Love in the Loneliness

Until I find community enough in being with Jesus first, the entire restaurant wouldn’t suffice the aching that loneliness hungers to fill.”
Choosing Real Bekah Jane Pogue

Loneliness is very common. Loneliness is a neediness within that eats away at your heart like a cancer.

Loneliness is defined as a “sadness because one has no friends or company.” I think that at first glance this definition may seem true, but when you really think about it, loneliness can be present even in a crowd. It is the depth of connection with a spouse or a friend that bridges the gap. You don’t feel lonely when you feel understood, known, loved, and you’re your heart is safe.

I learned through my depression that the pain and neediness of my heart cried out for understanding and love. My depression left me feeling as if I was drowning, suffocating, and overwhelmed with so much pain. I mostly pushed people away, but when I found that my neediness wouldn’t annihilate another, then I would cling. It was through this that I learned how needy I really was, I became aware of the emptiness and loneliness of my heart. I recognized how much I had been hiding, how deeply my real self was really buried.

It was in the midst of learning these things, in the midst of my clinging to another in hopes for healing, that the Lord made me to know that He wanted me to give Him my neediness.
It is so easy for us to run to others with our needs even when we know that the Lord is the One with the power to heal, to comfort with His love, to give understanding, and to lead in His perfect wisdom.

The Lord wants us to run to Him with our neediness and loneliness. It was when I began to pour out my heart to the Lord, and really give Him my neediness that my healing began. He desired me to see Him as my greatest need, the All-Sufficient One, my Healer.

Life can just be lonely because of the mundane of everyday. We get so busy with all we try to do that our lives may be spent in living solitary lives. If that is where you are at, Pogue suggests that “maybe solitary isn’t something we need to run away from” instead she suggest it may be our cue of to run to the Lord.

Loneliness can flood your heart throughout many moments of life for many very different reasons, the loss of friendship, the death of a loved one, moving away, isolation, or divorce. It is in these times we need to cry out to the Lord. Maybe it’s just the day and the way it’s going down, or maybe it’s the place you are in life right now, that the string of days, weeks, or even months leave you feeling lonely. Cry out to God. He hears and He answers our prayers. He deeply cares about the neediness in our hearts.

Remember, after you give the Lord the neediness of your heart to look for His answer. It is easy to miss His answers when one’s mind is set on wanting the prayer answered in our own specific way. I share this thought out of my own experience, because it was what happened with me in my depression. I knew what I felt my heart needed and I prayed for the Lord to do it my way. Instead, He showed me His way repeatedly, He wanted me to trust Him with my neediness. He wants to be the One we run to, He wants to be the One to meet our needs in the perfect ways that come out of His wisdom and love.

So, from our knees in prayer, we must get up and look to see what He is doing, where He is leading, who He is bringing or in some cases, whom He has already brought that we have missed. He knows who He has put in your life, or wants to put in your life. He knows the purpose for which He brings them.

I believe that as He sees and hears us bringing the neediness of our hearts, He will lead us to the quenching of the thirst in our loneliness through relationship with Himself, as well as with specific people He puts in community around us. He has a beautiful way of touching our neediness with His love so specific to our personal desires. He truly satisfies our hearts when we give Him the need and trust Him for the answer.

Are you lonely today? Call out to the Lord with your need.

Do you know someone who is lonely? Ask the Lord if there is a way to meet that person with His love.

The Lord is always near and never will abandon or forsake us. In moments of loneliness cling to Him and watch Him work! He is at work because He loves you!

Advertisements

My Response to “The Broken Way”

This month my posts will be my personal response to Ann Voskamp’s book The Broken Way. I have both read and listened to her book repeatedly. The Lord has used it to transform my heart and change some of the ways I have been thinking.

Each post this month will center around a word or concept that I have found key to this books message. Here is a quick preview of what you can expect . The key concepts for my posts will be:

  1. Brokenness.  Ann’s transparency about her brokenness brought me to tears. She was vulnerable and open about the pain she has dealt with in her life. She helped me to see brokenness in a new way. It has been in a way that has had deep importance in my relationship with the Lord and in my response to life. She revealed to me a path that can fills our hearts with hope in the midst of brokenness. It is changing how I interact with others. Brokenness often paralyzes us in traps of fear and aloneness but Jesus draws us into communion, intimacy, and love. We can travel through these beautiful paths together in our brokenness because of Jesus, just writing those words makes me excited to learn more, how about you?
  2. Givenness. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)   Givenness is about surrender and sacrifice. The Lord “gave” so that we as believers could have eternal life. Ann shared a lot about living a given life. Two questions came to mind frequently as I read her book. How can I live a surrendered and sacrificial life? How can I learn to live generously and be open-handed? I want to share some personal insights about givenness. Living given truly is living in Christ-likeness.
  3. Joy. Ann explains in her book that the joy in our hearts depends on the depth of our thankfulness. I am realizing how in order to feel gratitude in my heart it begins with learning to be fully present, fully aware of the Lord, and of how He blesses me. Moment-by-moment I need to be alert to Him. Only when I recognize His blessings can I respond with thanksgiving. And it is in the depths of gratitude filling my heart where I will find joy bubbling over into my life. I want to explore the path leading to joy. I frequently find that what I expect to bring me joy does not do so. The Lord knows what satisfies our hearts and it is so different from what we may be seeking.
  4. Love. We are all desperately in need of knowing we are loved and we all express that need so differently. Ann shares that everything we do and say is a call to be loved. She says we are asking, “Will you love me?” It is funny how you may recognize that feeling or need in yourself, but never really think that anyone else could feel so needy. I realize that I knew/know my cry for love in my life, but I didn’t generalize the reality of this neediness for love to others around me or to people as a whole. Reading about this has caused me to look at people, in general, in a different way. And it somehow changes my response to them. It is in recognizing this truth that my love for others grows in so many ways. It is vital to my life as a Christ-follower, but how will it change me? And how could recognizing this fact change you and your response to others?
  5. Time- A “Pocket of Possibility.God gave us time and each day is filled with opportunities. Some opportunities come in the form of interruptions. The Broken Way helped me to look at time in a different light. I am seeing the importance of considering why the Lord places certain people in my life and what opportunities I have for touching them with His love. I want to dig deeper into my need to abandon selfishness and open up with availability to God’s interruptions. I want to discover how to use the pockets of time I so often determine as mine, not selfishly, but for Him. Do you have these same struggles? Let’s take some of our precious God-given time to look at how God looks at time, interruptions, and what He wants for us.
  6. Grace. Grace, God’s grace is everything to us as believers. The Lord knew that the human race was prone to sin and continues to be. He knew our need for Jesus. His Word tells us our need to repent. We as Christians know this, but what role does it play in your life? Ann made me realize the correlation between my need for repentance and how that gives space for God’s grace in daily life. Ann’s discussion of this in her book ripped my heart open. It made me ask myself some hard questions. How significant does sin have to be in order for it to cause me to repent? And how does that correlate with what part grace has in my life?  The Broken Way made me really think about my sinfulness, my need for grace, and the importance of repentance on a day-to-day basis. What does this mean for me in the course of a day? And, what needs to change in my life? What role does repentance have in your life and where do you find grace in your days? I think that making this real will help us feel the Lord’s love for us more. His grace shows the extravagance of His love. Who wants to miss out on knowing that?
  7. Abundance. How does it all fit together? How can we, the broken, come to know and live out of the abundance the Lord offers us? That is the million dollar question. I want to examine that. What does abundance mean for us as Christians? And how do we find it?
  8. Finally, I want to look at Communion– such a beautiful word, a beautiful picture of union with Him. Our broken hearts and lives shared in amazing intimacy. It is what we all need, what we all crave. It is why Jesus came to earth. What does communion mean for us, the body of Christ, and what are we missing that is so vital? What did Jesus mean for us to have, that we so often overlook? These are some of the questions I want to explore.

There is so much here to digest. I want to take it in and learn to live it out. I hope you will join me as I try to find the path to living this broken life for the Lord’s glory, because it is all about Him.

All Praise to God- Psalm 34

I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are discouraged take heart.”

 Psalm 34:1-2 NLT

This psalm is written by David during one of the many difficult times in his life. Praising God is good for the discouraged heart. David had much to be discouraged about in his life, especially with Saul chasing after him, threatening his life. David was often in danger, and yet he chose to praise the Lord.

Psalm 34 gives us many reasons to praise God, no matter what your circumstances are in life.

One of the first thing David mentions in this psalm that he is thankful for answered prayer. There is so much to pray about in life, and the beautiful thing is, the Lord is interested in every aspect of our lives. He loves us so much, and nothing can separate us from that love (see Romans 8:31-39).

I know I have read those verses in Romans so many times but recently I realized that I don’t really know His love in a way that keeps me trusting all of the time. He is teaching me about His love in amazing ways. His love is the love of a perfect parent, a love that we rarely experience in relationships with humans on this earth. His love is unconditional, it doesn’t get taken away when you blow it bad. He doesn’t give guilt trips, or tell you how rotten you are.

Our sin just makes the Lord sad, because He knows how much it hurts us and it hurts Him. He doesn’t want us to follow a bunch of rules to be good just for the sake of being good. Sometimes we act as if we think we can make Him love us more by being good, but that is not possible. He wants to protect us by leading us in paths of righteousness.

David knew God’s love, he trusted that love, and he prayed to the Lord, looking for Him to answer his prayers. He expected the Lord to answer. He expected God to hear him and respond to his concerns. And, David learned that God was faithful.

Praise God for answered prayer, whether it is for a close parking space, or for a healed body, praise God!

David learned that in his fears and in his suffering he could cry out to the Lord and he would faithfully answer him.

David praised God for guarding him and being his Rescuer. God rescues those who fear Him (vs. 7). He rescues those who call to Him for help (vs.17). He rescues those who are crushed in spirit (vs. 18). He rescues those facing trouble (vs.19).

Can you see God’s awesome love for His children in this psalm?

Have you experienced the Lord answering your prayers?

Do you have any fears? Take them to the Lord in prayer and watch Him work.

Do you need any help in any areas of your life? Pray, He is our Rescuer.

Are you brokenhearted or crushed in spirit? Draw near to God, He is close to you.

If there is any trouble in your life, pray and look for His answer. And if you have prayed and He has given answer, praise Him for His faithfulness. Or maybe His answer hasn’t come yet or at least not in the way you desire. Trust the magnitude of love the Lord has for you. He will satisfy the desires of your heart. Praise Him!

David also praises God for His goodness (vs.5). David recognizes that God is the one who meets the needs of His people. He tells us in vs. 9 that those who honor Him will have all they need, and in vs. 10 those who trust in Him will never lack any good thing. 

How is God demonstrating His goodness to you? Was it the beautiful sunrise this morning? Or was it that phone call from a friend just when you were at your breaking point? Was it that word from Him as you read your Bible this morning that you knew was just for you? Praise God for his goodness.

Has God met any of your needs today? Praise Him! James tells us that all good gifts come from our Father in heaven (see James 1:17)!

David continues in this psalm by praising God for His protection (vs.20). God takes care of us, He protects us from harm. He delivers us out of danger. He watches over us. He never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4).

Finally, David praises God for redemption (vs.22). God redeems us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sinfulness. He raised Jesus from the dead and Jesus reigns eternal as our Savior, Lord and King! Praise God!

Give thanks to the Lord for all He has done, is doing, and will do. He is faithful to do what He says He will do. Praise Him for His love for you!