CBN TEACHING SHEETS
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, who will
stay with you forever (John 14:16)
Loneliness was the first thing that
God's eye named not good. - John Milton
It was the sixth day. God Almighty
had just finished creating all the living creatures that move along the ground.
As He had at each stage of creation, God paused and evaluated His work. "And God
saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:25). Only one more task remained.
Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). Here was
God's only creation that would not live its life in total ignorance of its Creator.
Rather, made in God's image, Adam would fulfill a role no other creature could
-- he would have fellowship with God and be the object of His love. But after
placing Adam in the Garden, God observed that there was still something missing.
"The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a
helper suitable for him'" (Genesis 2:18). God recognized Adam's need for contact
with another human being -- a need God had built into him. More than just a fellow
inhabitant of Eden, Eve would be the object of Adam's love and would love him
in return. She would share the wonders of creation and the responsibilities of
stewardship. With the creation of Eve, Adam's intimate relationship with God was
complemented by communion and companionship with someone like himself.
design we have an innate need to be loved and belong. As children we learn to
give and receive affection and are taught the skills that will help us find acceptance
in society. Through our relationships with family, friends, co-workers and others,
we form our sense of individuality and find our place in the mosaic of life. It's
when that need for affection and fellowship goes unfulfilled, that we become restless,
If you are struggling with loneliness, you're not alone.
Everyone experiences seasons of isolation for one reason or another. Usually we
overcome loneliness by meeting new friends, entering new social circles, or taking
some other action that reengages us with people.
However, a variety of personal
factors and other circumstances can sometimes short-circuit our ability to connect
with others. Perhaps you have become insecure about meeting new people after the
death of a loved one. Maybe some social setbacks have led you to think that no
one would be interested in your company. Relocating to a new area may have left
you yearning for old friendships and unable to start new ones. There are many
ways that long-term loneliness can take over our lives. Causes
Loneliness doesn't develop overnight. It can
be the result of a lifetime of influences that shape our personality. Or it can
evolve after a major transition or trauma. Often we are unaware of the subtle
forces that can slowly lead us into self-imposed isolation.
Some people tend
to be loners because of circumstances in their childhood development. For example,
growing up with an unaffectionate or overly critical parent may make one shy away
from intimacy with others. Some people simply never learn to communicate well
or get along with their peers. Others have overly aggressive or demanding personalities
that make people withdraw out of intimidation. Conversely, people with low self-esteem
often withdraw from social situations they believe will lead to rejection. Loneliness
can become a lifestyle for the person who struggles with poorly developed interpersonal
There are also many social factors that contribute to loneliness. We
live in an age in which modern technology has made it easier to do things without
other people and without leaving our homes. Television is the chief culprit that
robs us of time with relatives an neighbors. For some, especially the elderly,
the increased likelihood of becoming the victim of a crime keeps them from venturing
out of their homes. Also, because our society is more mobile than in the past,
families may relocate several times for career advancement or other reasons, which
tends to discourage the development of deep friendships.
Loneliness can result
from "situational factors," circumstances in life that increase the possibility
of isolation. People who are unmarried, divorced or widowed are more likely to
encounter loneliness simply because they are more likely to be alone. However,
loneliness can also occur when a marriage relationship doesn't produce the closeness
we expect. The student separated from home, the leader who must remain aloof from
his subordinates, the individual with a disability or disease -- all face a greater
chance of loneliness due to a situation in their lives.
Often loneliness brought
on by developmental, social or situational factors leads to problems that only
worsen loneliness. Alcoholism, drug abuse, family breakdown and other social ills
are frequently rooted in loneliness and usually lead to greater alienation from
meaningful human contact. The proliferation of gangs, religious cults and other
deviant social groups can be attributed largely to people's need to belong somewhere
and their failure to find acceptance in a traditional setting.
be contributing to your loneliness, there is a way out. It begins with confronting
a cause of loneliness that every human being must come to terms with -- the spiritual
loneliness of being separated from God. Each of us has a need to connect with
something larger than ourselves in order to fill the spiritual vacuum that exists
within us all. The Bible is God's plan for developing the most important relationship
in our lives. Loneliness and The Bible
the story of Adam and Eve illustrates, God intends for us to share our lives with
other people. The importance of personal relationships in God's eyes is evident
in the amount of space devoted to them in the Bible. Both the Old and New Testaments
have a lot to say about marriage, parenthood, friendship and church fellowship.
But it is also clear from God's Word that there is one relationship that is preeminent
from God's point of view. That is the fellowship He wants to have with us, which
forms the foundation of all other relationships.
When we accept God's gift
of eternal life through Jesus Christ, we enter into communion with the Creator
of the universe. God Almighty becomes our Heavenly Father and He places His Holy
Spirit within us. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the "Counselor" (John 14:16),
whose presence would guide us into all truth (John 16:13). The Apostles Paul and
John said God's Spirit would fill believers with assurance of our membership in
God's family (Romans 8:16; I John 14:13). Day by day, through prayer and Bible
reading, we can experience the wonderful fellowship that God wants to have with
each of His children. He is never too busy to listen.
A dynamic walk with God
is a solid foundation for building relationships with others. As God's children,
we are members of an incredibly large extended family that encompasses the world.
Our brothers and sisters inhabit every nation on the globe. Spiritually speaking,
our "immediate family" is the group of believers with whom we attend church. They
form an important support group that functions much like our natural family does.
Christians who don't go to church or don't get involved in church activities cut
themselves off from a rich source of companionship.
If you are a Christian
who is suffering from loneliness, ask yourself if you have taken full possession
of the abundant life God wants you to have. Are you spending regular quality time
with your Heavenly Father? Are you active in a local church? Ask God to lead you
into a deeper relationship with Him and greater involvement with fellow believers.
If you have never invited Jesus Christ to be your Savior, now is a good time
to do so. Making Jesus the Lord of your life will put you on a path that leads
to intimacy with God, new friendships with fellow Christians in this life and
an eternal place in God's presence in the life hereafter. Steps
for Overcoming Loneliness
Perhaps you've heard these suggestions
from well-meaning friends: "Why not join a club?" or "You should do some traveling."
They aren't bad ideas but they aren't solutions to the problem of loneliness either.
The following steps will help you break free from thinking, emotions and behaviors
that may be at the root of your loneliness. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify
actions you can take to overcome loneliness.
Admit the Problem
- Only after you acknowledge that you are lonely can you take the steps necessary
to escape from your isolation.
Consider the causes - Evaluate
your life honestly in light of the factors mentioned above. Do any of them apply
Accept What Cannot Be Changed - The death of a spouse,
a relocation away from old friends and other unalterable circumstances must be
faced squarely. God can use transitions in our lives to open doors to new experiences,
but we must be willing to let go of the past and move on.
What Can Be Changed - Many of the causes of loneliness discussed above can
be overcome. Do you fear rejection because you feel inadequate? Do you stay in
your home watching television when you could be at a social function? Has your
best friend just moved away? Regardless of the reason for your loneliness, you
owe it to yourself to take measures that will meet the problem head-on.
- Work on developing self-esteem by stopping destructive self-talk, such
as telling yourself that you are unlikable. There are many good books on the subjects
or rational thinking and misbelief therapy that can help you.
looking at yourself from God's perspective. Study the Scriptures and meditate
on verses that depict God's view of His children.
- Make it a point to get
out of the house at least once a week. Attend church activities, community functions,
take a class, etc...
- Get involved in a cause. There are many groups looking
for faithful volunteers who want to make a difference. Of course, working for
a ministry or charity is also a great way to meet people.
New Habits That Build Up Your Inner Self - As you become a stronger, more
self-assured person, you'll find it easier to make new friends and encounter new
situations. Try some of these strategies for self-improvement:
on God's Word for relaxation and to ease the effects of stress on your life.
- Establish a schedule for a day, weekend or a week. Loneliness often seems
more intense when we have nothing to do. Organize your time and be sure to include
some outside activities.
- Start exercising regularly. Take walks around
your neighborhood, a local park or a shopping mall. You'll feel better physically
Make the most out of your time alone. Aloneness (as
opposed to loneliness) can be a very positive experience. Aloneness, or solitude,
gives us a chance to reflect on our lives, to meditate on God's will for us and
to find healing for the wounds inflicted by the world. Many experts feel that
we spend too little time alone and that we would all be better off by planning
regular times of solitude in our lives.
Make an Effort to Make New
Friends - Often all that is required to escape loneliness is the determination
to seek out a new friend. Overcoming shyness and the fear of rejection are usually
the biggest obstacles to initiating a friendship. Keep the following in mind as
you try to establish new relationships:
- Look for someone with
whom you share a common interest.
- Take the initiative and give the person
a call. Chances are that person may be looking for a friend as well.
a friendship slowly. Don't overwhelm a new acquaintance with your problems and
opinions. With time the openness to express feelings will develop. Give compliments
and be thoughtful. Refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Be a good listener.
Consider Buying a Pet - Pets can be a wonderful source
of companionship. Don't overlook the possibilities. Pets offer uncomplicated companionship
and unquestioning affection. They can even become the catalyst for friendships
with other pet owners.
Loneliness can be overcome. But it's up to you to take
the steps necessary to break free from its grip. Ask your Heavenly Father for
the courage to reach out to others and try new things. Trust Him to give you what
He wants you to have -- an abundant life that includes intimate and faithful friends.
Are you searching for peace with God? Find it here!
If you have an immediate prayer request, or if you need to talk to a caring Christian friend, please call
our 24-hour Prayer line at 1-800-759-0700.
you have a prayer Request?
your prayer request using our online prayer request form. We pray over each
need that is presented to us.
Have you invited Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior?
us an e-mail using our online form so that we can pray with you.
Find a Church Near You
If you need ongoing support, we encourage
you to contact the pastor of your local church. With the guidance of your pastor,
you might also consider seeking professional Christian counseling. Here are some
national ministries that we can recommend:
The Association of Christians
in Private Practice
Rapha National Network
Are you searching for peace with God? Find it here!
Hope in the Midst of Grief
Knowing the God of All Comfort
Scripture references are taken form the New American Standard translation of
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.