I’ve been going through the H.A.L.T. principle each week, and this week the focus is L.
If there is one thing I know from personal experience, the enemy loves using this tactic:
“you’re all alone. No one gets you, no one understands, no one is going through what you are going through.”
And I forget it. I forget it and trip up all over myself.
Just this morning I was attacked with this overwhelming sense of lonely.
Trapped. Stuck. Not understood. Suffocated.
While my description of lonely may differ from yours, the result is the same.
Lonely strips away confidence and focuses inward.
If I could paint my “lonely” as a picture, it would be a precious moments girl (you know, with the huge sad looking eyes) curled up in a corner, completely oblivious to all the other precious moments people standing around, because no one is immune from the attack of “lonely”.
Here is another truth (more for myself right now than anyone else). In this moment of Lonely, my inward sucks.
Why oh why am I hunkering down to focus on my faulty, fallen, feeble inward instead of reaching out with both arms to focus on the perfect, risen, strong God who is my Creator and Father?
When I am struggling with lonely, my “inside” voice isn’t talking about happiness. Or joy. It’s not looking for opportunity, or growth, or hope. My inward is depressed, unconnected, detached, empty, small, fearful, and lost.
So when I am lonely and I choose to focus inward, THAT is what I’m focusing on. I am now giving my time, energy, thoughts, emotions, and actions to
trapped. depressed. stuck. unconnected. not understood. detached. empty. suffocated. small. fearful. lost.
How in the world is this going to help me?
It doesn’t help. It doesn’t help at all.
Lonely is Hard. For me, it’s the hardest out of the 4 principles. If I’m hungry, I eat and Wah-La – problem solved.
Angry? Go for a run, walk away for a few minutes and problem is often diminished or solved.
Tired? Go to bed. Take a nap. A break. Solved.
Lonely? What? Trust another human being and talk to them? Trust God even when life appears to be crapola?
I struggle with trust.
I struggle with abandonment.
I struggle with loss. No, correction, I struggle more with the fear of losing.
I struggle with the fear of losing people I love. Of losing time with people I love because I live too far away. Struggle with the fear my husband and son are going to die in a car accident on the way to school. Or the store. Or just in general.
It comes back to that “loss”.
And here is some raw truth. My greatest fear is being all alone. Of losing my family, being too far away from friends, and being completely and utterly alone.
So when I focus inward, you get a picture of where my focus goes.
That is where my thoughts become consumed.
The answer to lonely, is outward focus. I must focus outwardly.
I must focus on my Lord and Savior. I must lift up my face and literally LOOK FOR HIM. Cry out to Him. Seek Him and His Truths to drown out the sounds of my inward.
I must focus outward. Reach out to others and Trust God to lead me to others that I can Trust. Trust these relationships to Him. Trust Him to provide these relationships and then be intentional about pursuing them.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone, when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~Ecclesiastes 4:-12 (ESV)
He has the perfect design. He didn’t create me for lonely. I believe His Word is pretty clear about that. He didn’t create me to hunker down and get consumed with my broken inward. He created me to reach out, be consumed by Him, and show His glory to others by living life with others.
It’s not easy. The only way to truly fight the battle of lonely is to reach out. Trade inward focus for outward focus. Seek God with prayers expectantly, knowing and trusting He will work to change the inward pieces.
Get intentional about reaching out to people He’s placed around you. Ask Him who He wants you to reach out to. Don’t limit God in this area. He may bring you to people you would never go to on your own, and let me tell you, those God-relationships are THE BEST relationships.
He may have you join a Bible study, a small group, an online group.
You don’t need to ask Him if He wants you to live in a community, He’s already answered that in His Word. Ask how to be obedient to live in community, and do it.
Emotional and Spiritual wellness suffer in lonely. For me, physical wellness also suffers because I’m an emo-eater.
Letting the lonely consume me leads to me consuming and just perpetuates an unhealthy cycle.
If you’re struggling with lonely, take some time today to pray about it. Be completely open and honest with God, and seek the power of the Holy Spirit to help you trust Him with your loneliness. Then commit to being obedient and taking some type of action to reach out to someone, refusing to give into “lonely”.
And for me, it took a little while this morning, however, I started looking outward again. Focusing outward in Faith.
You know what, it makes a difference. It really does.
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