I struggled with loneliness for years, feeling disconnected and isolated even in my own home. Only when I felt useful did I feel close in any relationship. Consequently, I lived life believing that being useful was the key to connecting to others. I believed that being useful was necessary to be liked or loved. Therefore, I always ensured that others owed me a favor because I helped them. And never put me in a position where I would be beholding to them. Consequently, it became mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting to have any “relationship”.
Regardless of how large or little help I provided, I never felt close or any real connection, except for fleeting moments when receiving gratitude for my assistance. I lived for these moments and allowed them to become my identity. After all, isn’t that what Christians are supposed to do, help, and serve others? If that’s true, why do I continue to feel so lonely? Why does the loneliness linger? Why is it never enough to develop a meaningful relationship?
Fortunately, God brought a mentor into my life named Barry. It was Barry who first shared Max Lucado’s quote; “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.” This quote was the life-changing word of encouragement that I desperately longed for.
First, we identified my broken beliefs that lead to my loneliness; here are a few
- I believed that my faults, fears, failures, and failed fixes made me less worthy of being loved.
- I believed my loneliness was deserved punishment for the harm and hurt I’d cause to others.
- I believed that being useful to others would free me, somehow heal what haunted my heart.
- I believed that men were competitors on or off the field or in the workplace, not companions.
- I believed that my teenage “lone wolf” role models like the “Self-Made Man” were normal.
- I believed that God was like my earthly father; distant, demanding, not as a friend or Abba.
- I believed that intimacy in a relationship was always connected to sex.
Barry’s guidance helped me to recognize that I was an expert on “what not to believe or do” now; I needed to learn how to love and be loved unconditionally.
The key was understanding that God loves me despite my faults, failures, fears, and failed fixes. His saving grace and sustaining grace cover all of these, no matter how many. And that his grace is a gift, bought and paid for by Christ on the cross. All the work has already been done.
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:6-9 NIV
Secondly, he showed me how to see myself, my identity as His beloved son through God’s eyes.
I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 NIV
Lastly, God gave me a new heart to replace my haunted heart with its broken beliefs.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
I’ve tried to condense years of listening, learning, living, and loving in these seven hundred words. My transformation took time, patience, and a lot of lengthy conversations with Barry. There was a lot of trying, failing, then trying again until I grew enough to embrace and trust God’s grace fully.
I hope this blog proves to be helpful for you. Remember, “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.” Reach out to a trusted friend, counselor, coach, or pastor today. It’s time for you to leave your lonely life behind.
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TransformingFamilies.org provides resources enabling you to discover and develop authentic, healthy intimacy in all your relationships.
FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching; if you want to improve your relationships or someone to talk to, e-mail me at ‘email@example.com’, and we’ll schedule a time to connect. My hope for you is that God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed child of God through these blogs, references, and resources.