Thursday, March 14, 2019

3 Ways to Break The Loneliness Cycle

When I go through seasons of loneliness, I tend to get myself into a hopeless cycle. I convince myself that no one really cares about me. So then I think, "What's the point of being around people if no one cares?" I'll isolate myself, staying holed up at home. Then, by not being around people, I feel even more lonely. In this loneliness, I again convince myself that no ones care and use that to continue isolating myself. It is a vicious, endless cycle.

So if you are caught in a similar cycle, how do you break it? Well one thing I've learned in my pain is that God is very personal, so each person's victory over loneliness is unique. But victory is achievable by seeking the Lord's help, comfort, and strength through it.

Below is a list of 3 ways to break the loneliness cycle. Keep in mind that these are not a quick fix. It took me years of implementing these behaviors to find victory of chronic loneliness. So I encourage you to commit to these spiritual strategies
long-term.

1. Counteract lonely thoughts with God's truth. 

Find Scripture passages that prove those thoughts wrong. God's word is our weapon against Satan's attacks on our minds. Post those Scriptures up on places you will read them regularly. And try to memorize them so that they can come to mind as soon as a lie of loneliness enters your mind.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 


2. Force yourself to be around healthy Christians.

This may sound a little harsh, but when you're feeling lonely and depressed, it takes everything in you just to walk out of the house. So you have to push yourself to do something you may not want to do or don't feel like doing, but choose to do so because it's good for you.

By "healthy Christians," I do not mean perfect Christians. Healthy Christians are people who faithfully follow God's Word and humbly fess up to their sins (as opposed to trying to justify their sins).

The best place to carry out this tactic is at a Bible believing church. Other places could be a college campus Bible study or a Celebrate Recovery program.

Keep in mind that all people are imperfect. You may not find comfort or help when you first put yourself out there. In fact, when I was in a season of loneliness and becoming a new member of a church, it took me a whole year there before I really connected with anybody. But that year was definitely worth the wait. So keep reminding yourself that being uncomfortable and putting yourself out there will all be worth it once you find that connection.

1 John 1:7
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 

3. Replace your usual coping mechanisms with quality time with Christ. 

My natural inclination in dealing with feelings of loneliness is to binge-watch hours of TV. Even though I don't always pay attention, just having the noise and images fill my mind keeps me distracted.

But it also distracts me from prayer and intentional time with the Lord. It stunts my spiritual growth. And so do your coping mechanisms that don't line up with Scriptures. Replace them with spiritually uplifting habits that help you manage your feelings effectively.

Whether it's wanting to flip on the TV, take a drink, scroll through Facebook, or anything else...the next time you have to the urge to do it, make yourself sit down instead. Enjoy the silence. Read Scripture. And pray for your emotional needs to be taken care of.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests by made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Carrying these steps out is rarely easy. But by choosing to act based on truth instead of on what we feel provides tremendous healing. Choose to walk in obedience to the Lord, even when it feels the whole world is against you. In those loneliest moments, cry out to Him. When you look back, you will see how God carried you through it. 

What actions have you taken to escape the loneliness cycle? What's another biblical strategy you thin belongs on this list? Please share in the comments. You never know who you may impact just by sharing a few positive words!

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