It has been said that loneliness is a serious problem in our society.
Yet we rarely hear people admitting they are lonely.
It is as though to admit it is to confess a weakness or flaw in our character when the truth is that loneliness is simply part of being human; we were created to be with others.
In Genesis 2, verse 18, God said: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
To show the extent of loneliness in society, pastor Charles Swindoll once referred to an ad in a Kansas newspaper, which read, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.”
Pastor Swindoll stated:“Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn’t long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship.”
Loneliness is something most of us will experience at some point in our lives – whether at 10 or 100 years old.
It is an emotional response to a lack of companionship or isolation.
Loneliness can be triggered by life events such as illness, loss of a loved one due to a broken relationship or death, abuse, or moving to a new location or school.
Of course, being alone does not necessarily cause loneliness because we can spend long times on our own and not feel lonely.
That can be a welcomed solitude.
But we can also feel lonely in the company of other people.
Like many others, I have experienced both loneliness and welcomed solitude.
Being an introvert, I enjoy and need long periods by myself.
But I have also experienced years of loneliness, triggered by relationship breakdown and illness.
Thankfully, I learned some ways to combat loneliness and list them here for you.
If you have limited mobility or energy, you can amend them (for instance, when I was housebound, I helped others by praying with them on my own and by phone which I still do to this day):
• give of yourself – reach out and help others;
• keep busy – hobbies and involvement in your community and church;
• watch how you think and act – -focus on the positive;
• monitor your usage of social media – studies are showing it can perpetuate loneliness;
• lastly, and most important, reach out to God –as we seek Him, we will be comforted and reminded that with Jesus in our life, we are never alone.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10.
Patricia Bryan is the pastor of His Path Christian Centre and the Academy of Prayer.