Breanna. Learning to love and be loved from the One who is Love.
Grace carried me here,
and by Grace I’ll carry on.
- Myunghwa Choi, ”Loneliness Unmasked” sermon
- Misty Edwards
I feel most loved by having quality time with others and physical, affectionate touch.
It has always really hard for me to be alone. For a number of seasons in my life, I have struggled with loneliness, isolation, and some neglect. Mostly from age 13 up until my most recent years. I hate being alone. It feels like the worst thing that could happen to me. It depresses me, it makes me sad, it makes me cry, it makes me just overall feel very empty. On bad days, I will take naps so I don’t have to be awake and conscious of how lonely I feel.
This is not to say I don’t reach out to others or try to not be alone, or be near people, but somehow I still often end up in situations where I spend so much time alone with not much choice in changing that.
Loneliness for me has been a trigger for sin to happen. I used to wonder why when I was so alone that I would begin listening to bad music, or think lustful thoughts, or whatever the temptation was that I would give into. I also noticed I would begin to give into friendships that weren’t so good for me just because people are willing to hang out with me and that was all I wanted. And I realized it stemmed from self-loathing and self-hatred, or that I was pitiful to need people so much I’d get this way. Loneliness made me feel bad about myself. I would be frustrated about my life, and frustrated about how I felt, and I would take it out on myself as a way of saying, “I’m no good anyways. That’s why no one loves me or spends time with me.” It was like it didn’t matter what I did, because I didn’t matter.
When people don’t want to spend time with me as much as I do with them, when they turn me down or don’t even respond to when I ask, or they leave me hanging, I feel terrible. It is the worst kind of “no”. Because for me, spending time with me means you love me. Not spending time with me means you don’t love me. Or not very much. Being close to me, touching me affectionately (appropriately of course), or just being present makes me feel so loved. So with people seem not to want to, or know I want to but do nothing, I have really struggled with feeling unloved, insignificant, unimportant, or rejected.
I’m baring my heart in all this because I feel like there is something really vital I realized today, and it may help someone else who can identify with how I have felt so many times because being alone or feeling lonely.
Quality time and physical touch and how much you are loved are two separate things.
I am loved.
I am always loved.
It is not a fluctuating thing dependent on if people want to be with me or if I am alone or not.
When I am alone, I am loved. I am not loved less or more depending on if others spend time with me, or want to, or if they are willing to be close to me and express affection through touch.
The most important thing for someone struggling with loneliness and being alone often is to realize how loved you are, and be secure in that love.
And even when you are alone, God is always present. It may be hard to turn to Him when you want a physical person with you, but God knows your heart and loves you better than any person on the face of this earth could.
When I need comfort, He is there; it is His arms that hold me. When I am sad, He is my joy.
What I’ve learned is that God will use time alone to draw you closer to Him and help you see He is truly all you need. He will use that time you long for companionship to show you He is the Best Friend you could ever hope for. He is faithful. He knows your heart intimately and He wants for you to know the depths of His love and for you to be so secure in that.
God is still growing me in this area, I still struggle, but things are so much better. Because I really know He’s there for me and loves me, He’s present in my life. I also know there are people who love me, especially my family. And now even when I am alone, I can be comfortable and secure. That is so huge for me, and I seriously thank God for that because it’s all Him. I believe wholeheartedly He can do this in your heart as well and I hope if you struggle with this too, you know how much He loves you, and that He is present with you right now.
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
- Jamie Tworkowkski
People spend so much of their time -especially their single years- wanting, waiting, longing to be loved.
But if we just realize for a moment how loved we are, and how much love we have to give to others who also need loved, we would spend our time experiencing love in a fuller way rather than dreaming and hoping for it.
I hope next time I just want to be loved I will look to the Father, and remember how much He loves me. I hope next time I just want to be loved I would just look at my family and realize how much love there is there. From friends to acquaintances to a stranger I never will see again who showed me love, I hope if I ever am in want of love, I will realized how full of it my life is. And I hope I will give love to others out of the abundance. I hope I can be someone else’s reminder: you are loved.
We were created for intimacy with Christ first. Even though God created Eve for Adam because “it was not good for him to be alone”, we must always remember that our needs for intimacy should be fulfilled through our relationship with God first. Otherwise we will seek out unhealthy intimacy with others.
Unhealthy intimacy comes about when it becomes all about gaining attention for ourselves and when we are focused on self, our needs, our wants, and our desires. This can happen in both friendships with someone of the same or different gender. And in the end, it’s not a very enjoyable intimacy when one or both persons are focused on themselves.
I heard someone say that the goal of intimacy is enjoyment once. I agree that one of the fruits of our relationships is enjoyment, but I don’t think it’s the goal. The goal is that our relationship with God should be reflected with our relationships with others, and through our relationships we learn to become more like Christ. We learn to love them as Christ loves us. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). So as we get to know others more intimately, it is for the purpose of learning to love them as Christ does. It’s not about self. If our goals are seeking to meet our needs and only our enjoyment, then we are going to end up not able to love them with that greater love by surrendering ourselves.
It seems that relationships today are more and more about self. It’s about me. We try to find what we want, what meets our needs, and we’re dissatisfied when we don’t, or when it doesn’t ultimately satisfy our wants or needs. That is because in our relationships, we should be seeking most of all to love others in the way Christ loved us- as we grow in deeper knowledge of Him through intimacy. We can’t pursue intimacy in our relationships with others apart from a relationship with God and a right view of what relationships should be.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that non-Christians see relationships as things that they do themselves. It is a direct process between two people, with no intermediary steps. By contrast, Christians do everything through Jesus. He is Mediator, both between God and man, and between man and man. This is part of what makes it so hard to have and cultivate a Christian relationship. It strikes at the heart of man’s pride, because it calls us to admit that we are not self-sufficient, and to surrender something to Christ that we thought we could do ourselves.
If we are simply just seeking intimacy because we were created with that need, we are not going to be fulfilled in our relationships. Because then it’s only about us. But if we are seeking to learn how to love each other in the way Christ loves, and to point one another towards Him, we will find great joy and fruit that honors and glorifies God. And others will be able to be blessed by it, too.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” John 4:12
- Mother Teresa
- Shana Abé
- Donald Miller