I’m a loner.
I love and enjoy people, but after extended socialising I need to recharge by myself. I don’t do crowds, and love visiting with my friends one-on-one. But if no “friend time” is forthcoming, I can be perfectly fine doing my own thing for weeks on end.
That doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from Empty Emotional Tank Syndrome sometimes. Or loneliness.
Plenty of tears
For the past two years or so, I’ve definitely been in a lonelier season. There have been days when the feeling of aloneness drove me to tears, but I can’t put my finger on a cause as such. Nettie-all-alone I called myself sometimes (when I really lost perspective). They’ve all got a friend except me.
It has not been easy. And the hardest thing is sitting at God’s feet and asking Him, through the tears, when it will end.
Plenty of Lessons
Yet I’ve learned to press into God for comfort and companionship. And I’m encouraged when I think of Jesus’ time on earth and realise that He, too, was lonely. He was surrounded by people, but there were so few of them He truly gelled with. In many ways, He didn’t belong.
Also, I have grown close to my sisters (aged fifteen and nine) because of this. I guess, given our biggish age gaps, this may not have happened unless I’d been gently forced to spend more time with them and build a deeper relationship. I know this is something I will be very grateful for in years to come.
He Meets Our Needs
I bring my needs to God regularly, and the wonderful challenge of this season has been to see how He meets them – and, because He doesn’t always do it as I thought He might, to recognize those incidents for what they are. I’ve been regularly bowled over by Him.
It’s amazing how much it means when a little Xhosa girl blows you a kiss; your six-year-old cousin comes willingly to sit on your lap after supper and practically falls asleep; or someone you know well makes a concerted effort to hug you tight each time they see you.
I recently shared my lonely experiences with my aunt. Part of her reply has given me a lot of courage: “I guess loneliness can also be its own crucible for something beautiful.”
I hold onto the promise of a beautiful thing.
“For God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)