Monday, July 21, 2014

loneliness within fellowship: a confessional

There are few feelings as sickening as coming to terms with lies that you have allowed yourself to believe. I have let the enemy whisper loneliness into my heart with notions of my isolation and unwantedness. Sitting last night with a group of girls who I considered to be more socially integrated and active than myself, I heard my own fears and pains echoed in their words. I began to realize how much loneliness is the hidden disease of community. We focus so much on the joys of being together that we can forget the strength of the bonds that sustain our relationships in the silent places, the isolated times.

The lie of loneliness within fellowship is a self-perpetuating one. We believe that we are unwanted, so we stop reaching out to others in our community. "No one is texting me or reaching out online," I'll whine to Everett, without remembering (or acknowledging) that I haven't texted or messaged anyone in weeks. My anxieties about someone turning me down and confirming my unwantedness often overwhelm my drive to connect. Here's my challenge to myself and anyone else who struggles with this: When you are feeling lonely and neglected, be the one who initiates contact. You don't have to plan a huge get together to fill the void of friendship in your heart; a simple text reminder that you are thinking of someone can shine a light on that relationship, and remind both of you of the connection and support you already have.

These are simple tips, but they should be considered "snacks" between the feasts of fun parties and intimate coffee dates. Next time you feel lonely, make the effort to break the cycle and connect. Chances are, you will find that someone feels the same way you do and has the same deep need for friendship and connection.

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