If any of you read my posts you know I struggle with loneliness. I go from times of having someone to talk to times of complete isolation. My struggle isn't a struggle uncommon to others but the loneliness does seem to cripple you on the days you take your eyes off God or fail to keep them on him.
If you could be a fly on my wall on my lonely days you would see a woman who's heart is broken who is often crying or holding back tears, whose patience with her kids is lacking and who just can't cope with her activities that day. You may hear me cry out to my God for help or a friend to help brighten those days.
It is in that light, that friendship and especially God, can have tremendous effects.
I have many people who have been a real friend to me and on those days when hope is gone and I'm sinking beneath the weight of what I am not, that a friend will call, will write, will send me a message of encouragement on facebook. On those days it's as if God himself made a phone call to get me help. It took me even longer to realize how to help others.
So how can you be that friend? Step number one is to learn to hear God's Voice, the Voice of the Holy Spirit!
I Kings 19:11: The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.Did you catch that his voice is a gentle whisper.
John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.The sheep know it's master because they have spent time with him....How's your bible study going this week?
By knowing who God is and reading the bible you will be able to distinguish between your desires, satan's temptations and God's promptings. God is unchanging so he will not ask you to do something outside of his word. That does not mean he will not put you out of your comfort zone but he will not ask you to do something morally wrong.
Let me give you a few examples of how this happens since this all sounds a little crazy.
- Your awakened in the middle of the night to find that you can only think about one person. You have two choices go back to sleep or pray for them.
- You notice a few really strange posts on your friends facebook that you can't get out of your head. You have two choices, ignore them or contact the person to ask about them and if they are ok.
- You are in a room with a lot of complete strangers and you feel a need to talk with someone, you also notice them glancing at you too. It's just all a little weird. You take the chance to meet them and risk being rejected and looking foolish or you move and initiate a conversation. I've only been asked to do this 4 times and of the 4 times I've not regretted taking that step. The first one I waited almost 2 weeks to make the move, we don't always have a second opportunity. The second the lady broke down on me and we spent the next 15 minutes praying and that day she came back to God. The third I was amazed at God's provision for her. The forth acknowledged and gave praise to God for leading me to her.
- Your at home and you can't seem to get a friend out of your mind that day, you don't know why but you pray for them, sometimes you realize the nudge isn't gone so then you call them. I know I must sound funny sometimes calling people for no reason but a few friends of mine has told me I have called when they needed that friend.
- A strange lady (very old and fragile) offers to walk with you through the grocery store and help you shop and entertain your children as you move through the store. I turned this lady down and I deeply regret not letting her server me. At aisle #2 I knew I had missed that opportunity.
Step #2 Live a life of Expectancy!One of the things I say to my husband before he leaves on a business trip is to call out to God when you need me he will pass the message. God can prompt you to pray when someone needs you. It really does happen. Often I will just send a quick text to my hubby "praying". It is always neat to find out what was going on at the time when I sent that text. It's usually a praise God moment.
This also holds true for Christian friends whom have moved apart from each other. I find that I can be the most vulnerable with a friend isn't as close to a situation. Listen to the advise though with scriptural ears, sometimes friends want to fix things for you, which most good friends want to, but it takes a real friend to step back and say I don't know but I'll pray for you. Call that friend expecting to help them with God's help of course.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.It's important to remember. you don't always get to see the end result of God's Spirit working in you.
Step #3 Sometimes the hardest person to help is yourself!One of the things I have the most trouble with when it comes to friendship is.. I wanna do all the helping.
It is really hard for me to allow someone to serve me. Like the lady in the Grocery store, my Pride often gets in the way. I want to believe I don't need help, but in reality I need more help than I'm willing to admit. When I do this I'm not a friend.
Friendship is based on honesty if you are not honest with someone you will not be a good friend to that person. I teach my kids that hiding is lying. Kids will often put things behind their back or only tell half truths to avoid the consequences of truth. We as adults do the same thing.
One of my fondest friendships is when we decided we could be brutally honest with each other and could say things like "I think you need to go home now, I want to take a nap. "
Sometimes your loneliness is a symptom!Sometimes that help doesn't come the ways I mentioned above. On those days look at what you have been refusing to do for God. Today in my loneliness, when help didn't come I was able to write this post. It had been on my heart to write again lately and I had been encouraged by two friends this week to write. I just had no idea what to write about. God may be doing something in your loneliness too.
Sometimes it can just be depression. Try a walk outside or a bubble bath. Take a nap, read the bible. This doesn't cure depression but it can help you move during it.
Other resources: The friendship of Women by Dee Brestin. This gives you a very close look at friendships in the Bible. I'm on the last chapter so now I have to apply all the new knowledge.
Sign up to get a ONCE Daily Email with all my newest deals! Come join me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Tumblr and Google+.