Monday, January 29, 2007

I Have Felt Loneliness

I wrote this post last night after pondering the question a friend asked me recently, "have you ever experienced loneliness?" Without hesitation I immediately responded, "yes". I know my response surprised her, in fact at times it even surprises me, but only in the last several years was I able to recognize it or even understand how it creeps into my life. I had hit the publish button and went to bed, but this morning I had some additional thoughts.

Loneliness as described in Webster's dictionary, is being without company,cut off from others,not frequented by human beings, sad from being alone, producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn't desire "alone" time. But this wasn't what my friend was referring to. She was talking about what Harold Rupp quotes in the book, "A Woman in her Home", "loneliness is not so much a matter of isolation as of insulation."

There are many circumstances in which I have found myself insulated from others.

I have felt the deep loneliness of location - often separated from family.
I have felt the loneliness of aloneness - in a strange land, pressed on every side by many people.
I have felt the loneliness of wife hood - when my husband's tasks took him away, often and long.
I have felt the loneliness of motherhood - when no one understood. or could lend a helping hand.
I have felt the loneliness of friendship - when the phone doesn't ring and my box is empty
I have felt the loneliness of standing up for what is right - while others mocked, laughed, and looked on with pity.
I have felt the loneliness of deeply involved decisions - which no one else could solve.
At times I still experience loneliness.

The hardest thing to do during intense struggles, change, disappointments, pain, weariness, all of which can take place in the day to day life of a wife, mother, employee etc. is to continually reach out to others. It is during these times that we sometimes insulate our hearts in a defensive nature assuming that we will be protected. When in actuality we are allowing the disease of loneliness to have its perfect breeding ground.

One of the distinct characteristics I noticed in experiencing loneliness in my own life was my focus had slowly shifted from pleasing God to looking at myself and allowing my circumstances to dictate how I felt rather than God and His word. I needed more than ever to reach out to others, attend a weekly bible study or mom's group and yet during these times I have every excuse in the world not to go, not to reach out, not to risk the possibility of feeling worse.

Dee Brestin in her book, "The Friendships of Women" states,
Intimacy is risky. No doubt about it. If I reach out to a woman to whom I am drawn, she may reject me. If I tell a woman that I love her, that I cherish her as a friend, she may respond little (or not at all). If I open my soul to another, trusting her with my dark side of failure, she may draw back in shocked silence (or she may tell others). If I love out of the overflow of my heart, promise another unfailing love until the day I die, then I have bound myself before God( and I bring upon myself His wrath if I break my vow) Risky. Risky. Risky.

It is risky, but as I shared with my friend, "God never leaves us, nor forsakes us." I encouraged her to begin attending the ladies bible study in her church. I told her, "It will take courage to fight through the walls that have been built up in her heart, but God will be waiting at the door." I prayed with her and reminded her that "she is not alone!" I am anxious to hear the report.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2


Rachel Anne said...

Chris, this is so well put and I think we can all relate to loneliness. What you said about creating our own breeding ground for loneliness is so true. Fear of being vulnerable or rejected keeps us from breaking down those walls. It's hard to keep putting yourself out there sometimes. Great encouragement to step out.

Kim said...

I love this and yes,I can relate! It is when I am self focused and fearing man and not God that I see this in myself. I know many do feel this way at times. That's why encouragement is so important and why as women,we need to be pointing others to Christ as our source of companionship. People will fail us,but the Lord--He is always faithtful.


Lori said...

This is so true, I know when I am feeling my lowest it is because I have turned my eyes towards myself. I love that quote by Dee, love it love it!

Thank you for sharing this.

Cyndi said...

What a great post! I know I have struggled with lonliness over the years as well, and it would've shocked others to have known, as I'm sure I didn't *seem* lonely. It's amazing how one can be lonely in a room full of people, or how you can be completely alone and not feel lonely in the slightest. I find so often that it is a state of the heart, and that perhaps myh fellowship with my Heavenly Father is not what it has been or could be.

I think this is a struggle for many women.

Deidre said...

Oh, how I love this post, Chris. I often feel this way, and once I give myself a good reality check, I realize I'm so focused on myself I don't even realize those around me. It's also at those times when I'm pulling away from the Lord and not resting on His promises.

Thanks for your words! I just love your blog:)

Susanne said...

Reaching out, "trusting her with the dark side of my failure". That sentence really struck me and I saw that this is the fear I have in friendships. But you are right, this comes as our focus is taken off God and put upon ourselves. Praise God He is always there and has promised never to leave us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Chris. Right now I feel insulated though God is sending me many signs I cannot help but feel lonely.

Natalie Joy said...

Thanks so much for being so transparent about your loneliness. I think all women feel it at times, but we are so often afraid to admit to other women (who seem to have it all together and must never feel lonely) that we do feel loneliness.