Would you like some additional tips to combat loneliness?
Cherice cringed at the thought of another holiday alone. “You do not know how embarrassing it is to be my age and still be single. I hate going to family events. They constantly ask me when I am going to be married and have kids.”
“You don’t know anything about loneliness.” Damon chimed in. “I was lonely when I was single, but I had hope. Now that I am married, I have this black pit of loneliness and hopelessness that never goes away. I thought being married would give me someone to pray with and spend time with, but all I have is a roommate. We have nothing in common. I wish I had stayed single.”
Sandra cried too. “I am lonelier now, at age 70 than I ever was when I was 30 and single or 40 and married. I know what it was like to have someone to share my life with, but now that my husband is sick my whole world has changed. Each day I wake up in a house with a stranger and long for life to go back to the way it was.”
How about you?
Caregiver, are you lonely? Do you see yourself in any of the scenarios above?
Despite our modern society having more social outlets than ever before in history, one in five Americans define themselves as lonely.
The burden of loneliness:
Are you one of the people who are carrying the burden of loneliness? Lay it down. Laying our burdens down may seem trite and overly simplistic, but Jesus came so that we could lay our burdens on Him (Matthew 11:28-30).
Right now, you have two opposing voices speaking to you- God and the enemy. Those are the only two choices you have for who you will listen to. You can listen to God’s voice when He tells you to give Him the burden of loneliness or you can listen to the enemy when he tells you that you will never get over your lack of companionship. Who are you going to listen to?
The science of loneliness and isolation:
If you choose to listen to the enemy, your choice could lead to heart disease and chronic illness. New scientific data has found that isolation increases the chances of premature death by 14%.
In our first post on loneliness, we addressed a couple of simple techniques for coping with loneliness. In this post, we will examine additional ideas. For instance, did you know that your thoughts change your brain chemistry? Your thoughts also change the environment around the cells of your body. The way you view your loneliness can affect more than just your thought life. It can alter your physical body.
others who were lonely:
One of the great heroes of faith was George Mueller. If you are unfamiliar with him, please look up his prayer life. He literally built orphanages while feeding and clothing over 10,000 children by prayer. He did not tell others his needs, nor did dwell on the dismal circumstances engulfing him. Instead he spent time alone with God.
Another person who was lonely, in caregiving, was Brother Lawrence. He was a simple cook, in France, in the 1600s. He was a caretaker for the kitchen of a monastery, but he wanted to do much more. Instead of forcing God’s hand to change his position and circumstances, Brother Lawrence instead dedicated his life to praying alone while he washed dishes.
Praying like the great men of faith:
Do you feel like God cannot meet you in the seclusion of your home?
Step 1-Reframe your thinking.
Take a look at this Old Testament verse. Ezekiel 48:35 says, “The Lord is there.”
I have many married friends who are lonely in their spiritual life because their spouse refuses to pray with them or read the Bible with them. Are you lonely in your prayer and Bible study? The Lord is there! Are you tired of having people all around you and yet having no one that you can really talk with? The Lord is there! Are you so exhausted from caregiving that you cannot leave the house to be around others? The Lord is there!
George Mueller and Brother Lawrence could have become despondent and given up; instead they took their prayers to God alone. Likewise, King David was popular and had hundreds of wives and children, yet he wrote about loneliness. Psalm 62 talks about trusting God alone. If we put our hope for companionship in people, it will be misplaced and we will be let down.
The next step:
The first step in today’s post, to help ease loneliness, was to realize how crucial your thoughts are. Now that we understand how vital our thought life is, let’s move on to step two.
Step 2- Look up scriptures about God not forsaking you.
An excellent verse to start with is Isaiah 62:4. The King James Version says, “ Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee…”
Read your scripture over and over again to get it deeply embedded in your spirit. Another tip is to write your scripture down on several index cards and post them in visible locations such as the refrigerator, your mirror, or your car.
Using scripture to combat loneliness:
Since we are trying to reframe our circumstances and learn a new way of thinking about our situations, we will examine additional methods to learn. There are seven different learning styles. We will not go into all of them here. However if just reading a verse does not help you memorize it, try a different approach:
- Visual learners prefer pictures and images.
- Aural learners prefer sound and music.
- Verbal learners prefer using words in speech as well as writing.
- Kinesthetic learners prefer physical movement.
You can research these, as well as the other three, in more depth. For now, make the decision to use one of the methods to help you memorize verses applicable to the season of life you are in.
Memory on the move:
If you have ever raised an active child, you are well aware that some people learn better if they are moving while they learn. For instance, you could rehearse your scriptures while walking, folding laundry, cooking, or any of the other myriad of caregiving chores you perform daily.
You can be just like Brother Lawrence, who worshiped God while in the kitchen. Your caregiving may seem boring and monotonous now, but you can use those tedious moments to pray, praise, and memorize scriptures. I wrote an entire magazine article on this a few years ago that I will share at a later date. Plus, we will have additional posts on various caregiver emotions coming up, so check back for those posts.
What about you?
In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you find time to pray, praise, and memorize scripture. Caregiver, what are some ways you learn scripture best? Also, please share how you personally combat loneliness.