LONELINESS

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This Quick Study Guide contains excerpts from our Keys For Living book on Loneliness, to offer an immediate overview, concise answers, with biblical hope and practical help.

QUICK STUDY GUIDE - LONLINESS

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HOW TO BE ALONE AND NEVER LONELY

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength”

Philippians 4:13

Loneliness is common to us all and knowledge alone cannot solve the problems loneliness causes. However, knowledge coupled with wisdom can be very helpful in limiting the negative effects of loneliness in your life. While loneliness feels like an emotional problem based on unchangeable circumstances, it’s actually a perception problem that can lead to emotional, spiritual, and even physical challenges.

Loneliness … even the word sounds painful, bringing up unhappy memories from the past. Were you the one teased about your looks in childhood or the only one without a date to the senior prom? Maybe your best friend moved to a different city or your dad moved out of the house when you were young. Everyone struggles with feelings of loneliness, for no one escapes separation, loss, grief, isolation and the human need for relationships. “We were created to live in partnership with each other and with God. The story of Adam and Eve indicates they were partners in relationship to each other, creation and their Creator.… as Paul wrote, "None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself.’ In life and death, we long for human community.”

Will the loneliness ever stop?

“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.”

(Romans 14:7)

God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story.

Interestingly, the word alone appears 118 times in Bible Scripture and rarely is it synonymous with the word lonely. In fact, “the noun ‘loneliness’ did not acquire its present meaning until this century, and did not appear in any major dictionary until after the Second World War. In other words, loneliness has only recently been thought of as a mental condition.” It doesn’t take long in the classroom of life to learn that you can experience loneliness even when surrounded by a crowd. But aloneness is much different. Properly used, it can be a doorway to God. Jesus made a distinction between the two concepts when He said,

“You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”

(John 16:32)

 

Your longing to belong is natural because God has placed within each of us a basic need for relationship with Himself and others. Don’t seek to dull the pain of loneliness by finding substitutes to fill the void. Instead of placing your focus on your personal need, refocus on your relationship with Christ. 

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation.”

(Psalm 62:5–6)

 

Negative Conscious Language - What Is the Language of Loneliness?

By continuously using language like the statements below, you can actually create your own world of isolation, receiving the exact opposite response than you want. These self-defeating “I” statements focus selfishly on self-protection. They are wall building instead of bridge building, keeping you stuck in a state of loneliness.

Check each of the following statements that apply to you. 

  • “I feel all alone.” 
  • “I don’t believe anyone understands the way I feel.” 
  • “I don’t really matter to anyone.” 
  • “I don’t have any good qualities that draw people to me.” 
  • “I don’t have anything to offer to a relationship.” 
  • “I can’t seem to connect with other people.” 
  • “I will never find anyone to love me.” 
  • “I don’t feel like I fit in with anyone.” 
  • “I’m tired of trying to make people like me. I always fail.”
  • “I’m empty on the inside.”
  • “I’m always on the outside.”
  • “I’m too messed up for anyone to like me or want to be around me.”
  • “I’m just a born loser.”
  • “I feel like I’ve been deserted.”
  • “I don’t deserve to be loved or to have friends.”
  • “I think I’m the only one who feels like this.”

“My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me.” 

(Job 19:14)

What Does It Mean to Be Alone?

  • The Old Testament Hebrew word translated “alone” is badad, which means “all by oneself.”
  • The New Testament Greek word monos denotes “single, alone, solitary.”
  • To be alone is the state of being solitary, separated from others.Jesus often sought solitude. 
  • He separated Himself from others in order to commune alone with the Father.

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” 

Matthew 14:23

 

What Is the Difference between Alone and Lonely?

  • Loneliness refers to the emotional… the state of feeling rejected and desolate. 
  • Aloneness refers to the physical… the state of being separated from others.
  •  Loneliness is usually a negative experience … accompanied by feelings of hopelessness. 
  • Aloneness is meant to be a positive experience … a time of creativity...

 

What Is Loneliness? 

  • The Old Testament Hebrew word for “lonely” is shamem, which means “to be desolate.”
  • The New Testament word eremos means “desert places.”
  • Loneliness is a state of sadness resulting from feeling isolated or “cut off from others.” 
  • Loneliness means feeling separated from others. 

“Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none.” 

(Psalm 69:20) 

 

What Is Chronic Loneliness? 

  • Chronic loneliness means continually feeling isolated and disconnected from others. 
  • Chronic loneliness often leads to personal isolation, bitterness, and destructive behavior. 

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” 

(Proverbs 14:10) 

 

How Do Being Alone and Being Lonely Differ? 

  • Being alone refers to the physical—the state of being separated from others. 
  • Being lonely refers to the emotional—the state of feeling isolated, rejected, or desolate. 
    • Being alone can be a positive experience—a time of creativity and communion with the Lord.
    • Being lonely is always a negative feeling—often accompanied by feelings of hopelessness. 

“Look and see, there is no one is at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.”

(Psalm 142:4)

 

Psychological Symptoms of Loneliness 

Persistent loneliness can lead to other problems... 

  • Depression 
  • Anger 
  • Fear 
  • Fault-finding in others 
  • Self-criticism 

People who are perpetually lonely... 

  • Have difficulty taking risks socially, such as introducing themselves to others, starting a conversation, or joining a group 
  • Feel uncomfortable sharing personal feelings 
  • Have difficulty trusting others in a social situation 
  • Develop a pessimistic or cynical outlook on life 
  • Expect to be rejected by others 

When loneliness becomes severe... 

  • Thinking is altered. 
  • Outlook on life changes. 
  • Motivation is lost. 
  • Hopelessness abounds. 
  • Isolation deepens. 

 

Physical Symptoms of Loneliness 

  • Anxiety and apprehension 
  • Change in eating habits 
  • Change in sleeping habits 
  • Decreased immunity to illness 
  • Gastrointestinal problems 
  • Headaches 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Nervousness 

 

How to Overcome Loneliness

Loneliness is having...

  • No one to talk to, to spend time with, to reach out and touch
  • An empty lounge chair, a half empty bed, an emotionally empty heart
  • A phone that never rings, mail that never comes, a doorbell that never chimes
  • Time to spare, but no one with time to share
  • A gift, but no one to give it to
  • A house that is no longer a home
  • A meal without fellowship
  • A special occasion without a special person
  • A new outfit, but nowhere to go and no one to wear it for

Loneliness is overcome by... 

  • Filling a once-empty table with dinner guests 
  • Not waiting for company but sending out invitations 
  • Making holidays festive by starting new traditions 
  • Calling others on the phone 
  • Letting go of grudges and extending forgiveness 
  • Sharing a meal with a shut-in 
  • Giving gifts to needy children 
  • Finding someone to listen to 
  • Taking the time to visit those in need of company 

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

(Matthew 25:37–40)

 

Praying for Comfort in Loneliness 

Thank you, God, that you... 

  • Care for me with compassion 

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22). 

  • Offer strength when I am weak 

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). 

  • Meet all of my needs 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). 

  • Forgive and forget my sins 

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

  • Offer hope for the future 

“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

  • Reassure me of Your love 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). 

  • Turn my pain into joy. 

“Weeping may stay for thenight, but rejoicing comes in the morning”

(Psalm 30:5). 

 

Key Verse to Learn

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

Key Passage to Read 

(Psalm 63:1–8) 

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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

Thank you for your interest and support in Women of Faith. We pray God will encourage, equip, and empower you with His life-changing truth.

 

RELATED TOPICS

Aging Well

Being Single

Depression

Divorce

Grief

Purpose in Life

Rejection

Single Parenting

 

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