Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"On Fire": LONELY? Or ALONE?

"For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation."---Psalm 62:1(NKJV)


After recently talking to an "On Fire" woman about a self-diagnosed loneliness issue that she was having and also reading an article entitled "Why Loneliness May Be the Next Big Public-Health Issue" (according to the article "The subjective feeling of loneliness increases risk of death by 26%"), I discerned that it was time to pen something about the difference between being alone and being lonely.

It's not that I don't think most of us understand the differences from a classic sense. It's just that I "fear" that a lot of people tend to make some *very poor relationship choices* and one of the main root causes is because they are lonely. And if that is not addressed prior to marriage, it's only going to put unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations on the marital union.

Case in point...

Every Thursday, I send out a "Marital Covenant Thursdays" devotional. Recently the topic was on unrealistic expectations in marriage. I shared some points from an article that I read on Relevant's website entitled "5 Expectations Marriage Doesn't Meet". Guess what one of them was? LONELINESS. It was the first point, in fact:

1. It isn't a cure for loneliness.

In a society where we're plugged in 24 hours a day, where "community" is more often used to describe your Facebook friends than an actual neighborhood, people long to connect intimately with someone.

We see couples everywhere—in restaurants, on TV, on the bus or train or sidewalks on the way to work—and feel like something is missing in our lives if we're alone. As humans, we have an innate need to belong, and we expect a spouse to provide that sense of acceptance and intimacy and comfort. We're Jerry Maguire looking for a soul mate, someone to whom we can say, "You complete me."

Best case scenario, that's what a good marriage will provide. But I know couples in loving relationships who remain lonely. Why? After all, they've found a perfect mate who has taken great strides toward fulfilling their need for intimacy. But that's a heavy load for one person to bear, despite the stories Cameron Crowe tells. Lonely single people become lonely married people. If your goal in marriage is to satisfy your need to belong, your next stop may be heartbreak.

Rinse and repeat: *Lonely single people become lonely married people. If your goal in marriage is to satisfy your need to belong, your next stop may be heartbreak*.

So what *is* the difference between being alone and being lonely?

Let's look at the definitions of the words:

Alone: (adj.) separate, apart, or isolated from others; to the exclusion of all others or all else; unique; unequaled; unexcelled; (adv.) solitarily; solely; only; exclusively; without aid or help

Lonely: affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome; destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.; lone; solitary; without company; companionless; remote from places of human habitation; desolate; unfrequented; bleak; standing apart; isolate

When you're alone, you're set apart (I Peter 2:9-10), you're unique, you're (dig this!) *unequalled*, you're (super dig this!) *exclusive*---you're not in dire need of aid or help. 

Why? I discern a big part of it is because of the Scripture that starts off this message. By definition, when you're alone, do not depend on a person to provide you with what you need more so than you rely on God. And since your soul is defined as being the spiritual part of you, when your spirit is whole and at peace, you can trust that the rest of you (your mind and body) can be as well. Not only that, but since God has promised you that he will never (NEVER) leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), then you can be sure that your soul is always in good hands.

And do you know why that's so important when it comes to us as women? It's because *we are created to be a man's helper* (Genesis 2:18). Therefore, *if we go into a relationship all desperate and needy, we tend to be clingy and draining rather than helpful and supportive*.

In fact, one of the best things about this time of singleness is that you can use this as an opportunity to see what really does make you all of the definitions of alone that I pointed out. What makes you unique. What makes you unequalled. What makes you truly exclusive: fashionable and stylish, expensive (and you are indeed, expensive-I Corinthians 6:16-20) and "limited to the object or objects designated". Who are you limited to? According to the Word, you belong to Holy Spirit and it's only in marriage that a man, *your husband*, is to have authority over your body (as you do his as well-I Corinthians 7:4). *Only in marriage* is a man truly worthy of that kind of exclusivity! Again, it was the man, Adam, who was told that it was not good for him to be alone. It was the Woman, it is us, who improves a man's state of aloneness.

Lonely, on the other hand, speaks to depression, having a lack of friends and support and looking at life from a bleak perspective. A woman who is in this state, how is she going to provide good help to her future husband? *She's not*. And so, if you sense that you are lonely, *thank the Lord* that whether it's by seeing a counselor, working on your self-esteem, making some big plans for your life or all of the above, you can work on that now. You can go to the Father's throne to get the grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16) that you need to deal with your loneliness so that you can you live abundantly alone and bring so much joy and happiness to your beloved once he arrives!

Remember, *you bring a man favor* (Proverbs 18:22)...

So being alone...

Until it's not good for your man to be alone...

It's all good.

You are a gift.

Therefore, there is nothing to feel lonely about.



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