For 14 years I worked outside of the home. I was the social butterfly of the office, flitting from desk to desk to chat. This girl never was at a loss for words. I was surrounded daily with friends, laughter and fellowship. And I loved it. I super loved it. God gave this girl a craving in her heart for social connections.
When I became sick a few years ago and required multiple surgeries, I was eventually forced to make a difficult decision. The answer was early retirement. In that instant, my world changed. I was walking into a new season in my life. My social interactions would be now limited, more than I ever imagined.
At first the transition didn't seem so bad. I would still visit my old job and do my normal flitting around the office. But through time, those visits got less and less. Now they are virtually nonexistent. I would fill the void with occasional "friend time" with non-work friends. But that eventually got less and is now nonexistent as well. Broken friendships. Failed friendships. Walls built. Days spent only talking to my dog. Lunches alone. Walks alone.
How is it even possible to be a lonely believer? Sounds like such an oxymoron, doesn't it? I know that Jesus is my best friend, so how am I still lonely? I have my husband and children. I have my parents next door. I have a Mama I talk to daily. I have two dogs and two cats. I have a life that boarders on crazy from time to time. How is it possible among all of that for me to feel lonely? Why does it make me feel guilty to even admit loneliness?
David, “a man after God’s own heart”, was lonely. In Psalm 25:16 he said to the Lord, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” David was lonely! Wow, so a man after God's own heart, a man who clearly wasn't afraid of anything, was lonely and felt isolated.
I'm not sure exactly what my soul is craving, but God knows. And in that gap between my longing and Him fulfilling the fellowship I desire, I'm choosing to trust His timing. It might possibly be the hardest thing I've done.
How can I find comfort? How can I find patience? Where do I look? In the love story He wrote for us, in His word. I have taken on three verses for the year and every hard situation I'm faced with, these verses comfort me.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
If we aren't careful, satan can use this time of loneliness to enter sinful thoughts into our minds such as self pity, self-centeredness, bitterness, anger and jealousy. We may attempt to put a band aid on the pain by turning to the television, alcohol, shopping, binge eating, or excessive computer time. We need to find our comfort through releasing our needs to God in prayer and trusting Him and His timing.
As I write this post through tears, many tears, I urge you to allow Him to fill the gap. Trust in Him, delight in His timing and allow Him to fill the hole inside of you.