LONELY? SAY NO TO ISOLATION!

“It is not good for the man to be alone” Gen.2:18

“He gives families to the lonely” Ps 68:6, TLB

Belonging to a spiritually alive community is essential for personal renewal. We need one another!

Being lonely is something I’m familiar with. I came to America from Kenya when I was 22. I’d been married six weeks and experienced the acute loneliness of having no family or friends to connect with.  Singleness can bring loneliness. So can marriage. So can moving to a place where no one knows you, and you know no one.

Have you been there?  Are you there now?

Loneliness and isolation for whatever reason, contributes to an epidemic of depression.

  • According to the World Health Organization, “Globally, the total number of people with depression was estimated to exceed 300 million in 2015. Nearly that number again suffers from a range of anxiety disorders.” http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/254610/1/WHO-MSD-MER-2017.2-eng.pdf Loneliness is a major factor in depression.
  • According to friends who minister to prisoners, solitary confinement, being alone with no one to talk to, is a punishment many inmates dread the most.
  • According to researchers, perceived loneliness among the elderly contributes to cognitive decline and risk of dementia. http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/10-17-14-facts-about-senior-isolation/
  • Others who struggle with loneliness can be: Home-bound mothers, care-givers, those with limited mobility, and anyone who longs for someone to share their thoughts, interests, and lives with.

God has created each of us with a hunger for relationships. Whether introvert or extrovert, we function best when our deep, inner needs for connection are met.  Family and friends can meet our human need for company, support, and love. But:

  • What if you have no family nearby, or aren’t comfortable around them?
  • What if you have few, or even no, friends you can call and talk to, do things with, or count on to care about you?  Then what?

God has the answer!  Get Involved.  Reach Out. Be Pro-active! 

Whatever your circumstances or season of life, loneliness and isolation are not good for you, or me.  We need to face facts and not deny our inner struggles by hiding behind closed curtains, staying in bed, or sleeping constantly.  That will not help! If this describes you, or someone you care about, let me share with you some of the solutions I’ve pursued that are helping me with my seasons of loneliness.

  1. Find a Spiritually Alive Community.

Without being exposed to other Christians who live out their faith, it’s easy to dry up, grow cynical, or simply drift away, (Hebrews 2:1). We need to receive input that strengthens us. Seek out a Christian community where you’re fed, challenged, encouraged and have opportunities to be involved. It’s essential!

  1. Get Involved.

Join a group.  I intentionally joined a women’s Bible study at my church—not to teach or lead—but simply to be with others. I’ve also joined a monthly Supper for Six group for the same reason—and volunteer an hour a week to talk with non-English speakers.

Form a group. Invite a few women to meet and share their walk with God. Study a book. Discuss. Connect. My twice monthly group is a highlight and joy. Think of what makes you thrive—hiking, cooking, quilting, reading, what? Then ask around if a group exists, and if not, invite one or two to join you.

  1. Reach Out.

Invite others home. Hospitality is an ancient and Biblical practice we’re told to practice. (Romans 12: 13) It doesn’t mean entertaining with your best dishes on display.  Simply ask one, or a few, if they’d like to come over for coffee (grab cookies from the store!) and get to know them.  Don’t let fear frighten you. Pray about it and let the Spirit lead you. If this is too big a leap, ask a potential friend to lunch after church or for a walk on Saturday morning.  Be proactive or you’ll stay isolated! 

I hope this is a help, and be sure to scroll down for a couple of books I’d recommend for dealing with loneliness and isolation.  If I can be a resource or a listening ear, please let me know. 

Let’s share: What have you found helpful in handling times of isolation and loneliness? I will keep your name private!

Blessings,

 

 

 

Photo credit: GraphicStock


An Invitation to the TableWant to be more hospitable? This very helpful guide to caring and sharing with others will show you how. An Invitation to the Table—Embracing the Gift of Hospitality, by Michelle Lazurek

 

 


The Art of Authentic FriendshipHere’s a practical guide to finding and maintaining good friendships: The Art of Authentic Friendship, by Judy Dippel and Debra Alexander

 

 

 


From dating in Africa to living in America, click here to read a brief excerpt from my story and why I wrote Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?

    As an international speaker, multi-published author, Bible teacher, mentor, and spiritual coach, it's my goal to encourage women to thrive in their relationship with Christ and in life.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

    5 thoughts on “LONELY? SAY NO TO ISOLATION!

    1. Thanks Poppy for some great ideas which not only avoid loneliness but build community. In the UK next month there is a national event called ‘The Great Get together’ which encourages people to get together. I’m organising a street party for over 100 homes in my area. We last did it five years ago and it was a big success.
      It’s given me an opportunity to knock on everyone’s door and find out who is lonely, struggling to get out, caring for someone who is ill etc. I have some great neighbours who want to now arrange how we can give lifts to some people to get out for a community lunch in the town.
      Our church has been growing as small groups have developed. I’m blessed by meeting for breakfast and prayer once or twice a month with two friends.
      One final suggestion, if you are not raising children, think of ways to support those who are. I offer to babysit for a single mum so she can go to a home group.

      • So glad to hear from you and read of your ways to support women, I love the Great Get Together idea. I hope it goes well again. I’d like to share what you do on my Facebook page so others can be inspired. Blessings, Poppy

        • Dear Poppy

          Thanks for personally replying. You are welcome to share my post on Facebook.
          I’ve been on your mailing since the ICMDA conference in Australia in 2006! (I was a Trustee of PRIME at the time and my husband was speaking at the conference).

          Thanks for your writings
          Blessings
          Mary
          PS I know you have British roots so you may be aware Jo Cox the MP was murdered last year so this event is occurring on the 1st anniversary and is partly organised by a charity started in her honour to encourage building community

    2. At the age of 44 I was divorced. Single for 8 years, I prayed for a family to share my life. I met a widower,so we married in 1987. Poppy, to this day all I receive from his adult kids is hostility. They live 2 hrs away,yet refuse to visit for any holiday I have invited them to. We also do not get invites. My husband said I should stop inviting,which I did. I told them before our marriage that I did not want to be their mother,just a friend. For the last 8 years we pay for a weeks vacation for the four of them and us which amounts to thousands of dollars. No more! It’s just a one way street with them. Be careful what you pray for…you may not get what you really want. We miss the grandchildren mostly.

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