Whatever the reason, loneliness when you’re surrounded by people is painful, especially during the holidays.
It’s also easy to feel this way when you’re separated from someone you love like a spouse, children, siblings, significant other or best friend. In times like this, every jingle, every Christmas carol, every Ho-Ho-Ho reminds you that a large piece of your heart is missing.
I’ve been there. Boy have I.
In fact, these past few Christmases, I’ve avoided the commercial aspect of the holiday like the plague because the most important person in my life can’t be here to celebrate with me. People tell me to just get past it and put up those decorations or somehow get in the spirit. But what they don’t understand is those decorations hurt. The songs made me want to cry. The social gatherings are an intense reminder of who I’m missing.
But you know what?
There is someone who knows with certainty what we're feeling, whether it's a feeling of unworthiness or a longing to be near those we love, and He’s just waiting to share the season with us. After all, He’s the reason for it.
Now before you dismiss this post and think I’m going to tell you why you should be happy even when you’re not, let me assure you I would never do that. I take your loneliness way too seriously.
But what I am offering is a new way to think about it. I, like many of you, will go through the holidays this year without the most important person in my life. And let’s be real, no matter how much we focus on Jesus and the glory of Christmas Day, the separation from someone we love or the lack of a connection in a roomful of people still hurts. Horribly so.
As humans, we require heart connections, need someone to listen to us when we want to talk, long to know that we’re loved and missed, even in our brokenness. When someone asks us how we are, we want them to mean it—to know that our answer matters to them. I know I do.
So, what can we do to get past the loneliness of the next few days? As with everything else in life, let’s look to His Word.
Let’s Put it in Context
Not being with someone you love during the holidays is awful, and in order to make myself feel better this year, I’ve decided to look at it another way. Matthew (27:46) tells us that Jesus cried out in His loneliness on the cross, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus knew that the Father was the only one He could rely on, but at that moment, He felt some very real emotions and they probably amounted to what we know as loneliness. Only way more intense than you or I will ever feel.
That’s not to take away from how you feel—your pain is very real. But it does let us know that our Savior understands exactly how we feel. And if He understands it, He can provide us with the comfort we need.
Let’s Learn from It
The only way to get past hurts and disappointments is to learn from them, but try telling that to anyone in the midst of their pain. Sometimes, the pain is so real, so overwhelming that it’s all we can do to put on an acceptable face and “get through it.” But is that really what God has in mind for us, even in the midst of our loneliness?
I don’t think so.
Hebrews 13:5 tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. And James 4:8 tells us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. So the first step in the process is to go to the One who can give us the comfort we need. Talk to Him and tell Him how you feel—how you long to be understood and loved, and how every bit of you aches for your missing loved one. Put aside a little quiet time where it’s just you and Him and pour out your heart to Him. Tell him everything and let his deep love for you wash away the layers of loneliness.
And then, once you’re refreshed, change how you approach the holidays.
Start by being vulnerable to the trustworthy people around you. It’s easy to be closed off when you’re lonely or feeling unworthy, but that will only perpetuate the feeling. That doesn’t mean you should spill out your heart to everyone nearby, but be real and honest with the people you trust. Remember to listen as much as you talk, and care about them as much as you’re asking them to care about you. When you open yourself up to people, it gives you an opportunity to form new friendships that can help ease your loneliness.
Another great way to form connections this season is to stop waiting to be invited. Who says you have to wait for someone to invite you someplace? Instead, why not plan an activity or two and extend invitations to people you already know, or those you want to get to know a little better? Remember, chances are you’re not the only one who is feeling lonely this Christmas season. In fact, someone could be waiting for your call right now.
Jesus tells us to love each other the way He loved us. And I for one, am going to stop focusing on my own pain this year and try to be a blessing to someone else.
Father, I pray that those who are feeling lonely right now will feel the comfort You want to give them. Please reach out to them in a way that is unmistakably You. Show them they are loved, cherished, and that the plans You have for their lives are beautiful beyond their wildest dreams. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Remember, if you want to talk or ask for prayer, you can always reach out to me via the Contact Me page and I’ll answer you right away!
I pray His best for you,