biblically centered. These people are who help keep you accountable, encourage you, and point you to the truths. How sweet of the Lord that He doesn’t have us do life alone, even though He’s all we need.
4. Seek the Truth and rest in His promises.
The truth is this simple:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39 ESV).
Loneliness isn’t something we can tackle on our own. The Lord doesn’t want us to. Instead, He invites us to see that His promises are true in that He is always with us. He is with us when we fight the lies of loneliness. He is with us when we feel abandoned. He is with us when we feel lost or distant.