Romantic relationships are the solution to loneliness
I live in a small apartment with 1 roommate who is almost never home (love you Sarah!) when I am home. As a teacher, I don’t go out after dark. That’s just a fact. (Teachers, you know what I mean.) This leaves me many evenings at home by myself.
For the better part of this last year, it left me wishing I had someone to share in the wonderful awesomeness that is my life.
It left me lonely.
For a while, I sat on my love-seat just soaking in the sound of it…nothing.
It was just me. (And Netflix.)
There was something missing from my life.
I had a car I loved.
A job I was whole-heartedly in love with.
A church that felt like home.
I was even admiring the length my hair had recently achieved.
But there was still an emptiness…a twinge of loneliness.
I need a husband.
Or do I?
As Christians, we like to tell one another that God is sufficient.
Then we tell ourselves we need this and that and him and her…
The truth is, God is sufficient. The truth is also that God made us to be in relationship with other human beings. All the time. In fact, your humanity binds you in a permanent relationship with everyone on this planet whether you like it or not.
God will never leave his people. I also believe that his plans for our lives include constant relationship with one another.
His plan for us is to be unified in Him.
Marriage is good.
God might have marriage in His plans for me. However, it is not the solution to my loneliness or your loneliness.
Beautifully, I was blessed to learn this while still single.
What does that even mean? What did it look like?
As the year turned the corner into 2018, I turned a corner, got off my tiny couch, and pushed into the amazing friendships God has given me.
Through my church community I have a family of brothers and sisters who are always there for me, ready to do life.
They were right there all along.
I am very much not alone.
God has already given me relationship that the lonely heart pangs for-both with him and his people. The kind of relationship that lasts and deepens over time-whether on earth or in heaven.
Whether it’s last-minute movie nights, after-church ice cream runs, or emergency moving help, my church family is there for me.
I have God-fearing brothers and sisters who want to do life with me-and want me to do life with them in return.
So why did I feel lonely?
Just like a present that cannot be enjoyed unless opened, I have to press into that. I have to invest in these friendships to enjoy the fruit of them-to enjoy not being alone. To cure loneliness.
Marriage is not the same as friendship.
But loneliness is also not the symptom of a need for romance.
It’s not cured by “getting” something (or someone) you want.
Now, when I’m sitting at home alone and I wish it otherwise, I reach out. I call. I text. I invite one friend over to watch a movie or I invite myself over for a grading party. I ask questions. I share prayer requests. As a group, we exchange stories about what God has been doing in our lives. We meet in nice work clothes and in sweat pants.
I am no longer lonely.
I act like someone who is in constant relationship-and you know what? it finally feels like I am.
I had friendships before, but I too was distracted thinking I needed something I didn’t have to appreciate and enjoy what I did.
It takes work, but so does everything worthwhile.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” -Jeremiah 29:11
Whether that time and blessing of marriage comes, I will rest in thankfulness that God has given me a whole family to share my life with. In Christ, I have millions of brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers! While He will never leave me, he has also made me to be in relationship, and I will rest in that too.
I don’t know where you’re at with people in your life-or even people in general.
But I do know that God has made you for relationship with others. Ask, seek, keep taking a step forward. I’m not saying its easy or even promising a great group of friends to play the part of a warm-hearted sitcom in your life. But I am saying it’s worth it.
(And if you are married-good for you! Keep investing in both that relationship and the others in your life. Remember that you are still needed in the lives of those around you-especially us single people!)
You might find that you are surrounded by people who also want to do life with others, who are just looking for a friend. You might be that friend.
Dear Jesus, I pray those who are reading this and feeling lonely right now. I pray you would give them the courage to seek comfort and relationship in you. I also pray that you would bless them with good, true friendships and teach them how to be a better friend themselves. Thank you! Amen