DISPELLING THE GLOOM OF LONELINESS
Two summers ago the gloom of loneliness settled upon me every
morning for several weeks in a row. Each day as I chose to give
God thanks for His blessings, the gloom would lift, providing
temporary relief. However, the next morning the gloom would settle
on me again.
My mind was dominated by a single thought: How can I get rid
of this loneliness? The solution, I thought, was for someone
to love me. I did not notice opportunities to love or encourage
someone else because that was not my goal. John Powell compares a
lonely person to someone with a toothache--constantly in search of
a dentist, someone to make him feel better.
I felt like an empty cup in need of filling. Although my
thoughts were on my need for friendship, my loneliness actually
made it more difficult to make friends or to reach out to existing
friends. I usually became reclusive. When I did reach out, my
efforts were contaminated by a selfish agenda. Inasmuch as I was
trying to meet my own need and to alleviate my own pain, I was
trying to use others. Since people don't like to be used, they
weren't lining up to spend time with me.
I suddenly realized that I wasn't caring about anybody else in
the world. I had become the center of my universe. Philippians
With humility of mind let each of you regard one another as
more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own
personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
I made a conscious decision to begin caring for others. At that
moment the loneliness disappeared, and this time it didn't come
When we humble ourselves in this way, we are like a magnet
which has been turned around. Instead of avoiding us, people are
attracted to us because people love to be loved. People love for
another human being to show genuine interest in what's happening
in their lives. They love to be listened to; they love to be
"You can make more friends in two months by being interested in
others," says Dawson McAllister, "than you can in two years trying
to get others interested in you."
To be able to reach out to others unselfishly, we must affirm
that our needs for love and significance are already met in
Christ. This affirmation results in a "full cup" perspective which
enables us to share love with other people. We thus experience the
reality of 1 John 4:19, "We love because He first loved us."
God says, "If you pour yourself out for the hungry, and satisfy
the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the
darkness, and your gloom be as the noonday" (Isaiah 58:10
(assisted by Brent Wallace)