Thursday, July 23, 2009

God sets the lonely in families

The Wikipedia definition for Loneliness is;

Loneliness is an emotional state in which a person experiences a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation, of being cut off, disconnected from, and alienated towards other people. The lonely person may find it difficult or even impossible to have any form of meaningful human contact. The first recorded use of the word "lonely" was in William Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

There are many lonely people on this earth, people that fit the definition above... I've been there and its not a good place to be... I worked with lots of people, had friends and yet still felt incredibly alone. It had more to do with what was happening on the inside of me rather than on the circumstances around me.
In the grip of loneliness I even began to think that I did not have a need for others in my life because they wouldn't understand anyway, and even if they did they would not be able to help anyway. These kind of thoughts would lead to inner turmoil and anger and caused me to become even more alienated from others in my life. This often led to self-pity and so the hole got deeper and deeper. The deeper the hole got the less 'light' I saw and even the promises of God in the scriptures began to seem vague.

I couldn't stay there though and so began a journey (sometimes a very slow one) of getting out of the hole. It is not a '3-step to freedom' or 'pull yourself up by your boot laces' approach but rather a journey of firstly being renewed in my relationship with God, I needed to know he was there, I knew he was there for others but did not always believe it for myself. In that renewed and being renewed relationship I began to see the value again of people and their role in my life... in a sense I came to a place in my healing where I realised again 'I need people in my life' I could not do this journey alone. One of the symptoms of my loneliness was the thinking that I did not need anyone else I could do it alone!

So I needed God and I needed others! I suppose I was a bit like the lost son who comes to his senses and remembers what home was like.

Psalm 68:4-6 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds -- his name is the LORD-- and rejoice before him. (5) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. (6) God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. [NIV]

These verses show God is on our side, he sets the lonely into families... he is in the 'setting the prisoner free' business. I could not do it alone, I had to take the risk and tell someone what I was going through, the risk of being known, as I did that each step got easier.
I don't say that I have arrived in this area, it is still a journey and there are times I need to fight off the feelings of loneliness but I am beginning to realise (sometimes ever so slowly) that God is bigger than my situation and that he cares. I also then began to realised that there are other human beings on this earth that care as well.

'God sets the lonely in families', we need each other... we need to appreciate those God has brought across our path... we need to make right with those we are at war with while we can... we need to thank God for family... we need to not give up on the lonely.

Take some time out to thank God for others he has added to your life, and take the step of trusting that God is big enough to help you climb out of the hole of loneliness... Are you in that place right now? Tell someone.

I hope these ramblings on loneliness bring some light to those who are feeling alone... don't give up, I have come close to that in my life at times, I know the temptation is there... but God is more in pursuit of you than you are of him, take the first step.

God bless you in your journey... the Bible is full of others that have walked the same road and the common theme is 'there is hope'.


7 comments:

Greg said...

To mangle Wordsworth, "I wondered lonely in the crowd".

Oftentimes when we are hurting we DO feel 'victimised', misunderstood, isolated and our reaction to shut people out doesn't help.

Thank God that there are loving people who keep knocking at the door of our hurt, hard, lonely hearts until we let them in.

Derek said...

well said Greg thanks for the comment

Renate said...

Thank you for this piece, Derek. I love how God re-affirms his gentle dealings in one's life with other people's contributions. I have just realised once again that lonelyness is a re-active choice you make under certain circumstances and that, as is God's desire for our lives, we can choose to not be lonely, even in the loneliest of seasons - winter!

Anonymous said...

thank you Derek, I really needed to hear that blog... I ran across this verse tonight, and a lightbulb went off in my head. I prayed to God, because I have been feeling this way...I asked Him to show me something on this, and I guess the Lord uses Google for His glory after all...

Edjan said...

Thank you Derek for you r insoirational messages and your humility as always. Chewing on these things and periodically fighting to allow God and other in
I look forward to the next word of inspiration on allowing God in again....
God bless, Rod G

Anonymous said...

Thanks Derek.
Kegan Topper: Its so true, we were created for relationship and when we are not allowing ourselves to be known and we are not being risky in sharing our lives with others we can very easily become too introspective and live a very isolated and lonely life of self pity and frustration. They say that the worst form of punishment is solitary confinement, it very quickly starts to makes sense why. It is always a good reminder, that we need other people (family) in our lives, something I have had to learn over the years. Thanks again Derek for sharing your own insights and experience.

Kegan said...

Some sweet truth, thanks Derek.

Its so true, we were created for relationship and when we are not allowing ourselves to be known and we are not being risky in sharing our lives with others we can very easily become too introspective and live a very isolated and lonely life of self pity and frustration. They say that the worst form of punishment is solitary confinement, it very quickly starts to makes sense why. It is always a good reminder, that we need other people (family) in our lives, something I have had to learn over the years. Thanks again Derek for sharing your own insights and experience.