How do we as Christians deal with loneliness and isolation?

Hello, my question is pretty short lol

How do we as Christians deal with loneliness and isolation?

To give more background there are some of us who go through long periods of loneliness. We don’t have any to really relate to. I’ve tried different churches and it’s hard to find a place where you feel comfortable. While in this transition how should we deal with this?

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Luna,

Thank you for asking your question. As you said, this is not something that you alone are dealing with. Many people struggle with this regularly. It has definitely been a part of my story as well.

First, I’d love to refer to a response I gave a while back in response to a similar question in case that is helpful at all. Here is the link: I feel the most lonely at church

In addition to that article, I would also add that what changed the loneliness for me was making friends outside the church. I have great neighbors and friends that don’t go to my church at all that I spend my time with. This has enabled me to change my expectation of what the church has to offer me so that I am less disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I think church community is still something to be desired, but I’ve had to recognize that for many communities, it still needs to be improved. One way in which churches have recognized this and made steps in the right direction is by having small groups and Sunday schools which are great, but the desire for the community must come from the individuals in the church who initiate and reach out to people. I say this because I see you’ve mentioned that you have tried different churches and I’m sure there is disappointment with the lack of connection there, but if you are able to have a community of friends outside the church, then no matter what church you go to you will have stability. So, the most important thing for you to do is to build relationships where you can. That may be over the phone or face to face with friends and/or family members. It’s ok to have 2-3 friends that are close with you, and many more that are more on the acquaintance level.

Additionally, there is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone. Being alone is a physical description of a circumstance, whereas loneliness describes a feeling or perception. There are many people who are surrounded by people all the time, yet feel lonely. How is that possible? Because loneliness is also about connection with others, not just being in the physical presence of others. Loneliness is brought on by feeling like you have to do life on your own. Whether that is physically going to the store, sitting at home and having no one to watch a movie with, or even having someone to process through life’s ups and downs with. With this said, you can be with many people that you do not have any connection to and still feel lonely. In these moments of isolation, I want you to recognize that you are not alone. At the end of Matthew, Jesus says that He will be with us always, even unto the end of the age (see 28:20). This means that even when you are feeling the loneliness and isolation, as a Christian you are never fully alone. When I have felt lonely, this truth has led me to sometimes put worship music on in my house, so that even if I am doing other things, I have created an atmosphere where Jesus feels much closer to me. No matter how alone I may feel, the truth is that I am never alone.

One thing to keep in mind is that the effects of heavy Social Media usage and depression and loneliness have been greatly documented. The reason why I raise this is because you may want to consider the amount of time you spend on Social Media outlets and consider if that is making things worse for you.

So in this transition, recognize that you are not the only one who feels this way, take a look around you at your circle of people whether at work, school, gym, etc that you can make deeper relationships with, and also understand that we can’t have the expectation that the church will meet all the areas of need for us. But first and foremost, recognize, that although you may be experiencing loneliness, that isn’t the whole story. Jesus is always there. Talk to Him in those times. I hope that helps in some way, Luna.

Alycia

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