It’s a loaded word.
And many writers have written about it much more eloquently than I ever could.
Studies by learned minds have been done.
And yet it’s a plague that baffles us in this postmodern wasteland that’s fueled by social media.
But here we are. So many off us, connected by screens, but feeling alone.
Lonely in a crowded room.
Lonely in the middle of stadium of noise.
It plagues us.
So the thinkers think, why is this happening. And they design studies to tease out the cause and effect.
Self help booms.
Our collective mental health wastes away.
Loneliness is the social cancer of our day.
And here we sit, next to countless others, in a world more connected than ever.
And I think that maybe this is the root behind the outrage everywhere.
The bandwagons that are constantly boarded.
The internet factions shouting, “Join us!”
The manufactured outrage of the political landscape at large.
They’ve all keyed into something.
A soul-deep need for connectedness.
“Join our group as we manufacture outrage!”
You will belong.
Its a Siren’s call.
And we are all seeking so desperately to belong.
Because we’ve forgotten to whom we belonged first.
I’m an introvert. I always have been. I joke that I dislike the general public all the time.
I don’t. I hate the small talk. I hate the awkwardness of strangers grouping together and saying nothing.
Or maybe I’m just nosey.
Because ask me a question about life, and I will bleed words.
Tell me you need to talk, and I’ll listen forever. Even if you’re a stranger.
But ask me about the weather? And I shrivel.
Because my soul craves connection.
And I think we all do.
But we’ve accepted a poor substitute.
A knock off.
A cheap imitation.
We think anger and outrage connect us, because we can picket together and steam together.
But anger is just a mask.
And when we take it off we are left with our raw parts.
The parts begging to be known.
But who can know us?
I thought for awhile it was my father.
When I was young and angsty and missing my dad. Growing up in a single parent household was hard. If only I had a dad to solve my problems. To meet the jerks who would break my heart.
To protect me from the bullies.
To help me with math.
This could have driven me to seek connection in so many different directions. I often shudder. And thank the Lord. But for the grace of God I go. I didn’t turn to promiscuity, or drugs for connectedness.
But I did get married young. Very young.
And for awhile my husband stood in the gap. We were connected. Us against the world. And the deep loneliness was kept at bay.
But the thing about husbands is that they are human. They weren’t designed to be our Saviors. And neither were our Fathers. Or our Presidents, or our Judges
And soon they fail too.
Betrayal, hurt, disconnect.
Simple things like having kids (as if kids are ever simple).
Life gets in the way. You stop talking. Communication dries up.
You want someone to fight for you, but your spouse is busy fighting for themselves.
Because hard times always come.
Whether they are great storms threatening to rip apart the sails, or deep doldrums, that refuse to fill them.
Things get hard. And we get lonely.
And we start to think, “if only”
If only he remembered.
If only he did what he said he would.
If only he hadn’t changed.
If only he would change.
If only he complimented me more, or brought me flowers, or treated me like her husband treats her or laughed more, or-
And just like that we are lonely again.
Our kids don’t fulfill us like we thought.
We aren’t warrior motherhood goddesses.
We are just tired.
And we wonder what went wrong.
Where we went wrong.
So we jump on wagons with likeminded people.
We fill our time up so we don’t feel.
And numb ourselves with scrolling and noises.
We don’t ponder anymore, we ask Alexa and Siri.
Because the real questions hurts.
And the silence is full of them.
Why am I lonely in a world full of people?
Why can’t I be known, deeply intimately?
Why doesn’t he understand?
Why don’t they see me?
Why and I passed over?
Why do I feel hidden?
It’s because we’ve forgotten our First Love.
Before I was even born I was knit together by the hands of God.
He knows the deepest places of my heart, that somehow I cannot even reach.
When I’m lonely and my soul is crying out to be known, it’s really crying for my Savior.
CS Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Perhaps that loneliness in our heart is really just the place where God is supposed to fit.
We are crying out to a God we can’t remember to fill a place we can’t fully grasp.
The deep loneliness the pervades our culture.
It is a collective cry for God.
But instead we fill it with food, and opiates and self help, and individualism, as though can somehow contort ourselves to fit back into our own loneliness.
But we are poor gods.
We lift our husbands so high on pedestals, we are shocked when they come down.
We keep busier. Busier than us moms have ever been.
We have forgotten to be still.
We’ve forgotten to know.
No mans love can measure up to the love our Father has for us.
He sent his son to die for us.
But not just us.
For you, for me. For her, for him.
We forget as a part of the billions on earth,
That Jesus would have done it all just to save the one.
And he still does. Everyday. He reaches down and rescues me. And you.
He wants to fill that lonely void in your soul that you’ve been desperately trying to fill on your own.
With anger, or fear or control.
With your husband.
With your women’s group.
The deep longing that we feel is the eternal part of us crying out to the eternal God.
But we’ve turned the volume down.
Because Post Modern, Post Christian culture, says we can fill it other ways.
That we can pay to fill it.
But we can’t.
We must learn to be still again.
To turn off the sound.
To refuse the outrage.
To refuse the discontent sold to us.
And instead we need to seek God.
Because one of my favorite things about God, is he is jealous.
Truly an awe inspiring, and often fear inducing, thought, but God, he will come for us. Always.
He wants to be our only.
He seeks to be first in our lives. Not out of a desire to control,
But because he knows that’s the only way the deepest part of our earthly loneliness can be filled.
He is the missing piece.
And we can let him in, or we can try a million different puzzle pieces that will never fit.
We can find a million different idols.
Our world is full of them.
And some seem so innocent.
But God is jealous. And he knows what our souls need.
He offered the greatest rescue ever attempted.
He moved heaven and hell and earth to save you. To save me.
And he would do it again.
While I was still busy trying to squeeze things into manufactured idols and shove them into places they were never meant to fit;
My God was storming the gates of hell itself to save me.
And all he asks is that I put down my phone, put down my comparisons, put down my if only’s, put down my anger and fear and stress,
And let Him back in.
My first love.
Who died for me.
Your first love.
Who died for you.
There is a reason no person measures up.
There is a reason no person understands.
There is a reason why we are disappointed when we place our faith in men and kings.
And it’s Jesus.
So turn down the distraction.
And give him those broken places your fingers are clutching so tightly.
Give him your husband.
Your mommy group.
Your message boards.
Your news channels.
And let Jesus be Lord again.