Our world, wired, connected–full of countless ways to communicate instantly. I can Skype with someone across the globe, text to someone thousands of miles away, instant message, well, instantly. In some ways, we can fool ourselves into thinking we are never alone.
And yet. So many people, even people who are busy and involved and productive, at times feel an ache. A spiritual loneliness that is deeper than our occasional restlessness or boredom.
Do you ever feel spiritual loneliness? If so, how would you describe it? And what do you do to combat it?
I’m working on an article about this topic, and would love to hear your thoughts on it as I’m writing.
I sometimes feel a disconnect, or a disconnectedness if you will, with others spiritually. It has been a while since I’ve experienced this, though. And while at one time I would have thought that might mean it’s due to come around again, now I think one reason I do not get that sense so much any more is because I have taken John 15 to heart. Jesus said we are to abide in him as branches on a vine, and that it is when we abide that he bears fruit in us.
The other passage that has guided my thinking on feelings of spiritual loneliness is Hebrews 12:1-2, where we’re told to focus on Jesus rather than on our shortcomings, and that as we do those shortcomings and hindrances fall away.
So my connectedness is in Christ, and my attention to him keeps me from dwelling elsewhere, including dwelling on my loneliness. It’s like Elijah learned when he dwelt in that cave. He wasn’t alone among God’s people. Neither am I, even if it has felt that way at times in the past.
Good topic, Keri. I’m looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it at length.
Thanks for your thoughts, Tim, and some great verses. I would also observe that you’ve engaged in community with others (where you both give and receive). Jesus didn’t call the church his body for nothing. And the church is of course not just a building, but believers everywhere.
This topic touched a nerve…. I have felt spiritually lonely many times in my life. Even in my marriage to a strong Christian and with my sons who are following Jesus I feel unable to share my spiritual journey. As Tim noted above, connecting with God is the lifeline. Why am I (and others around me) afraid to share the joys and struggles of life? I do not know if it is a cultural issue here in “eastern Canada” as it seemed to be more of a topic of discussion when I grew up in “western Canada” or if it is simply the people in my circle? I know that I have felt closer to others and to God when there has been a deeper connection spiritually with others. I have tried to create spaces for discussion with others and also to be grateful for the few that I can connect with at times. I look forward to your discussion in this area.
Judy, thanks for joining the conversation. It think in some ways loneliness shows growth–because we’re not content to just live on the surface or have superficial connections. So in a way that discomfort of loneliness drives us toward finding community, or perhaps seeking a deeper experience of God.