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To the Brave and The Lonely

If you're feeling lonely today, I'm going to guess that it's hard to imagine that loneliness can be a good thing. In fact, I feel a little lonely today, and it doesn't feel good. Loneliness can actually be a good thing, though. Today, I want to address the brave and the lonely readers who are a little like me. You're trying so hard to do the right thing, but it's hard and lonely work, and it requires you to be very brave.

Loneliness can be a good thing because it's the thing that propels you to enter into relationship. When it becomes uncomfortable enough to be lonely, you become brave enough to get out of your comfort zone and seek deep and meaningful relationships.

There was a time in my life when I seemed to be surrounded by people who hurt me. I attempted to solve the problem by living alone, isolating myself in an effort to insulate my heart. I didn't like it when people placed expectations on me because of who my family was, so I went far enough away from my family to still see them often but not be known by my association with them. I wanted to be married, have friends, and be included in the life of a thriving group of people, but I separated myself from all of the people who naturally would've included me.

It felt very brave, but the loneliness nearly consumed me. Being alone made me vulnerable, and I got into relationships that weren't good for me. It took many years to realize I was on the outside of my chosen life because I'd placed myself there, and I was tired of facing the world alone. When the loneliness became too much to bear, I was finally motivated to change. I got married and had children. That took care of a lot of loneliness, but not all of it.

In general, most of the things I've chosen to do with my life are lonely jobs - writing, coaching, ministry, even motherhood, and I've recently come to realize those things can (and really should) be done in teams. I joined a writing group, which led to a great friendship and a lot of support for my writing. Yay! That took so much bravery though. I just wasn't sure I wanted anyone else's ideas about what I wrote. God has been showing me that ministry, coaching, and motherhood are all better with teams, so I've been looking for opportunities to team up with others like me.

If you've made brave decisions that have led to good things, but have also made you very lonely, don't lose heart. Loneliness is the way to community. Let loneliness drive you to seek out healthy community with like-minded people who can walk through life beside you. Let loneliness push you out of hyper-criticism and self-protection and into relationships.

When we're alone for too long, we can become overly critical in an effort to protect ourselves. Let your walls come down a little and meet people half way. You don't have to agree 100% with someone to be on a team with them. You don't have to marry someone who will never disappoint or hurt you. In fact, even that "perfect" person will disappoint and hurt you because that's simply the nature of relationships. Living life in community means you will be hurt and disappointed, but you will also hurt and disappoint others. In healthy relationships, you work through unavoidable challenges with as much kindness and sensitivity as possible. No one wants to be hurt, but you recognize that it's a normal part of life in community, and the alternative is being alone.

Let's be brave together, get out of our miserably comfortable bubble, and seek out the relationships we need and God intended us to be in. Let's let loneliness drive us to risk being hurt and misunderstood and drive us to learn how to work through hurt and misunderstanding in a healthy way. Let's build a rich and full life, messy and challenging as it may be, so we can enjoy the benefits of loving one another well.



P.S. Speaking of teams, I've joined a team of women who are putting on a women's conference locally called "Bloom Again." I need YOU to be there for this to succeed. Come be a part of an incredible group of women who are seeking God for freedom and healing! I'm scheduled to speak after lunch on Saturday, May 11th, on "Deferred Hope: Reclaiming Your Promises and Purpose." Friday, May 10th, will be a night of worship and experiencing God together. We can't do this without you.

bloom again women's conference
We need YOU to be there. It won't be the same without you.


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