By Becky Hunter
Do you ever picture yourself alone on a beach reading a great book? Or imagine yourself sailing toward the horizon, alone, through wind and waves? Or maybe you would just appreciate five uninterrupted minutes to stand in the shower. All of us need time alone now and then. Without it, stress levels rise and it’s hard to keep priorities straight. Alone time can be wonderful.
Being alone has as little to do with feeling lonely as being in the midst of a crowd has to do with feeling included. Loneliness is no discerner of surroundings. A new situation can trigger loneliness: a move to a new community, a child leaving home, a change in jobs. On the other hand, loneliness can creep in when relationships and situations become repetitive or routine.
Just today I have responded to five emails from pastors’ wives who wrote GPWN because they are dealing with loneliness. Two of these women are surrounded by people, three are pretty isolated, but all five have, in common, a sense of loneliness and sense they should apologize for feeling the way they do. Perhaps you can identify with them. And if not today, perhaps you could have yesterday, or will be able to tomorrow.
Loneliness can be overcome - you can do something about it. You may find it difficult, especially if you’re shy, but remember even very small steps can be built on. There are many ways you can take action:
Get involved inside the church AND outside it–do things you are genuinely interested in. Join a group or a team and volunteer to serve someone who will be blessed by your attention. Being with people who are focusing on an activity you all enjoy often leads to friendship. If you prefer more solitude, delve into a hobby, read a great book, or even take up sailing. God has filled this world with opportunities of exciting people, places and activities and you can sense His touch in all of it.
There’s also relief to be found in prayer. When you pray, there is an optimal connection with God and you have a venue to vent painful feelings, reflect on needs, and ask for them to be fulfilled. Prayer is wonderful. It will remind you of what you already know: God loves you and He can remove the feelings of loneliness whether you are in the midst of a crowd or alone. When those lonely feelings come over you, look up.
I’m praying for you and I hope you are praying for pastors’ wives everywhere.
Where could I go to escape from your Spirit or from your sight? If I were to climb up to the highest heavens, you would be there. If I were to dig down to the world of the dead you would also be there. Suppose I had wings like the dawning day and flew across the ocean. Even then you powerful arm would guide and protect me. - Psalm 139:7-10