Loneliness is such an isolating feeling. That’s not breaking news, I know. The word mom and loneliness should be an oxymoron but they do in fact coexist, wrestle and sit at the same table. For me as a mom, loneliness has many faces. There is physical loneliness, which I’m happy to admit I actually asked for this past Mothers Day. Mind you, I have 3 kids under 8. I’m lucky to go to the restroom alone, my three year old has mastered the phrase “privacy please”…yet doesn’t quite understand giving it?? There is emotional loneliness, where you may be surrounded by noise, chaos, even love but emotionally you feel depleted, misunderstood, left. There is spiritual loneliness, where you aren’t quite sure if God has forgotten about you or just tending to more dire concerns. The good news I have today friends is that while each of the lonely states can really drive you into a place of sadness, depression, they are all temporary.
Physical loneliness can be addressed by simply getting a little uncomfortable. Putting yourself in a room full of people and seeing whats out there. I remember this type of loneliness about 3 years ago when my oldest was 5 and my youngest was just born. While I did have 3 kids, I had no friends, or at least that’s how I felt. This was a very sad and lonely time in my life. I had to join groups, I thought I would never join. I had to go out, even when I was so tired. I had to show up, even when I didn’t want to. I can tell you sisters, after so many years of physical loneliness, that is no more. I have found my tribe, my girls, my fellow comrades to help me climb my way out of the tough days and pour me a tall glass of wine on the stressful ones. It was worth every awkward moment, every forced smile, every feeling of anxiety and nervousness as I had to introduce myself. These girls truly have made motherhood more fun, more comedic and splashed it with a world of grace and “me too’s”!
Emotional loneliness is a hard one. This is when you feel like no one really gets you. When the world is spinning, talking, moving and you are some how standing still, on pause, trying to catch up. When your husband looks at you and asks “what’s wrong?” and all you want to blurt out is EVERYTHING, but can’t, because it will cause more drama than it’s worth. It’s when your friends have slowly stopped calling, not because anything bad happened but because they are just busy. It’s when you have so much to say but no one to listen. It’s hard. It’s vulnerable. This is when we have to climb out of our own minds and sit with those hard thoughts. Decifer the truths from the lies. The truth that this will end. The lies that no one cares. This is where social media breaks are not only healthy but recommended. Seeing other people’s vacations, date nights & pregnancies can often tailspin us into a deeper loneliness. We must have those hard conversations, telling our spouse, friend or partner where we are at and what we need in that moment. Emotional loneliness can often pull you into depression. Find the people, the activities, the therapy that can pull you out of it. Whether you need to talk to a professional, take medication or start meditating, praying, do it. It is crucial that we do not let our minds go off the deep end. We are modeling to our kids what healthy looks like, and while that’s not a permasmile, it is acceptance. Acceptance for where we are at, acceptance for what we need to get out of it, acceptance to feel how we feel but not stay there.
Spiritual loneliness. Ughh. I hate this one. This one is hard because we all know that God is rarely (if ever) audible. This is where we have to look, think outside the box. We have to stay in His word, meditate on His message and live out His truth. We have to trust in this process of life, that was never promised to be easy. We are warned many times throughout scripture (read any of Paul’s letters) that this life will bring trials, tribulations. We will suffer, even in the name of Jesus. But we are also told that God will never leave us. He will search for us when we wander and He will carry us when we cry. I often feel the most spirtual loneliness when I have cut off the lines of communication with God. If you stopped calling your best friend every day, you would eventually drift. Life would happen and you would no longer be a part of that daily conversation. But for any of you that this has ever happened to, do you not pick up right where you left off as soon as you finally make that call? God is the same way. You can stop praying, stop hearing, stop worshiping His message but the moment you pick up that book, listen to that sermon or reach out in the name of Jesus, an amazing thing happens, you pick up right where you left off. He meets you right there. He answers you, not in words, but in peace. He releases the lump in your throat, sends you a hug, plays you a song or gives you a sign. God is always there, always showing up, we are just not always looking, listening. Spiritual loneliness is hard, but this one can be fixed. Stop in this moment and just close your eyes. Get down on your knees. Pray. Pray for Him to reveal himself, to comfort you, to be with you, and watch. Watch His love come in the most simple of ways. God speaks to us in dreams, in whispers, in people. You must be silent, present and willing. He is there.
So friends, if loneliness is a feeling that has crept into your hearts today, can I just tell you, I’m with you. I have felt all of these types of loneliness at one time or another and sometimes all at once. Loneliness gives darkness an amazing opportunity to creep in. To steal and rob your joy. Don’t let it. When the thoughts of isolation take over your head and paralyze your body, be present, reveal it for what it is, ask what could be causing it and start with step 1: Take a deep breath.
In this moment, clear your mind, your thoughts.
Step 2: Pray, meditate
This is your time to lay out all the feelings, sadness and fears…ask for the change you want, you need. Pray to God, in the name of Jesus, where He has promised to meet you and be with you.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians4:6
What God is saying here is for us to give Him our worries, our anxiety. To tell Him our thoughts, our prayers. He does not force us to have a relationship with him. He gives each of us that choice. If you choose to seek Him, He will always listen. It is never too late. You are never too far gone.
Step 3: Reach out.
Loneliness is no place to be alone. Yes, I realize how that sounds, but stay with me, this is when you need to reach out to a trusted individual. A counselor, a member of the church, a family member. Tell them what you are feeling and that you want to get out of it. This is where the transformation of humanity can step in and walk you out. We were created to be healers, great comforters. You are never a burden or too much. You and your babies are worth any awkward phone call, doctor bill or embarassing confession. There is never shame in asking for help. The only shame is for anyone to have to face those thoughts alone.
I am not a counselor or an expert. I am a mom. A mom that has experienced depression, loneliness and heartache. I have also experienced the peace, joy and comfort of life carrying me out of it. I simply stand before you, with my arms wide open, carrying my own burdens and hurts. I am with you, I love you and I promise you everything will be ok in the end.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” -John Lennon