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Life and Leadership

Guest: Dr. Ronnie Floyd


January 19, 2024

7 Great Ways Singles Can Overcome Loneliness

Ah, the single life. For most of us, we have more freedom and more free time. Sometimes we're content, and other times it's not easy being alone. After the day ends, when your friends have gone home, and all your devices are turned off, you may just feel a twinge of loneliness. Then there's the "Sunday afternoon" effect. You may connect with people at church in the morning and then, as the afternoon lingers on, you feel disconnected. Lonely. They have their families, and you drive back to an empty apartment. Coupled or uncoupled, we all feel lonely at times. It's normal, to be sure, but it can be hard to talk about. Even your friends may not always understand. Thankfully, you don't need to be embarrassed about feeling lonely.

Here's help and hope.

What are some times in life when you feel lonely? I know in day-to-day life we often spend more time on our devices than with people in person—and we miss that face-to-face interaction. We're not developing deep relationships. We're connecting, but we just don't feel very connected.

Or, maybe you just moved to a new city, and you don't know anyone yet. I remember when I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado. I packed up my little red Honda and drove more than 1,000 miles across the country. I was happy for the move, but at the start, it was a very lonely time. It was almost a physical ache.

You could be feeling lonely because you're going through a divorce or breakup. Or, you've lost your spouse of many years, and you're transitioning from being a couple to being single again.

Maybe you're at a place in life where everyone in your friend group is getting married—-or they all seem to be busy right now.

Whatever the situation, loneliness hurts.

Let's look to God's Word for some hope and strength. What does the Bible say about loneliness? How can our good and loving God help you to navigate seasons of feeling lonely?

• In Psalm 68:5, we see God's compassionate and kind heart as it is described as: "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

Matthew 28:20 reminds us that Jesus promised to be with us. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." We are really never alone. That is a sure and comforting promise.

• When you're feeling lonely, it's so good to know that you can talk to God about it in prayer. That is one of the best things we can do! Then shift the burden from your shoulders to His by "casting your cares." 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Cast your cares (like you cast a fishing line), but don't reel them back in!

• Finally, Philippians 4:5-6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

So, what are some things you can do when you're feeling lonely? When you're feeling sad or discouraged, take action with these seven helpful ideas:

1. Know that it's okay to feel lonely sometimes. Single or married, it is very common. Even if you love living the single life, loneliness can creep up from time to time. Do you know why? Because we were created for connection with other people. Healthy love and friendships are vital to our well-being.

2. Don't isolate yourself. Sure, it's easy to bury your head in work, or get lost in movie marathons or video games because you don't want to venture out or risk getting hurt. But we were built for community, for relationships. When people are too isolated, they can get discouraged or even depressed.

3. When I'm feeling lonely, I try to remember that I have a choice about what I'm telling myself. I don't know how many times I've given in to self-pity and sadness. And I've said to myself, "I feel so alone right now, so I'm just going to be sad."

Instead, I can choose to say to myself, "Yep, I'm feeling lonely right now. What can I do to find joy again?" I don't have to stay stuck in the sadness. I can take positive action. I can call a friend. Or go for a walk. Or do something I enjoy.

4. Remember you may feel alone, but you're not alone. The One who loves you most is always there. The God who made the universe, who knows all things, who has all power and authority wants to be with you, and wants to be with me! That is mind-blowing in a good way.

5. Sometimes I wonder if feeling lonely can be a catalyst—a nudge to help us move forward in a new direction. For example, maybe you need to be more intentional about building community—and making new friends or renewing relationships that have gone by the wayside. Ask yourself: What is one thing, even a small thing, I can do to connect with a positive, life-giving person this week?

Maybe your "nudge" has to do with gaining perspective. I think a lonely time is for a season. Ask God: What do You have for me in this season of my life? This could be a time God is leading you to new purposes—like finally writing that book, or starting that new business, or doing that thing you really want to do, but have been putting off.

6. Avoid "desperate dialing," meaning don't call or text an old flame because you're feeling lonely at the moment. Focus forward, not backward.

7. Encourage someone else. That might sound odd, especially when you're the one who's hurting. But helping others can help you keep your mind off your own situation, and serving others not only helps them, but also brings you joy.

Make time to pray about new possibilities. Believe that God has more for you. And that loneliness is for a season—or even a few hours—and it will pass. Brighter days will come.

Choose to take one small step to get back into hope and joy.

Remember, God is with you. Be at peace.