Giving up loneliness and learn to love others.
There is a big difference between loneliness and being alone. Loneliness creates a huge ache and feeling of rejection. Being alone presents one with a time of recuperation, meditation, and self-care.
Aloneness is required for rest and good mental health. Also called solitude, withdrawal, or unplugging, it is a good description of what Jesus did when he withdrew for time to pray.
Loneliness is often caused by bad habits, fear of others, or inwardness. Research shows that social relationships are crucial to emotional well-being. Yet, 1/3 of adults over 45 experience chronic loneliness. This translates to increased risk for depression, cognitive decline, and dementia.
In order to address loneliness, there must be a companion desire to live in a way that includes others – intentionally and with a purpose. This plan might include finding a way to serve an individual or through an organization such as a church or a non-profit. Loving and serving others is an antidote to loneliness.
The opposite of loneliness is not becoming a party animal. It is, however, to include enough other people in your life to feel loved, to create a sense of community, and to receive valuable input and growth. Who keeps you from feeling lonely?
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him, ” Genesis 2:18.
“Turn to me and have mercy for I am alone and in deep distress, ” Psalm 25:16-21.
“I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, ‘Who am I working for?
“Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?’ It is all so meaningless and depressing?” Ecclesiastes 4:7-8.
Question: Do you ever feel lonely? When?
Activity: List 2-3 ways that you can purposely include others in your life? Choose one activity that you would like to implement to increase your feelings of connection and love.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, we know that there were times when you withdrew from the crowds in order to restore your strength and energy. Yet at other times you were fully engaged with your disciples as well as the crowds of people who wanted to be with you . Please help us to have that same sort of balance in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.