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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don't Waste Your Loneliness

Many emotions are easy to admit. We say I'm excited! I'm happy! I'm sad! but every so often do we ever admit to the feeling of loneliness. It's a well kept secret yet a huge pink elephant that sits in the corners of our rooms on a cold winter night when the lights are down and the doors shut. Especially in singleness, it is easier to feign how often this emotion rares its head in our hearts because God forbid you show a sign of discontentment with the season the Lord has placed you in. So we find various ways to deal with this "ungodly" feeling before it becomes obvious or overwhelmingly embarrassing. So we use different mechanisms- get buried in work, binge watch tv series or if you're like me, get mad at the feeling of loneliness and beg God to take it away so I can focus on more important things.

Emotions as a Living Sacrifice 
"If the yearnings went away, what would we have to offer up to the Lord? Aren't they given to us to offer? It is the control of passion, not its eradication, that is needed. How would we learn to submit to the authority of Christ if we had nothing to submit?"- p.90 Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot 
We are tempted to dismiss some emotions as "ungodly" because we have not learnt to offer unto the Lord- the good, the bad and the ugly. Loneliness particularly makes me uncomfortable because of the vulnerability in admitting: "I desire companionship and I simply cannot do life alone" However, I am learning that at the very root of this realization lies a small window of opportunity to direct the path this emotion leads to . While being lonely doesn't necessarily mean discontentment, if not dealt with properly, it can easily lead to that. In fact, all emotions are a gift from God because they serve as signals that keep us connected to the depths of our humanity. Like every other gift from God, we are called to be good stewards of our emotions and offer them back to the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). So the goal is not to actively avoid loneliness or get frustrated every time we feel that way but to learn to "offer our loneliness as a living sacrifice".

Gospel Truth 
"Only in the flesh could Christ enter into our destiny, understand our temptations, and be fully Redeemer and Savior. Who can save us who does not come down into our sufferings and experience our pangs"- p.117 Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot 
In my attempt to get rid of the feeling of loneliness, I cry and beg God to remove that feeling completely. In this moment, I don't want Christ to hold my hand through the storm, I want him to calm it. Sometimes he does the latter, but most times the former and then my loneliness leads to rage and rage to fear. In this moment what I am saying to Christ is, I don't think you will ever understand how it feels and I believe the best thing for me is to not feel at all. How wrong is that though?  If there's anyone who can relate to loneliness, it is the one who himself lives in us; the one who is fully God and fully man. He is the only one who understands the extent of it and the only one who can actually do something about it. Who are we to advice God on the path that will yield the most good in us ? (Isaiah 40:14). So I say, whether you choose to calm the storm or hold my hand through it, help me to trust that you're leading me in the path everlasting (Psalm 139:24)

How to be Lonely Well 
"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God"-Jim Elliot  p.80 Passion and Purity 
As you may have noticed, I've referenced quotes from Elisabeth Elliot's book, Passion and Purity. If you're able to, find the book and read it. The rest of this article will be lifted from p. 79-80 of the book because I couldn't have said it any better :)

- Be still and know that he is God

When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. get to know him. If he is God, he's still in charge.

- Give thanks

In times of my greatest loneliness I have been lifted up by the promise of 2 Cor 4:17-18, "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen." This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which seems a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.

-Accept your loneliness

It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last.

1 comment:

  1. I must say this is a good piece. Merely seeing the intro on instagram is enough to have caught my attention. God bless you for this piece!

    I believe the period of loneliness reveals the unending love and will of God.

    I will end with this scripture:

    “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”
    ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬


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