Loneliness is a fear of mine. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my own company, I do enjoy my own company, I’m talking about feeling like you are unknown, unloved, and cast out from everyone. My childhood was awash with all those three things. I knew every dint and bevel in my bedroom walls, I knew exactly who was coming up the stairs just from the way the floor boards moved, I knew that as the sun faded from the sky, the darkness would creep into my room suffocating me into unsettled dreams.
It’s in those dark times that I found my best friend. God kept me company, he listened to my thoughts, he listened to my anxiety and bottled my tears from the bullies that ravaged my self worth. I look back and think about how on earth I managed to continue at school, how did I keep walking down those corridors towards whatever was going to come my way that day?
Things changed for me from year 10 onwards, I was filled with determination to not let anyone hurt me again. I got into a few fights, I stood my ground and I came out of it on top. But my loneliness was still my weak spot, no friends out of school, parents who worked, then something changed, I met my husband at my part time job. God healed my loneliness by providing someone who loved me, just the way that I was.
I came across this thought process during my first vocations advisor interview. The VA asked me what changed when I was clinging onto God and in the pit of loneliness, I answered easily, he gave me my husband. After reflecting on this I found in psalm 68 the verse:
“God gives lonely people a family, he sets prisoners free, and they go out singing” (Psalm 68:6)
How true this piece of writing is from the psalmist!!!!! I had been set free and I had found my own voice.
I had a brush with loneliness again in the early days of my calling from God, here I was again feeling cut off and isolated, and once again God took my hand and held me close. Once again the psalmist articulately describes the desperation of being set free from loneliness. Reading Psalm 25:16-21 set my heart on fire with love for our Lord. He is there with us when we feel such isolation, when we are cast out into the wilderness. Jesus through his human life felt all our emotions, he carries our hurt and isolation in his arms and spreads them wide to embrace us all in the darkest of times. I don’t fear loneliness like I used to, because I know and trust my God will always be there for me, he is my light in the darkness and the hope that runs deeply within my soul.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you. Psalm 25:16-21