We cannot have empathy and connection until we first arrive at a place of vulnerability and grace. So here we are, unraveling the complexity of people and the brokenness behind loneliness until we arrive at the place where grace binds us all together.
I had spent some time reading through past journals that were scribbled in through times of deep loneliness in my life. However, it was one sentence that explained the depth of it in such an honest, yet heartbreaking way that made me wonder if there were not hundreds of others out there struggling with the very same thing. I have read statistics that college age people suffer from loneliness more than any other, but I have noticed that we also suffer from the lack of vulnerability that would ever bring us to that conclusion. This statistic does not devalue any other age group that would possibly suffer from loneliness as well. But, my heart broke for these people, from the sadness embedded in the words I had once written, and from the lack of hope loneliness had entailed in my life.
Across a tear-stained page was written, “I’ve made a friend with loneliness and it has become a better friend than I have ever known”
I have been through some depths of loneliness that were rooted in lack of faith and partially rooted in deep hurt, and yet it was that same loneliness that deepened my faith in unexplainable ways.
I have learned two things that counter loneliness. The first is that people have the potential to be extremely complicated and conflicting which often results in a complete withdraw. The second is that relationships are often far more complex than not which results in the fear of rejection or ever initiating one to begin with.
Due to the two combined we have allowed the enemy to convince us that loneliness is better than the destructive effect from either or. On spiritual and scientific terms. My heart broke as I read the statistics and realized how my generation has allowed a major decrease in spirituality through the effect of loneliness. Scientists may not have released this knowledge for the sake of spirituality, but we can still see that our lack of spirituality is being proven through this science. Everything we lack leads back to a lack of God in our lives. Statistics show:
“More recent data show that one in five millennials have no friends at all. And a survey released in 2020 found that 71 percent of millennials and almost 79 percent of Gen Z respondents report feeling lonely—a significantly greater proportion than other generations.”
“Loneliness and isolation can lead to a wide range of negative health consequences including:2
- Cardiovascular disease
- Substance misuse
Whether we realize it or not, loneliness has a major negative effect on us spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
“It is better than the pain people could potentially inflict on us.
It is better than enduring another heartbreak.
It is better than the backlash and backstabbing.
It is better than the mock-ups and those who once masked themselves as friends.”
We allow the negative effect of loneliness to become our internal purpose. We allow ourselves to live our lives with this concrete mindset that loneliness is a safety net. Our hearts, though grieving, are guarded by the stronghold of seclusion. There is unexplainable sorrow that hides within the atmosphere; though sadness embeds our hearts, we have synchronized the meaning of security and sorrow to play their roles in such a way that one could not coexist without the other. Loneliness has converted itself from being a feeling to being a friend. Within the seclusion lies safety and security in which has never been experienced outside of the sorrow loneliness offers.
It’s better. We have convinced ourselves of this. The familiarity shifted within those two words have been implemented in partial bitterness, but in even more personal heartache than anything else. And I know you feel it, too.
What breaks my heart the most is that somewhere along the line, out of all of the self-inflicted sorrow, we have allowed the enemy to convince us of this:
Hurting alone is far better than to be hurt by another.
So we endure loneliness. Because it is better. Or because it is familiar. We have grown to enjoy the taste of familiarity when there is nothing else to grasp on too.
But it is not better; not when it takes a toll on your life completely.
Not when it negatively affects you and the people who are relying on you to be the person God has so distinctively created you to be.
It is better, until…
The sweet taste of friendship touches the corners of your life, and you realize the depth of your loneliness is nothing but self-inflicted pain.
That God did not create each individual to be isolated, but rather to be united.
That isolation is the very thing that suffocates every good thing from your life.
And that maybe there is more beyond our hurt, grief, and pain that could become the transformation towards the healing, grace, and purpose we so desperately need in our lives.
People are broken, and there is always a risk in loving, but that is exactly what grace is for.
Did God not take a risk when He sent His son to die on the cross knowing that we would not all accept His gracious gift of Salvation?
Maybe, our lives, though broken and shattered in many ways, were meant to be tied together by Grace all along.
Loneliness is not better, but maybe it has taught us how to better ourselves along the way; how to show up with grace in the intensity of complex relationships and worn-down friendships.
At the end of the day, life was never meant to be lived hurting alone; when we could be healing together.
Love and blessings,