She looked me square in the face and said, “You have to let people in. When someone offers to be there for you, take them up on it!” I was a young mom of three, didn’t really know anyone that well in this new, little church we served. I wasn’t from the area. I didn’t know anyone even remotely close by and my family lived far away. It was hard for me to fathom that this woman, who had only known me for a very short while, really wanted me to call on her when I needed anything. When she said anytime and anything she meant it. I wish I could say I readily accepted and believed she meant it, but it took some time and convincing from her really being there for me repeatedly that I began to see she really was for me!
We can be in a crowded room of people and still feel lonely, yet so often we live in its birthplace – in the ALONE. That is a quite different place. Alone is isolation. It is barren. It is lifeless. It is “the exclusion of others.” Lonely is “characterized by the feeling of being alone,” but not necessarily the truth of it! As I look back over the times in my life I’ve said I was living in the alone, I realize that it was actually quite the opposite. People were all around me – people that were actually physically telling me, “I’m here for you,” but I couldn’t actually receive it. So, time, even years would go by, and I found company in the misery of what I perceived was the truth of my life. What I thought was my state of being became my friend. I sought that it would bring attention to me. “Wouldn’t others take pity on me if I just felt sorry for myself?” That never really works out for us. So, over time, I began to believe that I was really living a life that was quite the opposite of the lie I’d fallen for. God had put me in a place, surrounded me with people who were truly for my family and me.
Loneliness that says, “Yes” to others also says “Yes” to living!
I began to live, really live. I had to come to a place in my life all those years ago that I would no longer live in some state of being I had really created for myself, but I would celebrate the life happening around me. I would join the life happening around me.
All this time later, it has changed the way our home lives. When we say we are for people, it comes from a place, for me, of knowing how it felt that first time of realizing someone was for me. Studies show that loneliness can be detrimental for our health. My guess is choosing to live in loneliness is even more so! Maybe the challenge today is for you to finally believe that people are for you, that you are wanted. Sometimes the biggest struggle is just letting go of our fear that if we choose to let others in we will be hurt. Isn’t it really worth the risk? What have we really got to lose?
Friend, saying we are alone is a lie! We are, child of God, never alone! God said it plainly to us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”(Deuteronomy 31:6) Do not be deceived by the enemy, who would convince you to remain in some state of being when you’ve been given an everyday hope as a follower of Christ that you would never have to be alone again. He knows your name.