No Longer LonelyTammy Darling explains how we can use God's Word to help lead us out of loneliness.
As I looked around the room, I was startled by the stark realization that I was so lonely, even in a room full of people.
I was in a dark season of my life and felt very disconnected—like I was there but not, living but not fully alive. It was like I was watching my life lived out before me, but I wasn’t an active participant. I was in a deep, dark pit of despair where hope had long since gone missing. I didn’t feel like there was anyone who could truly “get” what I was going through, which only compounded the loneliness I felt.
I sighed deeply and continued going through the motions. This wasn’t my first rodeo; I had been battered by the bull of loneliness many times before. But this was deeper, darker somehow.
Could it be that the more loneliness one experiences, the more the loneliness takes root and becomes a deeply entrenched part of one’s life? I was beginning to believe that this was the case.
My earliest memory of loneliness is as a five-year-old girl sitting alone on my bedroom floor, holding my doll and listening to the sounds of family throughout the house. Two parents, two sisters and a brother, but still I was lonely.
As time went on and my loneliness grew, so did my definition and understanding of it.
NO RESPITE AS A TEEN
In my teen years, I went through many seasons of loneliness as I struggled with my growing independence, with who I was and who I was becoming and with my faith. My late teen marriage, which by the grace of God is still growing stronger with each passing year, provided little relief from the bouts of loneliness; the loneliness just took on a different facet.
In my marriage, I felt like a roommate more than a spouse. The loneliness in my marriage caused me to withdraw and create walls as I became insecure once again with who I was. The social isolation in my marriage spread to other relationships. I soon found myself swimming in a sea of loneliness that I never wanted to take a dip in, yet now I seemed to be immersed in it, drowning with no foreseeable rescue in sight.
PANIC SET IN
Then it happened: My rescue came in the form of panic attacks, a result of the ongoing loneliness. Suddenly my thoughts of loneliness turned to thoughts of survival, for I truly thought that I was dying when a panic attack hit—and at times I wanted to.
I lost a year of my life to panic attacks as I could not function normally. Ironically, I had to rely on and cling to others to simply get through each day. Those I had once felt so isolated from now became my lifelines.
One such person gave me a Christian book on the power of positive thinking. Another encouraged me to read the Bible—consistently. I spent days going back and forth between these two books and my life has since been revolutionized by them.
I began to see bit by bit how I had come to be so susceptible to loneliness. The biggest culprit was my faulty thinking. Looking back, I realize now how much of what I believed about myself, about others and about my circumstances led to my feelings of insecurity and isolation as well as the subsequent loneliness.
As I continued to read the Bible and the book on positive thinking, I saw how important our thoughts and words are. I immediately began to speak the truth of what I was learning. I chose to believe that the Bible is true and that God is who He says He is, and, therefore, I am who He says I am.
When negative thoughts entered my mind, I cast them out and immediately replaced them with positive words and Scripture. I started to notice that not only was I experiencing fewer panic attacks, but I was also feeling less lonely.
I realized that loneliness is a way that the enemy of our souls tries to keep us isolated. We weren’t meant to be alone or feel abandoned, but this is precisely what loneliness does.
I might have been with others, as in the same room, but I wasn’t really with them in the sense of being connected. The panic attacks that arose from my loneliness made me see how vitally important it is to nurture relationships with others. Once I saw how negative my thoughts and words had become, I became proactive about my life instead of complaining that I was lonely.
I can’t remember how long it’s been since I last felt lonely. I do know loneliness is no longer a constant companion and for that I am grateful. Because loneliness is not a part of the abundant life Jesus came to give us, it’s important that we overcome any loneliness we may be experiencing so that we can help others overcome their own sense of aloneness.
I thank God I am no longer lonely!
This article was originally published in the October 2016 issue of The War Cry.