In The Loneliness
I think the older you get, the more shame is attached to the words "I'm lonely."
But I was.
I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was dying.
Several years ago, I thought it would start to get better with a new year. At the time, I was starting two new jobs and was involved in multiple volunteer opportunities. I figured somewhere along the way I'd stop feeling lonely.
But I didn't. And I started to wonder why.
That was the word reverberating around in my mind several years ago when my knees finally hit the floor: why? One Sunday, I climbed into my car after church and broke down crying. I cried all the way home and continued to cry once I got into the door. That's when I was on the floor asking, "Why?"
Why had God opened so many amazing doors, yet failed to give me the one thing I felt I needed: a friend?
This isn't my first round with loneliness. I've always had a hard time making friends. I'm a deep soul, who can't stand surface relationships. I need depth. I need people I can talk to when I'm feeling depressed or when the anxiety is at an all-time high. People I can share my dreams with and tell of the ways Jesus is working in my life. For me, it’s hard to find that. And it felt even harder then.
I was in a weird stage in life. I was 20–college age, but I wasn’t in college like the rest of my friends I grew up with. I had a "big girl" job where my thoughts were being taken up worrying about camp and VBS and the weekly running of children's ministry.
I felt out of place with my own age group. In all honesty, it was hard to see Jesus in the midst of that. It was hard to not feel like a failure when you can't even make a friend. It was hard to keep going towards your calling when you feel it's adding to your loneliness.
But I did.
I focused more on the little blessings Jesus bestows every day. I pushed past the feelings of failure to rest in His grace. I kept going forward, amid the loneliness. It wasn’t easy. It was probably the worst part about living in Wichita. Still, Jesus was there. He gave me reminders constantly.
I am known.
I am loved.
I am called.
And you are too.
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’ Jeremiah 31:3
Loneliness didn’t affect my Jesus. That loneliness didn’t affect my Jesus several years ago, and it doesn’t affect my Jesus now. Thankfully, He remains the same forever.
While some things have shifted in my life from several years ago, many have stayed the same. I still work two jobs, though I no longer work as a Children’s Director. I’m still involved in volunteer opportunities, and I’m in college now.
While I’ve gotten into a social rhythm that I enjoy, one that works for me, sometimes the loneliness still speaks. Sometimes it’s so quiet I can barely hear it; other times it’s so loud the loneliness is all I can hear.
Psalm 139:7-10 says,
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
He is still present. He still shows up every day. He reminds me that I am not alone, because I am His.
What does loneliness look like to you? How has God shown up for you in moments of loneliness?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mariah Roberson is passionate about leading people to know and love Jesus for themselves. She is a college student, who lives outside Wichita, KS. When not doing homework or working, Mariah enjoys reading any book she can get her hands on, and writing and leading Bible studies. She believes that God shows up in the everyday, laughter is some of the best medicine and that Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth.