How David dealt with Loneliness.
Do you know that up to half of you reading this blog are feeling lonely, disconnected, socially isolated and alone.
Now that is not good and I'm feeling like we must do something about this. I myself have had this experience and it's no fun. I'm not an expert by any means, but I'd like to share some thoughts that just might help.
I must say though that most people would be quite surprised by this high percentage of loneliness, because we do live in a world that we all know is more "connected" than in all the history of mankind. We have more ways to communicate than you can shake an I-phone at! You would think with all that "liking, emogies and texts" that we should all be feeling warm and cozy with so much "contentedness!" Yet, I'm sure we've all seen a version of this picture, a couple sitting at a table in a restaurant, each looking at their i-phones instead of talking to one another! Is that a meaningful human connection? I don't think so.
The reason I'm interested in this is not only that I've experienced this but because my favorite Bible character also suffered from loneliness. David, who God himself refereed to as "a man after God's own heart" suffered from loneliness a lot. I think his example of how he dealt with it will give us some good ideas how to prevent it and/or deal with it, will encourage all of us, as it is a human condition. Everyone has run into this at one time or another.
I'be been reading about a recent US surgeon general claiming that his country is facing a "loneliness epidemic" Surveys reveal that half of Americans say thy regularly feel lonely while 40% say they don't have any meaningful relationships"! Did you hear that? No meaningful relationships at all! That's just terrible.
I've learned that both a high number of teenagers experience loneliness and also that the aged in old folk homes suffer high rates of loneliness. But its bigger than that, normal people in every walk of life are dealing with it. For example In a 2016 national survey in Canada, there were 28 per cent of households that were single-person households. And it's growing. You just know there would be a lot of loneliness right there too.
The other thing is that doctors will tell you that loneliness brings with it health risks such as cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, substance abuse/addictions, high blood pressure, depression, suicides and so on. It causes a really wide-ranging number of ill-effects on health in general. So now it becomes a public health expense issue also. This same US surgeon general also claimed that "loneliness has the same health risks as smoking 15 cigarettes a day." Ouch!
The fact is that we have been created as social creatures. We cannot survive in isolation. We must have some close friends we can feel connected with or we will be dealing with loneliness. It is somewhat subjective as some people are outgoing and need lots of friends, while others are happy and feeling good with one two or three good friends.
But, we have a problem, we've been sold this "independence" story that for us to get ahead and live a good life we need to be strong and independent by nature. Let me say this the "Marlboro Man" was a lonely man. He looked strong and handsome but he was alone. He had no good connections that gave him life and meaning. That's our problem, we were not made to live out our life alone.
When we do feel lonely and disconnected things go something like this, we begin to withdraw! Our confidence begins to dwindle, we retreat, stay in the house, don't go out. We begin to wonder what's wrong with us. We begin to get upset, angry even when we see how great everyone else is doing. We stay away from Facebook because we cannot compete with the great lives others are living. We don't eat well, we think of the world as unfair...we begin to believe lies like no one likes us, you are alone, their all talking about you, I'm the only one who's suffering like this, no one understands me. How could a loving God do this to me? It must be my fault, you tell yourself it's because I have so little faith....etc etc. And down we go...These I have to tell you are all lies.
Well you are not alone, our super hero, regular guy, David of the Bible experienced loneliness. Here's the encouraging thing. Maybe this is to much for you but if David with all his battles with loneliness could end up being "a man after God's own heart" so can you and you and you and me. I know some of you think I'm crazy, but it's true, and it's exiting to even think that this is actually possible.
I'm looking forward to sharing about that in my next blog, see you then.
to be alone
sometimes life is too good to be alone.”