It comes in different forms, doesn’t it? Loneliness. One woman’s joy, could be another woman’s struggle. I’m seeing it two ways: There are subjective experiences which can prompt loneliness…
…the empty nester
…..the stay at home mom with an infant
…….the independent young adult moved away from home
…………moving to a new city
………..the extrovert with an open schedule
And then there are objective experiences, which are across the board for most women…
…the loss of a spouse, child, friend
…..a spiteful comment
……..exclusion from community
……….the rebellion of a child
…………long distance dating
…………..the ending of a relationship
……………a diagnosis from the doctor
But common to both subjective and objective loneliness is that we have all been there!
So, what to do with it?
The following are not my own words, but rather of a woman far more qualified. Elisabeth Elliot is a beloved author who herself endured many trials among which are losing two spouses, raising an infant in the jungle, and bearing the burdens of thousands through her ministry over the course of her life. Number IV and VII are my favorite. Here are her thoughts:
I. Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge.
II. Remember that you are not alone. “The Lord, He it is that goes with you. He will never fail nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage.” (Duet. 31:8) Jesus promised His disciples. “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:20) Never mind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for a moment forgetting you.
III. Give thanks. In my times of great loneliness I have been lifted up by the promise of 2 Corinthians 4:17,18, “For this slight and momentary trouble is preparing for us an eternal glory beyond all comparison.” This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which sees a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.
IV. Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.
V. Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that bring you to God. It will not always last.
VI. Offer up your loneliness to God. God can transform it for the good of others.
VII. Do something for somebody else. No matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you, so that where there is loneliness you can bring joy. (I wrote more on this one here)
I return to this practical “guide” whenever I need it or know of someone who needs it. May it be a gift and tool for you as well!
from Passion and Purity; pgs.79&80
photo credit: here