loneliness

Loneliness part 2

So in my last post, I talked about being lonely. I tried to make it not about my life, but it was, largely, about my personal experiences. And if you saw me, you would NEVER imagine I struggle with loneliness. You wouldn’t imagine this because I am good looking, I have a good job, friends, a beautiful and intelligent wife and more. I look like someone who people would want to be like. I say this because you might be an attractive person who is lonely.

When you live with and have accepted loneliness as l have, you fail to understand the gravity of this terrible disease.

For me, loneliness resulted in an addiction to movies/ television and a love/hate relationship with pornography. For you, it might be eating too many sugar-filled ‘foods’. Or cutting yourself. Any form of compulsive escapism could be a sign of loneliness. So ask yourself: how often are you PHYSICALLY with other people having fun?

(It even makes me wonder if crazy people were simply so lonely that they turned on themselves to try to comprehend what they saw as incomprehensible… )

Being lonely will also result in not being productive. Case in point: on the 2nd of this month, I was lonely, and I stayed home. I did nothing but watch tv, play games and, sadly, look at porn. It is a day I regret.

On Thursday, I went out for lunch at a restaurant where they know me well (I am an EFL teacher so my schedule is erratic). When I returned home, I did the dishes, the laundry, and organized the new apartment.

Even last night, I needed to be with friends, so I went out and met some guys for dinner. This morning, I have organized more, cleaned the bathroom and have great expectations for the afternoon and evening!

Overall, by being social, I have increased my productivity. (If I remember correctly, this is why France has more productivity with only a 30-hour work week. The people of France enjoy their lunches more and therefore are better able to work harder. But I currently lack any proof of this.)

By being social, we are also able to improve our self image. I can talk with people and know that they accept who I am. In discussing life with people, you begin to understand how your thoughts do or don’t fit in with how everyone else thinks. When you have friends who accept you as you are, you stop thinking about those trivial matters which cause you to see yourself negatively.

Maybe you think too much of yourself and, by talking with others, you realize how smart other people can be (so much so that you understand that, while you are smart, you are not really so much smarter than everyone else)!

So I will end this blog entry the same way I did last time. What will you do to end your loneliness? Will you go to a coffeehouse and meet someone? Will you go to a park and introduce yourself to someone?

Maybe find a church worthy of your time and make friends there.

Oh, and I encourage you to talk man-to-man or woman-to-woman just to prevent anyone from getting the wrong ideas.

And if you are a Christian and your church doesn’t seem to be welcoming, what will you do? Will you strive to change and improve your church culture so newcomers are welcomed and included? I hope so because the church is meant to be a beacon of light to a lost and dying world. Jesus wanted us to not condemn the world (or each other) for the mistakes we make- but to accept each other and help one another to be more like Jesus.

Loneliness

 

 

Loneliness…

 

 

Loneliness is never fun.

Today, I listened to a sermon about loneliness and how many verses in the Bible talk about loneliness. Job, King David, Jeremiah (a prophet), Jesus Himself, Paul (an apostle) all dealt with loneliness.

What I failed to realize is how prevalent loneliness has been throughout my entire life. Before I go any further, I want you to know, I am not writing to complain, but to hopefully encourage others who go through the same things I have.

When I was in kindergarten, I did not know how to play with other kids- and so I had no friends. Today, I understand my problems began before kindergarten, but that isn’t important right now.

I did try to fit in by acting like the other kids, but the only examples I was able to really follow were all the bullies who picked on me. Thus, when I tried to follow the example I saw, I got into trouble- but I never saw other kids get into trouble by doing the same things I did, so I began to see myself as a whipping boy.

So, here I am, 8 years old, not having any friends, figuring that I am the person everyone is supposed to pick on. And this was reinforced by parents of other kids, by my fifth and sixth grade teachers, and others.

Now, when I look back, I see how other kids in the 8th and 9th grades did try to help me, but I was so distrustful of everyone, that I could not see what they were trying to do. I had no reason to trust anyone because so many kids had picked on me and I couldn’t figure out how to fit in.

Anyway, let me fast forward here and skip over the other years.

My Sr. year of high school comes and I actually start forming friendships- as in, meeting with people outside of school. I also finally get a girlfriend (though, because of many bad experiences in the past in telling girls I liked them, I was afraid to even touch her because I didn’t want her mad at me). Needless to say, we never had sex.

Just before college started- and I was looking forward to finally getting drunk and having sex- I realized that getting drunk resulted in a bad headache and forgetting the fun you had the night before. So I no longer wanted to get drunk.

I also remembered all my health classes about the potential dangers of having sex (ie, unwanted pregnancy, STD’s, HIV and so forth).

When I got to college, I started going to church. I found myself drawn to the doctrinally sound, but functionally strange churches… My most recent church experience has also been one of the best.

Why this worked so well for me is because I could slip in-between the strange people. No one really cared too much about my idiosyncrasies. Now, I can’t give them too much credit because I was still too weird for most of them.

But I was finally accepted. And I was able to learn and grow. I watched other people and started to understand how to be more normal. I am still a strange guy, but I am working on it. I also have to admit, many people within many churches are judgmental, so if your church body is among the judgmental, SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR CHURCH. How often did Jesus NOT cast shame upon the outcasts? REPEATEDLY. Jesus ate with the outcasts. He forgave the sinners (think John chapter 8). Anyway, I digress…

Today, I am 35 years old and I have finally understood the fact that I have been alone for most of my life. Sure, I had family. Sure, I had my friends, but I was still mostly alone.

And I am NOT supposed to be alone. YOU are NOT supposed to be alone. Sure, sometimes being alone is a good thing. Due to being around people almost constantly, Jesus needed it so much He went to deserts early in the morning to find solitude! But for most of us, we have too much solitude.

We need to seek out friendship. Find people to be with. God created us to be with people. To spend time with friends. Call someone. Go to a coffeehouse and try to make friends. Or to a park.

If you are a person who has lots of friends, make a new one. If you see someone who looks lonely or sad, say hello to them. Maybe you won’t get their number today, but maybe meet with them every week. Let them know you really care about them. Try to develop a relationship with them.

If right now, you don’t have anyone, spend time with God. Find a Bible and read it. Start with one of the Gospels (Matthew Chapter 11, verses 28-30 is one of my favorites). Click below for a quick peek.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=11&t=NKJV#s=940028

Anyway, I hope that if you are lonely, that you start spending time with other people. And if you are not lonely, that maybe you can reach out to a lonely person.