Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Getting Loneliness Fixed

Genesis 2:18
And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him

We've known for many years that books, movies, and television have given us a jaded, skewed idea of what love and romance is. There is not an orchestra that plays when a couple begins to embrace and kiss. There are very few women with the genetic code, or the financial bankroll to have the perfectly curved bodies of actresses garnering the attentions of males on the silver screen. What we haven't confronted is how television shows, movies and books have given us a false impression of what circles of friendships are. 

It's not just pre-teens and teenagers who struggle with their lack of friends; moms and dads of those kids do too. It's not just unmarried people who struggle with this loneliness, many marriages are growing a forest of bitterness because they've expected their spouse to meet this need. Married, single, young and old; we assume something is wrong with us if we do not have a living room full of friends every week. Or we blame cliques and say that people are mean-spirited if they're not inviting us to their social gatherings. We have determined that something is wrong somewhere if our social lives are not mimicking the friendships we see in media. This struggle causes pain, anger, resentment toward others, self-loathing. 

And loneliness.

Because of our jaded ideas about what a real friend is, what role they're "suppose" to play in our lives, we have wrongfully tried to fix loneliness via human hands, human ears, human conversations, humanity's shared laughter. In my years of intense loneliness it would make me very angry for a well-meaning elder or mentor in my life to say, "God is suppose to be your everything." In the wounded state I was in, it felt like they were trying to brush me off. It felt like they were trying to excuse themselves from offering the relationship I felt I needed, and I felt they in particular needed to provide for the emptiness I felt. 

We need to take a second look at loneliness and how to fix it.

Adam was alone, not lonely. 
God did not look at Adam and say, "It is not good for man to be lonely." Eve was not meant to be a loneliness-banisher. Even after Adam had his helper, he (AND Eve) still needed those walks with their Creator. God's presence made and kept them able to be a help to each other.

We tend to not have the strength to love and serve others because we're burdened by loneliness. When we seek humanity to banish loneliness, we find ourselves becoming more and more selfish, less and less caring, more and more of a taker, less and less of a loving, joyful giver. When the humanity in our lives do not fix the loneliness problem we become hurt, resentful, and bitter. Many times we resort to isolation and in this selfish state, cannot see how we should be building, lifting, and helping others. We fruitlessly spin our wheels trying to dress, speak, or behave as the group of people we think will fulfill and complete us. In our elusive chase to "have" our delusion and fantasy of friends, we lose and destroy the real, tangible satisfactions. 

God’s presence eliminates loneliness so that we can ENJOY being selfless. The reason for our existence is to be a help to those our Creator has put in our lives. It's a trap for us to go through our days looking and hoping for people to satisfy our loneliness.

It's not possible for a human to fill the void God is suppose to fill. When we take our burden of loneliness to each other, we drain each other. It's a vicious cycle that affects marriages, friendships, co-working relationships...

I said, "it's not possible for a human to fill the void God is suppose to fill." If you've had a close friend make you feel complete you won't believe that statement. You will argue that it IS possible because you've experienced it before. I ask you to question the reality of that; 1. Are they still in your life? 2. How long has this relationship been in progress? 3. You've NEVER felt lonely over a long period of time? 

These questions are important because it's possible for one person, or a group of persons to make you feel complete, but generally it comes to an end, and though that person may still remain a loyal friend, you'll experience loneliness again. And the unfortunate occurrence that happens too often, is our lack of understanding of HOW to maintain friendships by God's guidebook causes us to drive friends who love us away. It's tragic.

I think that because there's just enough godliness in humanity (due to the fact that we're created in His image) we can relieve loneliness in one another. But it's not complete because we are not God, we simply have some of his traits. So, we may have brief moments with friends, family, or a romance that relieves the loneliness. But we wrongfully assume, "This person has the magic touch to banish the darkness of loneliness." In reality, we fellow humans simply do not have enough "superpower" to truly and utterly relieve someone of loneliness. Those ministering with the Holy Ghost can assist the lonely longer than the average, unfilled, and non-empowered human. But a person doesn't have to be involved in ministry for very long before they experience the loss of virtue, the draining of strength due to trying to compensate for what God alone can truly fulfill.

God alone can banish loneliness. 

We must take our pitiful, lonely souls to Jesus. We MUST get alone with God; free from beeping phones and alerting schedules. Away from ever-new social media feeds and info. We must utterly empty ourselves of every fear, obsession, and concern. We MUST let the emotions release while alone with him. We MUST weep, or shout, or smile, or laugh while in prayer. Whatever we wish "a friend" were near to hear, we must say to God. Let His presence fulfill us. Let His glory saturate our soul so completely that every wound, dark corner, wrinkle and crevice is banished of the loneliness. And for goodness sake, speak in other tongues as we see them doing in the New Testament! 

After this infilling and saturation of God's Spirit we will feel the strength to be a help to those other humans placed in the gardens of each of our lives. Because Christ has taken care of the loneliness, we will have the strength to lighten others' loads, offer some relief (as little as it may be) to others' loneliness, demonstrate compassion, we will find friendships coming to us. And we won't drain them by trying to live out a friendship of fantasy.

Our marriages, friendships, relationships may offer some relief from loneliness, but if we'll stop withholding pieces of ourselves from God out of our stubborn insistence that particular people "should love and care for me," and if we'll give God the right and opportunity to banish ALL of the loneliness, we will better enjoy serving each other in love.

...and joyfully serving in love ALWAYS brings more love and joy.