I left home when I was 17. My family was in Hawaii and I traveled back to the Washington DC area. Long story short, things did not work out as I had planned, I ended up being a “porter” at a store in a local Mall. It was a higher end store, that is why we were called “porters” instead of janitors. Funny thing is…porters clean toilets the same exact way janitors do. I was always very serious about relationships and when I gave my heart, I did not take it back easily. The reason I had left Hawaii was because I was still enamored with a young lady from my JR year of high school, that had decided she loved me like a big brother! My string of being a “big brother” is amazing…now I tell girls, don’t do that, just put one behind the ear, Bada Bing! Tell him straight, “I don’t love you,” he knows you like him, that is why you are his friend. The minute we men hear “I LOVE you like a brother” our demented minds convince ourselves we have a chance! So here I was, 17, the girl I was crazy about was seeing a guy and saying “Nate who?” my friends had all moved on to college or other things, no family around, a career where I put my face into a place where everyone else sits and meditates! I was renting a room from a truck driver that had a dachshund, named Jake. He was gone most of the time so it was me and Jake alone in a 3 bedroom house. Jake had an interesting ability, he would sit in a chair at the dinner table straight up! It was Christmas, my first away from home, I had a steak, a 6 pack of beer, and Jake, looking at my steak! NEVER, have I felt more alone!
Before I share the last two “Danger Zones” and then the end result – “Shipwrecked” I felt led by the Lord to challenge all of us to examine one of the root causes that takes us into that first strong current of Murmuring. Loneliness, it is a tumor on the soul. However, we must face the reality, if we are a child of God, that in actuality it is under our control. In preaching and counseling I have done much study and meditated long on this topic. I would like to share just some thoughts that might help those that feel they are stuck on a deserted Island.
As we approach this let me challenge you that I am focusing on “self imposed” loneliness. Not the “seasonal” loneliness that all go through and I will discuss briefly at the end of this Devo.
Loneliness: Life on a deserted island!
Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
* Withdraws from everyone including God.
* Throws Pity Party where NO one is invited.
* Complains about circumstances but does nothing to change them.
* Blames everyone and everything for their situation.
* So focused on self they miss all possible lessons.
First, let’s make a distinction between being on the Island (loneliness) and being alone.
Being alone is to move into a state of calm and quiet in your spirit – meditation, reflection, and an exhale of the “to do” list, the “expectations” of others and stopping to “smell the roses” of life. Alone time is very important for every human being, if we neglect meditative, quiet time for ourselves we do not allow ourselves to digest all the happenings in our life. Time alone is key to relieving stress that is built up living in such a busy world.
Matthew 14:13 Now when Jesus heard it, He withdrew from there in a boat, to a lonely place by Himself; and when the multitudes heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
Luke 5:16 But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
The Island: This is not true when it comes to Loneliness
Many people can appear happy, with many friends, even contented with life, yet underneath the surface there is an emptiness and a vacuum that is slowly eating away at the fabric of their being. Loneliness could be called the cancer of emotions, many times it goes undetected until it is too late, the lonely person in desperation does something drastic; quits, runs away, hurts others and even contemplates or commits suicide.
In the news when we hear about someone that committed a mass killing, 9 times out of 10, people that knew them, when interviewed state they did not see it coming, BUT he was a “loner.” When you study the situation deeper you'll find it was not about being an “introvert” – most introverts and extraverts enjoy life. However, in this case you will find that at the personal level, they were trapped on that deserted Island struggling with loneliness.
Why is Loneliness Dangerous?
Most emotions are:
It is very important to identify what kind of loneliness you are experiencing
Soul loneliness vs. Heart loneliness
Soul loneliness is based entirely on our relationship to our Creator. We were made for relationship with God. If there is no relationship or if that relationship is unhealthy we will experience loneliness, i.e. a lack of intimacy at the deepest level. This is why someone who seems happily married, with a good family, and many friends can still feel very lonely. The deepest need for companionship and intimacy they have can not be supplied by anyone other than the One that created them.
Heart loneliness is based on our relationship to others in the human community. This is clear from God's statement in Genesis, where Adam had perfect relationship with God, yet still experienced an aspect of loneliness. Not only did God create us to have relationship with Himself but made us with the need for community.
Genesis 2:18–25 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’ ” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Whenever we are lonely we need to take time to understand the source of that loneliness. If it is soul loneliness we need to take a hard look at our relationship with God. Are we really connecting or just going through the motions.
On the other hand, if we are intimate with the Lord, yet still feel lonely, we need to understand the source is a lack of intimacy and companionship of other human beings.
I had planned one normal Devo on this, but God has led otherwise. I will finish my thoughts next Devo where we will look at:
* What to do if you are on the Island?
* Best ways to stay off the Island!
Let me leave you with some homework. Do I feel a lack in my life? Identify that. Am I frustrated or discontented? Pick one…they are very different. What am I doing to connect with God and others?