Social distancing, isolation, quarantine, stay-at-home, these are all terms we are much more acquainted with than we were just a month ago. But you don’t have to be isolated to feel lonely. Even if you’re an essential worker and are still on the job, or if you’re working from home while trying to finish your kids school year, regardless of the number of individual faces you’re seeing on a daily basis loneliness can still settle in your soul.
That’s because loneliness is about quality, not quantity. Stress, trauma, and seasons of change can really reduce the quality of our connections and relationships unless we are intentional about making time, creating space, and spending energy on real connection. Loneliness is self-replicating: when you’re feeling lonely the last thing you might want to do is make the effort to really connect with someone, and that only increases feelings of loneliness.
Soooo here are 3 quick suggestions for connecting when you notice you are feeling lonely.
1. Remind yourself that you are completely known, and deeply loved.
Meaningful connection is about being known, heard, understood, and valued. Loneliness and isolation involve the belief or thoughts that no one knows you, really knows you, or cares to. But God knows you completely and loves you unconditionally. Don’t shrug that off as cliche and buy into the lie that it won’t really help you feel connected. Choosing to believe that it’s true – God knows you better than you know yourself and loves you – is the necessary foundation for connecting deeply with other people. We cannot give others attention, understanding, value, love, and acceptance unless we have those qualities in us to give, and the way we get them in us is by receiving them from God.
Check out Psalm 139 (whole chapter here) ((< reeeead iiiiit)) and spend some time thinking through it, focus on each sentence one at a time and open your mind and heart to what it means for God to know you like this:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.Psalm 139:1-6 NIV
Once you share the psalmist’s conclusion that the concept of being completely known, surrounded, understood, and held by the God of the universe is making you mind = blown, write out some of the questions you wish people were asking you right now. Like maybe, “What worry keeps interrupting your focus recently?” or, “What have you been dreaming about doing after the restrictions are lifted?” and talk to God about those things. He wants to hear you, because he knows you and he loves you!
2. Identify someone in your life that needs some connection.
Could be a child, spouse, family member, friend, co-worker, etc. If you think of someone and you wonder, “Do they really need connection?” just ask yourself, “Are they human?” and if the answer is yes, then there ya go. They need connection.
While you’re at it why not write down 3 names?
3. Ask your humans some questions.
Get beyond, “How ya doin?” Ask them the questions you want someone to ask you. Text, call, video chat, email, snail mail, doesn’t matter. Maybe start with, “Hey! I was just thinking about you and wondering if you’re as tired of this pandemic as I am. lol”
If you’re worried about knowing what to say then just plan on asking more questions. There are always more clarifying questions to be asked, more details to uncover, especially if you’re texting. You don’t have to know what to say to fix anything. Just asking questions and seeking to understand is enough to communicate value and help the other person feel heard and connected.
You could also ask them to tell you their story. Have you ever wished someone wanted to hear your story? Guess what… so have we all! What a beautiful gift to give someone. A gift that will result in you feeling much more connected as well!
Speaking of story, I’d like to share the story of how I fell in love with Jesus with you. That’ll start next week! I’m nervous and also excited.
In the meantime if there are any other emotions you would like me to cover as part of the How To Lead Your Feelings series that I haven’t covered yet, just leave a comment or send me a message!