Sometimes loneliness feels like a blinking cursor on a white screen. Everything seems empty and overwhelming, and you’re not really sure how to move in the right direction.
You can be in a room teeming with people and still feel like you’re the only one there. You believe you are involved in people’s lives because you witness everything they have been doing via social media, but in reality, you’re lonelier than ever.
With our “overconnected” society, it’s ironic that we often feel so disconnected. We have access to our friends’, families’, and even strangers’ lives at the scroll of our thumbs. But because we are not involved in their experiences, we begin to feel detached and overlooked, often nudging us into dissatisfaction and isolation. These addictions in our back pockets are deceiving us into believing we are the only ones not involved—that we are excluded, hidden, invisible.
These addictions in our back pockets are deceiving us into believing we are the only ones not involved—that we are excluded, hidden, invisible.
Because this subject is often not talked about, especially at church where it seems as though everyone knows someone, we wanted to take a moment to dispel the lies of the enemy and let you know that you are loved, and God sees you.
If you are feeling withdrawn, here are seven tips to combat loneliness:
1. Spend time with God
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter (John 14:16). It also tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6). So as lonely as we may feel, we can rest in the truth of God’s Word that He is always with us.
Spend time reading the Bible. Set aside time to seek what His truth reveals, and declare that over your life. Linger in prayer. Have conversation with the Lord. Listen for His voice and write down or journal the words He speaks over you. Most of the time, when we feel lonely, it’s not so much that we haven’t been spending time with people, but that we haven’t been spending much-needed time with the Lover of our souls.
2. Get plugged in
At large churches, it can be easy to walk in, attend service, and slip out of the lobby without even saying hi to somebody.
At Rock Church, one way to get plugged in is to join an rGroup. Nicole, a longtime member of the church, states, “When I first started attending the Rock, it was almost intimidating to try to meet anybody to form any real relationships. There was a table outside in the lobby one day after service to sign up for an rGroup. So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to join one. I didn’t know the leader or anybody in the group, but from the very first moment I walked through the door, I felt welcomed and included. Soon, not only were we meeting on Wednesday nights, but we were attending service on Sundays together. I had people in my life that I could call when I needed prayer. I had friends to talk to and go out to dinner with.”
3. Do something for other people
It’s a funny thing, when you start caring about other people, you start worrying about yourself less. Rock Church has hundreds of ministries where you can serve other people, many of the ministries probably involving something you enjoy, like hiking or art or cooking. Take the LIFE Class to discover your God-given calling and find out where you can pour into others.
Serving in a ministry helps redirect the focus from yourself and encourages you to get connected. One team member says, “I was just sort of going through the motions until I decided to join the Youth Ministry and be a youth leader. Not only was I able to be involved in something important, but I also met numerous other leaders with whom I quickly became friends. Soon, I wasn’t able to walk into church without seeing somebody I knew. Serving in Youth was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
4. Make time for self-care
Many times, people feel like taking care of themselves is selfish, so they neglect their own needs. But similar to a flight attendant's instructions prior to a flight, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you help somebody else. You won’t be able to give your best to those you are serving if you haven’t taken care of yourself.
Sometimes to get out of the lonely rut, merely doing something you enjoy can make a difference in your spirit. Go for a walk, sit by the beach, get some rest—whatever brings you joy, do that. And if you’re really feeling lonely, rather than doing these things by yourself, ask a friend to join you.
5. Get off the screens
Though social media might cause us to think we are connected, it can often leave us feeling even more lonely. It’s been said that social media brings us closer to those who are far away but far away from those who are close to us. When we are on our phones all the time, how can we truly connect with those who are sitting right in front of us? Our screens keep us from genuine connection and actual face time. Put the phone down. Turn off the TV. Shut the laptop. Enjoy real conversation with real people.
6. Stop the negative thought cycles
It’s almost easy to stay lonely once you’re feeling that way. You can begin this negative cycle of thinking that entraps you. “Nobody wants to hang out with me anyway.” “They didn’t invite me again.” “I don’t have any real friends.”
These thoughts are not only negative, but they’re lies from the enemy. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive and bring it into the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). In order to capture your thoughts, you need to know the truth of God. Read His Word and extinguish those negative thought cycles by declaring God’s truth: You are loved. You were created for purpose. God created you to be in relationship with others.
7. Reach out
Don’t stay in your loneliness without telling anybody how you feel. It will only keep you in your darkness longer. Reach out to a friend, even if they live in a different state. Call up a buddy and ask them to hang out. Other people might have no idea you feel lonely, but they would absolutely love to spend time with you if you simply said something.
Rock Church also has an amazing Pastoral Care Ministry. If you are beginning to really feel isolated and don’t know who to turn to, please click here and one of our trained counselors will connect with you.
Please know that God is with you. Get connected. Reach out to somebody.
You are not alone.