Sunday, December 15, 2019

Why Even Close Friends Don't Satisfy Loneliness

My Past Struggles with Loneliness

6 years ago, I was desperate to have the number of friends that I do now. At that point in my life, I didn't have anyone to really confide in or pray with. Although my husband and I attended church and were part of a life group, I didn't connect with any of them outside of our weekly meetings.

Despite Having Friends, Loneliness Lingers

Today, I can barely keep up with the friends that I do have. So many friends that I consider dear to my heart, but I struggle to keep regular contact with them for various reasons, mostly lack mental energy (I am very much an introvert, so most interactions exhaust me), but to an extent lack of time.

Please don't mistake this for popularity, because I am quite awkward and definitely not very well known among my community circles. And I'm pretty sure those who do know me from afar don't envy having me as a friend.

Yet, despite having a full slate of friends, I still feel lonely at times.
I've pondered why I feel this way. It's not for lack of someone to call or text. I'm blessed to with people I can trust and be vulnerable with.

Only God Can Fully Satisfy

It wasn't until this year that God caused several of my friendships to flourish. I find myself bonding much more intimately with people I've known for years, and have made a couple of new friends that I have hopes for long-time friendship. 

As much as I would've killed for this many friends 5 and 6 years ago, my sinful mind still focuses on what I lack. For instance, I don't have any brothers or sisters to hang out with every week. I so wish I had a sister with children, and our children would grow up super close with each other. Or another family whose parents just clicked with my husband and me, and our children grow up together as our families grow closer. 

But God whispers to me that even if I did have a sister or "best friend family" that we could spend every week with, I'd still be wanting for more. 

I know that this is because only God can fully satisfy. I doubt I'll ever be fully emotionally satisfied this side of heaven, but I do trust that I experience fuller contentment as He sanctifies me (or slowly transforms my life). 

To Those Experiencing Loneliness

I'm not going to lie, I'm thankful to be where I'm at now versus the desperate lonely place I was in 6 years ago. AND I'm not going to tell you to hang in there, it gets better. Because I don't know what God has planned for you. I don't know if it's going to get better. But do know that no matter how happy other people look, they still want more. I whole-heartedly believe this because of the conversations I've had with other moms who have those sisters or best-friend-families that I so badly want. They aren't satisfied either. They still crave some other kind of bond or connection. 

So I pray that knowing others on the "greener" side still aren't satisfied, you can draw near to God in your loneliness. You may not always feel Him, but trust in the truth that He is with You.

John 8:32 (NASB)
and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

My pastor had a memorable note about this verse. He pointed out that Jesus doesn't say, "And you will have good feelings of my presence and those feeling with set you free." He simply says that you will find freedom in knowing the truth. In verse 36 we see He is saying we will have freedom from sin. 

And freedom from sin ultimately means an eternity of joy. Cling to the hope of life fulfilled with intimate friendship with our very real Savior. 

1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.


7 comments :

  1. Thank you for sharing! I'm guilt too of focusing on the things I feel I'm "lacking" in my life. This is such a wonderful reminder that ONLY God can fully satisfy my heart and fill that "lack" with true and complete contentment.

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    1. Your welcome and thank you for your encouragement! It feels so backwards to seek contentment in God when our minds tend to focus on so many other things for satisfaction.

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  2. Amen! This is such a blessing to me. I once was in the same place of feeling like I needed to have a certain number of friends, but as my relationship continues to deepen with the Lord, He shows me to be content with Him so that He can make me the friend I've always desired to have. I then believe that is when He will send me the earthly friend I've always desired.
    Jesus is all I need right now and He certainly sticks closer than any brother or sister.
    Thank you for sharing your heart in this article. I'll pin it for later.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement and sharing your struggles and victory. You are an inspiration for seeking Christ and being hopeful for Him provided the friendships you crave. I think you are spot on with focusing on being the friend that you want to have. Thank you for your support! I appreciate all shares!

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    2. Thank you for your encouragement and sharing your struggles and victory. You are an inspiration for seeking Christ and being hopeful for Him provided the friendships you crave. I think you are spot on with focusing on being the friend that you want to have. Thank you for your support! I appreciate all shares!

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  3. Gosh, thank you for this. I so needed to read this. I have been struggling for the last year with his persistent feeling of loneliness. I have a very deep friendship with a girlfriend of mine and we share everything but somehow there was gnawing underneath all that intimacy. Keeping busy and filling my time with activities too did not help but overwhelmed me. Thank you for the reminder to look to God for fulfillment and to trust his ever presence despite not feeling the closeness of God.

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  4. I'm so glad this encouraged you! Thank you for sharing your experience of loneliness even when having a close friend. I have a godly friend that a LOT of women crave friendship with her, and she has several very close & intimate friendship. And she has shared with me in the past that she still feels she doesn't have that one kind of friendship she craves. And that really resonated with me because I thought, "how on earth can she of all people feel this way?" And I think it's because we as women are craving something that actually doesn't exist this side of heaven!

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