Monday, August 10, 2009

In Other Words---Embracing Loneliness

“Rather than turn from loneliness, what if we turned toward it? Could it be that loneliness is not a curse but a gift? A gift from God?”
Max Lucado
Traveling Light: The Promise of Psalm 23

I do not do loneliness well. That is actually surprising because I do alone great. The introvert in me wants others to go away and leave me alone. Nevertheless, I do not like to be lonely. I like to know that there is someone to call on, be with, play with or talk with when I am ready to be with others. In spite of my not doing loneliness well, God seems to bring me to periods of loneliness often. Even when I do not immediately see it, I do think that it is often a gift.

For much of our time in England I had a time of loneliness. First, it was a new place, then I had a new baby, then another new baby and truly, there was not much time to develop the depth of friendships that I thought I needed. I came close more than once, but in the expat community, people move on and each time I was enjoying a blossoming friendship, she would move. Just when I was truly ready to throw my hands in the air and proclaim that I would always be lonely, God gave me a truly amazing friend. She was the first friend I had ever had that I talked with or texted every single day. We met to pray together. Our kids played together. We just fit together. We *got* each other in ways that I have not experienced before. It was heavenly to experience. Moreover, it was timely because I experienced some frustration in a situation where I needed not to be alone in my own thoughts. I needed a friend to tell me to “get a grip” and she told me that more than once. Then it happened. She moved. She did not just move, she moved somewhere that it is not possible to just give her a call or text her or even drop her note. Once again, I find myself “gifted” with loneliness.

And I do not like it. Not at all.

I have struggled against it. I have ranted and fussed and complained. I have prayed for this period not to be long.

I have done all of those things. But I have not embraced it. I have not turned toward it. I have not sought to see *God’s why* in this time. In the past, I can see the lonely times as gifts to allow me to get my footing, to learn new lessons and to trust in God. Why would this be any different? In truth, my walk with God has deepened in the past few months. I know that dependence on God is imperative at this time. Yet, part of the reason I believe that is because she sharpened that into me.
This quote is challenging me to turn toward what God is giving and embrace it. I will not venture that I am anywhere near there yet. I will seek it. God’s promise is that when we seek him, we will find him. For today, I will rest in that.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Father God help me to embrace each season you bring into my life. When it is a season of friendship, help me be a faithful friend. When it is a season of loneliness, help me to seek you and lean on you. Amen.

Patricia at Typing One-Handed is our hostess this week. Please visit the others and be blessed by their reflections on this quote.


Kristin said...

What an amazing post MiPa. I'm sorry you are experiencing this loneliness and I hope that it is short-lived but it still teaches you a lot about yourself and your journey with God.

Tami Boesiger said...

Mmm. . .well-said, my friend. Thank you for your honesty. Praying God soothes your lonely heart and teaches you great things.

Esthermay said...

God promises so much when we seek Him in our loneliness -- and why is it in our loneliness that we try harder to seek Him? ??? I've been there too! May His peace by yours.

Karen said...

That was really good. Thanks for sharing today. I like your thought about loneliness and being alone are two different things. I'm good at being alone but not loneliness.

Patricia said...

"I do not do loneliness well," struck a funny bone the way you said it. But I understand loneliness is not necessarily something we "do well." Being an introvert too, I understand the need to be alone, but we never want to feel total isolation from a human who understands and cares for us. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful response to today's quote.

Donnetta said...

Embrace loneliness... now there's a thought I will find myself pondering for quite some time.