Does loneliness make you feel blue lately? Staying home alone during Covid or long hard winters or other life events that isolate us can make us sad and give us a case of the blues. Loneliness is a distinct malaise from just being alone. Loneliness can take our mind, will and emotions captive, blanketing our being with a deep sadness or even despair.
Situations that we can’t control may contribute to our sense of separation. In the workplace, working long hours or odd hours can remove us from social involvement. Long-term illness or recovery from an operation can affect our well-being, not to mention dealing with physical pain or the fear of the unknown. Aging can certainly bring on loneliness as, one-by-one, people see their friends and family members dying. Other causes of loneliness are divorce, unemployment, or death of a spouse, all sending the emotions spiraling downward. Is there anything we can do to escape the blues?
First I will mention a couple of things that are available to us but don’t really work to reach us in our emotions. These are just Band-Aids.
Watching endless hours of television shows just to see other people and have their voices in the room may seem very helpful. Unfortunately this fix will only numb you as you affix yourself to your recliner.
Social media and online games may entertain you for a while, but again the real medicine is found in human contact not in monotonous game playing. Be careful not to get drawn into cult-like websites that prey on the needs of lonely people. Do not risk your safety or your savings by believing false bad actors you meet online.
Let’s turn instead to the promise of God’s ability to comfort and care for us. Psalm 68:5-6 explains who God is for us. “A Father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity…”
God may seem austere as we picture Him here in His holy temple, unaffected by human suffering. This passage corrects that view by saying that, although He is up there, He is also down here in our midst. He is far but also very near, actively paying close attention to the needs of the lonely and the afflicted. He may be removed, but He is not aloof. This dual proximity of our holy God is the celebration of the Psalmist. Orphans, widows and prisoners all have access to Him in their dire need. This gives us hope that God is also accessible and responsive to us.
In another passage is a similar celebration of God’s willingness to step in to meet us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction…” Again God administrates the title of Father, the Supreme Father who watches over His children, caring for them.
The word “comfort” in the Old Testament language means “to wrap” as in binding up a wound. Let’s face it, loneliness is an emotional wound like having a hole in your heart. We feel empty, unloved and beyond reach.
In the New Testament Greek, it means “solace” which is a resolve or relief from our despondency. God has a way of responding to our loneliness by filling our heart with His love for us. Never underestimate the reach of the Holy Spirit to keep us out of despair.
Here are some practical steps to combat loneliness and escape the blues. First, take consolation in who God is for you. Re-read these two scripture verses I have cited and really take them to heart. Tell God that you need Him to be who He says He is for you. Confess your need, open up about your feelings and don’t down-play your emotions.
Second, ask God for new opportunities to make friends and get into new groups. Step out in faith as He opens doors for you. Come out of your lonely prison cell and make plans to meet new people.
Third, make new friends by being a good friend. Don’t make relationships all about you. Learn how to care about others. Be a good listener. There may be someone that you can help along the way.
Finally, don’t just wait for people to contact you. Reach out to people in your sphere. Get in touch with longtime friends. Make lunch or dinner dates. Step out of your comfort zone. Solve our social vacuum by joining a group, a church, a gym, or volunteer organization. Start doing new activities to meet new people. God will open doors that are suitable for you. Be encouraged and look forward. Worship and praise God for who He is and you won’t be blue anymore!