When we do not shift our focus from self to others, we can easily
fall prey to loneliness. Imagine a lonely woman who laments, "All
I want is someone who cares about me. Is that so much to ask? I
just want some friends. I call other people, but nobody calls me.
I sent thirty-eight cards last Christmas; I didn't receive any."
Her goal is to be loved. She does not notice opportunities to
love or encourage others because that's not her goal. Her goal is
to meet her own need, to alleviate her own pain. She is like a
person with a toothache--constantly in search of a dentist,
someone to make her feel better.
Fearing rejection, she has difficulty reaching out to others.
When she does reach out, she may appear to be loving, but
she does not really seek the interests of others; she seeks her
own. She attempts to manipulate people to love her.
As long as she seeks to receive rather than give, there will be
no end to her misery. She joins the group
C. S. Lewis calls "those pathetic people who simply want
friends and can never make any." Her only solution is to change
her goal. Instead of seeking to get others to love her, she must
seek to love others, expecting nothing in return.
She may think, "If I stop seeking my own happiness to seek the
happiness of others, I'll be shortchanged. My needs won't
be met." Her wrong goal is based on the erroneous belief that she
is unloved--an empty cup in need of filling. She yearns to know
she's valuable, but she makes the mistake of looking into the eyes
of others to read their opinions of her. If she will instead look
into the eyes of God, she will find the acceptance she craves. As
she affirms that her needs are already met in Christ Jesus,
her new "full cup" perspective will enable her to share love with
other people. She begins to experience the reality of 1 John 4:19,
"We love because He first loved us."
When she chooses to serve others unselfishly, a miracle occurs.
As she loses her life, she finds it! God's joy rushes in as she
blesses the people around her. As a side benefit, loving and
encouraging others causes her to become loveable. Like a magnet
which has turned around, she no longer repels people; she attracts
"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."