The lion of loneliness has stalked me the majority of my life. Whether it was second grade and my best friend sat by someone else on the bus. Or junior high when my friends chose to see if they had any other options before they committed to outings with me. Or through my teens and 20’s when I could never seem to find a “special someone” who liked me back.
Loneliness feels like a prowling lion whose claws aim to pull you deeper in. It makes you believe you are the only one who has ever felt this way before. “No one could ever possibly understand what you are going through in this moment,” it growls. Loneliness secludes. It isolates you from the world around you.
For many years I thought my loneliness was something to despise and conquer. But another reading of Genesis 1:26 cultivated a fresh perspective: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” God created each bit of me. He created my emotions, even the less pleasant and more uncomfortable ones, in His likeness, for His purpose. But Satan, in his cunning, takes what God made, what is supposed to reflect and connect me to Him, and twists it into something dirty and dark.
God created my emotions, even the less pleasant and more uncomfortable ones, in His likeness, for His purpose.
God created the emotion of loneliness to draw me into His embrace. The loneliness that should cause my heart to deeply feel my need for God, Satan loves to turn inward. When I let Satan play with my emotions, when I forget the Trinity-reflecting truth of my need for communion with God, loneliness turns self-focused. I see my desires and what is withheld, rather than what is available in Jesus.
I’m learning loneliness isn’t a black hole. Loneliness doesn’t isolate and seclude. Satan does. He turns my attention away from my Provider, and gets me caught up in my own little world. But God has been graciously revealing additional layers of Himself as I draw nearer to Him.
You see, I am just shy of 31 years old. If I were to generously calculate time into ‘relationship’ bucket of my life since I turned dating eligible, we would be talking about 3% of my life spent with a ‘special someone’. If we are being strict and talking about times with the label of “dating,” we are under 1%. According to Satan, I should have lived the last 15 years of my life lonely and bitter and discontent because God would not grant me this one request. Yes, the lion of loneliness has gripped me in its jaws when my focus drifted from my Creator, but, by God’s grace, I have not been swallowed endlessly the last 15 years.
Let Jesus be the answer to the cry He engineered in your emotions.
When I stared at my dating stats side-by-side with my Savior, God poured his love over me. He showed me that loneliness is not based on the circumstance or relationship status. My circumstances have hardly changed, especially the last 10 years, and yet I have gone through deep despair and overwhelming joy. How could that be if my loneliness was tied to my relationship status or my life circumstances? I felt an outpouring of love that told me it was not.
My loneliness is not a death-breathing enemy after all. It is meant to turn my focus back to my Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit uses loneliness to tell me that I have strayed from eternal focus and nourishment in Christ. That’s why loneliness is so universal. It’s not about a lacking in your marriage, an issue in your parenting, or the lack of a human relationship at all. It’s a lacking of communion with your Savior. And it’s an invitation from Him to return.
The next time loneliness settles in, anticipating a long stay, run into God’s arms. Rather than trying to fill the hole you feel with things or people, open your Bible. Pray. Let God pour into you and satisfy the yearnings of loneliness. Let Jesus be the answer to the cry He engineered in your emotions.
Psalm 139:13-16 talks about our God’s intimate awareness of every part of your being. Who better to keep you whole than Him! “For I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:12-13). That is contentment my friend.
by: Nikki Watermolen
Nikki has been a faithful attendee at RSBC since its inception. She eagerly worships Jesus in the church body using gifts of music, hospitality, and caring for women and girls of all ages.