By Christy W.
You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. You can smile at others and appear friendly, yet not have one friend. You can be nice to everyone and not make those deep connections that nourish your soul. I know the loneliness that comes with ministry, and I know many of you do too.
I recently read that loneliness has been shown to be as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. And lonely people are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social connections. Wow, loneliness can lead to health problems. What can we do? Well, for starters you may have to let go of some people you thought were your friends and look for relationships elsewhere. You may need to let go of fear and with God’s help step out of your comfort zone. You may need to start a conversation with a stranger and see where it goes. That’s what I did several years ago and I’m so glad I did!
My daughter played on her school’s volleyball team. I would sit with my husband and kids, and we would cheer her on. I was in the stands surrounded by other moms, but felt safest in my little box, with me and mine. There was one mom there that I was intrigued with. She drove a mom car, like me and on her back window was a large decal that said, “Make Jesus Famous.” I really wanted to meet her, but how could I do that when I was afraid to put myself out there again? Inside, the last thing I wanted to do was take a chance on another person. I had experienced way too much rejection from way too many people, and I didn’t want to risk being hurt again. But also, inside me was a very lonely person who really needed a friend. A friend who didn’t view me as their pastor’s wife. A friend to have coffee with. A friend to share and pray with. A friend to encourage me and I her. A friend who didn’t judge me or my family for not being perfect. A friend who cared. A friend who wanted to be a part of my life. I desperately wanted a friend, and this lady was the one God was encouraging me to take a chance on.
Game after game I would see her, and she would see me. We would exchange smiles or a simple, hello. When our girls became friends, I started making small talk with her. I purposely began sitting near her in the stands and soon found myself conversing with her about the game, our kids and even her car decal. I looked forward to seeing her at the games and I also began chatting with her mom who attended most of the time. When they talked about a Bible study they were in, I really perked up and said, “Oh, wow! I would love to be in a good Bible study.” I was surprised when they invited me to attend and I was even more surprised at how quickly I said, yes! I ended up making friends, not only with them, but with several ladies at this Bible study I started attending. I didn’t tell them my husband was a pastor at first. I wanted them to see me for me. And they did. These ladies were so genuine and had such a strong desire for the Word. They didn’t gather to just eat and socialize. They gathered to learn from each other, study together, share their burdens, cry together, anoint each other with oil and grow in their relationship with the Lord. They didn’t know I was in a dark and lonely place and that their love, kindness, and acceptance was healing me. What a balm they were to my soul! God used these ladies to help me. I am so grateful for my time with them.
I tell you all this because I could have missed what God was doing for me. I could have let fear rule me. I could have remained guarded, stand-offish and safe in my little shell. But I didn’t. I went out of my comfort zone, reached out and someone reached back. Ladies, keep reaching out! Don’t stop, even if it hasn’t been reciprocated in the past. Don’t let fear keep you from making connections. Keep praying and I believe in time God will place the right ones in your path. He did it for me and I believe He will do it for you! Step out in faith, strike up a little conversation and see where it goes. I’m so glad I did. Love, Christy.
Father God, I want to pray for the lonely pastor’s wife who desires a friend. Lord, you made her for relationship. She may have a past that is full of rejection, betrayal and hurt which makes it hard for her to put herself out there. Lord, I pray you will help her and lead her. I pray you will give her the courage to reach out and take a chance. Place someone in her path and nudge her with your Spirit so that she knows You’re in it. I want to thank you for always loving us and taking good care of us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)