Once we pass the Thanksgiving holiday today, our attention will immediately divert from turkey legs to Christmas trees. Growing up, Christmas was a magical time of the year and my favorite part was listening to Christmas music.
To usher in the season, my parents would play a compilation of soulful songs to include the Christmas albums of Stevie Wonder and the Temptations. One song that always stuck with me was What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas? by the Emotions. As a child, it was one of my favorites. With jingle bells playing in the background, the words of a person who doesn’t know what to do by themselves during a season of togetherness would come pouring out.
Fast forward – people probably look at me today and think to themselves “What do you do at Christmas with no husband or children?” Short answer – what I do the other 364 days of the year. I live my life. Sometimes, when dealing with the feeling of loneliness, I just have to get out of my own head and make myself laugh.
At one point in my life, I’d conceded that loneliness was just a part of who I was and that I wasn’t meant to be understood or form lasting connections with people. I went to a place so deep no one could bring me out. I remember nights of crying on my bathroom floor and not knowing why. One day I realized that this wasn’t healthy and that I wanted to be healthy.
I think too often we as women want to avoid being alone or labeled singled because we have a fear of loneliness. But sometimes, that’s where God places us so we can truly become who He has called us to be. I’ve had to say: “Lord, if I’m not alone, then I need You to manifest in my loneliness and give me strength.”
In these moments of loneliness, you have two options: sulk in it or redefine the narrative by allowing Christ to pour into you.
Loneliness is an emotion I think we sometimes don’t take seriously enough, but it is real, and it is deadly. Research shows that lonely people are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy relationships (Morin, 2019). Believers and non-believers alike sometimes don’t realize that loneliness is a powerful weapon that the enemy uses at his disposal to separate us from one another and from God. Loneliness is a weapon that can steal, kill, and destroy all in one blow (John 10:10), and you know, the enemy is all about taking the easy way out.
When I began to dialogue with the Holy Spirit about loneliness, the Spirit highlighted to me that people make being alone and being lonely identical twins. I think people fear being alone so much because they associate it so closely with being lonely. One of the strongest weapons we can use to battle loneliness is learning it’s okay to be alone. The ability to enjoy your own company is a magnificent gift from God. I’ve discovered when your alone and fully present, this is when the Lord can do the most work in you.
The second area the Holy Spirit showed me where we suffer from loneliness is when we feel we have to wear masks and cannot be our authentic selves. Most of the time we do not share our authentic selves with people because of the fear of being judged. One of the hardest pills in life to swallow is not everyone is going to like you. One of the best sayings I always keep in the forefront of my mind is: “If people don’t like you, you are in good company, they didn’t like Jesus either.” If you are your authentic self, I can guarantee the most important person in your life will not only like you, but they will show you agape love.
As the Holy Spirit kept unpacking how loneliness manifests in our lives, the last revelation hit the closest to me and has been my biggest battle in life –control.
I’ve wrestled with loneliness the most when I have tried to be in control of my life. Although I’m quiet, I am stubborn and have a big defiant streak in me. Being Ms. Independent, saying, “I’m me and I know what’s best for me. I don’t need anybody, and I can do it all. I’m an independent woman” worked for a while and God would allow me to think that. But then, when I was in control and things fell apart, I would feel lonely, useless, and hopeless, scrambling to pick up the pieces. But God! He would once again show me He had another plan for me and minister to me about giving up my control.
At the most critical time in my life, He came to me. A full year ahead of time, before I even realized why I was truly seeking to connect with Him, He came to me. He started to introduce Himself to me and prepare me for a time in the very near future in which the enemy was plotting for me to literally lose my mind from loneliness and devastation. In order to be truly prepared for what I was going to come up against, God knew it was going to take more than a few weeks of time or the act of skimming through a few Bible verses to be ready. He spent an entire year with me, teaching me to trust Him and to surrender my control. From this experience, I can witness that God is the God that stays.
And then it happened – my mother died.
Up until that moment I thought I had felt loneliness, but with her death I ventured into a whole new level of loneliness I had never experienced before. My whole life had been intertwined with hers. I lost my best friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, my roommate, my dinner companion, my venting buddy, the person who helped give me life, and the person who showed me what love was. My relationship with God got extremely personal during the loss and loneliness I experienced after her death. But God. He came to me in that moment and showed me how good and faithful He could be. God showed me that He could be everything I had lost and then some. I just had to let Him in.
Just a few short days later, on January 18, 2018, I was standing up at a podium in a room full of people. Some faces I recognized and others I did not. I was utterly alone. I was saying goodbye to the one person who was always there for me whether it was six in the morning or midnight. The person, who in this world, I had the most intimate connection with. The person who knew me authentically and loved me anyway. I was at a podium delivering my mother’s eulogy. In a time when the devil was orchestrating the loneliness surrounding me, I felt the Holy Spirit come upon me. I was calm, I was fearless, and I was at peace. It was one of those major life moments where most people wouldn’t be expected to get through something similar without crying, yet I was able to stand with strength and deliver her eulogy.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever. John 14:16 AMP
For all my sisters who suffer from loneliness, I pray that you allow the Father to truly work in you. I’ll be honest, and let you know it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but I will guarantee you on the other side it will be worth it.
True surrender provides for deliverance from anything that has you bound and will allow you to reclaim your authority. Putting your trust in the Lord doesn’t change the fact that life will happen to us, but what will change is our reaction to it. During this holiday season, or any season of loneliness, I pray that whatever life stage you are in that you can trust God’s plan for you.
The Lord knows your name, He knows your problems, and He loves you beyond measure. He created you intentionally for a special purpose and brought you to the earth right now for a problem that only you are qualified to fix. I like to think that when I’m talking to God, and it doesn’t seem like He’s talking back, it’s because He is talking to my problem or He is advocating on my behalf. You are too valuable to God to stay in the grip of loneliness and feel like there is no one. He is always with you. God didn’t create you to be alone. He created you to be in communion with Him and He is never too busy for you. Time doesn’t affect Him. He doesn’t get tired. Sisters, when loneliness comes upon you, call out to Him because the Lord gave you a promise an eon ago that still holds true to this day –He will not leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Written by Katrina Hodges
Amplified Bible (AMP). Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Morin, Amy. What Mentally Strong People Do. PsychologyToday.com. Jan. 22, 2019