Chances are for many of us, we can remember a time before social media. In fact, the most used social media, Facebook, burst onto the scene in February 2004. Throughout these past 20 years, we’ve found a way to virtually make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and share our thoughts and lives with the world.
On one of my Facebook accounts, I have 4,519 followers and 3,821 “friends.” I have my family, my church family, communities online and abroad, and my precious family of fellow ministry wives. Plus, the love and daily communion of my Lord and Savior. So, there’s no possible way I could ever feel lonely, right? Wrong.
Loneliness doesn’t care who you are, what you have, where you live, or what you do. In this high-tech, instant-gratification, well-meaning, fellowshipping world we live in, loneliness rears its unwanted head more often than not. And in ministry, that loneliness can be debilitating.
I can be in a crowded room full of wonderful people and feel completely alone. And while I know that God is with me, and I rejoice that He will never leave me, the empty feeling of loneliness can darken my heart and keep me from fully engaging in what God has called me to do.
So why do we feel this and how do we deal with it? Allow me to share some reasons I think we all go through this struggle at some point in our ministry…
1. Superficial relationships in the church.
No one ever sees me as my own person. I am the pastor’s wife, so no one tries to get close to me.
2. A busy pastor/husband.
My husband is on 24/7 call all the time. I just get leftovers. OR…Frankly, the church is like a mistress to my husband. He has abandoned me for someone else.
3. Mean church members.
I guess I’ve isolated myself to some extent. I just don’t want to keep hearing those awful things they say about my husband and me.
4. A conduit for complaints about our husband.
Last week someone told me their family was leaving the church because my husband is a lousy preacher. Do they have any idea how that makes me feel?
5. Broken confidences.
I’ve given up trying to get close to church members. I thought I had a close friend until I found out she was sharing everything I told her. That killed me emotionally.
I can honestly tell you that I’ve dealt with every scenario listed, and a few more! So, what do we do, and how can we push through? The only way we can battle loneliness and take back what the enemy is trying to steal is to lean on, cling to, and call out the precious and powerful promises from our Almighty God!
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6–7
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:22–24
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Feelings of loneliness are a part of life and are meant to pass. Don’t allow your lonely feelings to stay and set up camp! Remember who you are and Whose you are! My beautiful friend, I can tell you assuredly that you are not alone. The Confidante Facebook Ministry reminds me daily that I’m surrounded by praying women who are obedient to His call.
I pray that if today you’re battling loneliness, you’ll open your heart, lean in, breathe in His never-ending mercies, and stay connected with fellow sojourners. Remember, this world is not our home, we’re just passing through. All this, and Heaven too!