Read Psalm 25
I travel to different place all around the world. Mainly it is connected to my work as a Pastor. In my time working in all of these different places I have experienced a great amount of joy… and sorrow. Joy in the way that I have been blessed to meet and make friends in so many different countries, towns and cities. Sorry for how I have seen people suffer. In all of these times of travel, I normally have a travel companion whom knows me well. The one time I did not bring a travel companion with me was the time I felt the pain of loneliness. I’ll tell you how I overcame this, but let me share this with you first…
I remember it well. I had just arrived to Jerusalem and had experienced a long flight (15-16 hours). I had one layover of two hours and I had to wait in secondary security for just over two hours. The total travel time was just about 20 hours and I was awake for 90% of it. That led me to a place of physical and emotional exhaustion.
When I arrived in the Old City of Jerusalem, all I wanted to do was go back home. I was so incredibly homesick and lonely I kept asking myself “What am I doing here?”. I recognized that my feelings had become a runaway train that I could no longer manage. Everything brought tears to my eyes. Talking to my wife… tears. Face-timing with my kids… tears. Looking at my sad face in the mirror… you guessed it, tears.
I had no idea what that meant for the remainder of the trip, except that… I was just beginning. In that time of loneliness I decided to do a few things.
(As you read on I’d like to make sure yo know, this is just my anecdotal experience. If you are feeling prolonged loneliness you may be dealing with something you need professional help. I know this from experience. If you feel like the loneliness doesn’t go away with steps like these, seek out a professional therapist.)
Remember that Jesus was human. He probably felt this way at times. Loneliness is normal and is something everybody on the planet feels. We all feel this way because we are created with an insatiable desire to be with people. Jesus was human and therefore had these same feelings. This causes me to love him more and more. I did a quick bible search and found Psalm 25 as a Psalm to rest my spirit in.
Let people know. Loneliness begins to end when you invite people in. It takes time. It doesn’t go away right away, but the healing begins inside of relationships. I let about 10 people know how I was feeling. These were people I know love me and would pray for me and they did. They prayed for me for 24 hours and asked God to comfort my heart.
Rest. Your body is in need of rest. Your soul needs rest. Your spirit needs rest. Your mind needs rest. If you are someone, like me, that is always working on something. Friend, take it from me, you are exhausted. Stop. Sleep. It’s time to let your body rest so your mind can relax and your heart can find peace. Take some time to sleep or walk or do something restful.
Embrace the truth. Without starting an entirely different blogpost, I’ll say this. The truth is what helps us heal. If I was feeling sadness, it was time for me to wrestle with that truth. I have felt sadness for a long time in my life until I began my journey of healing my soul. Loneliness sparked a considerable amount of pain and because I have made a practice of receiving professional and regular counseling coupled with great and multiple mentors and friends… I have learned to embrace these moments and listen to God’s voice to me in them.
Finally (Step Five):
For me it all comes back to the words in Psalm 25. Put your trust in God to be the one whom will deliver you. He will be the one that leads and guides and cares for you. He is the one that saves you. He is the one that loves you. Trust the Lord to be your strength. Trust him to be your shield… even when you can’t feel it. Even when loneliness is darkening your door… trust. Trust because… God… is… there. He loves you and desires greatly that you experience relationship… with him.
These are the things I’ve learned along the way that have helped me overcome my loneliness. That night I was so lonely and tired. So I slept. The next morning I felt a whole lot better. Then I made some new friends. The prayers of my wife, mentors and friends were helping. Within 12 hours of those deep lonely feelings, I felt better. The next day was better, the next day was even better. Now I am annoyed and want to be alone… just kidding.
If you are feeling alone. Reach out to people. Even having people online or via text helps. God bless you friend.