Loneliness is rampant in our culture, and the COVID-19 pandemic only made it worse. I’ve personally experienced loneliness at different times in my life, and it’s really rough. However, thankfully, we aren’t helpless regarding loneliness. If you’re experiencing loneliness, ask yourself the following questions to see what you can do to lessen it:
1. Am I going to church every week (and during the week)?
For Christians, going to church isn’t optional; it’s mandatory. The good thing about that is that church can be a wonderful place to form strong relationships with other believers. See if your loneliness decreases as you plug into a church with solid biblical teaching and solid Jesus followers.
If you don’t currently attend church in-person, I highly recommend that you go. If you don’t currently attend a church with people who are following Christ, I highly recommend that you consider changing churches. If you don’t currently attend church activities during the week, I highly recommend that you pick at least one to regularly attend.
Let’s hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB)
2. Am I making efforts to be friendly?
To put it bluntly, if you’re not making efforts to be friendly, you’re not going to make friends—at least not many. To make good friends, you need to be a good friend! And there are so many ways to be a good friend to others.
I realize that putting yourself out there can be uncomfortable. But if you don’t put yourself out there, people won’t know that you desire their friendship. Be consistent in showing others that you want to be friends with them.
What is desirable in a person is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor person than a liar. (Proverbs 19:22 NASB)
3. Am I spending all my time and energy trying to befriend one specific group of people or one specific type of people?
While it’s wise to make friends with likeminded people regarding our Christian faith, it’s easy to believe the misconception that in order to have good friendships, we must befriend people who are just like us. For example, teens click with teens, college students click with college students, and adults click with adults…right? Mmm, sometimes.
I don’t know when we started having this misconception about friendship. But I do know that this misconception is causing us to miss out on some potentially great friendships. Think back to the first church—and how different those thousands of people were but how well they fellowshipped together.
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all the believers were together and had all things in common; and they would sell their property and possessions and share them with all, to the extent that anyone had need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:41-47 NASB)
4. Am I investing in people who reciprocate my efforts to be friendly?
There are two kinds of friends: givers and takers. If your current friends are takers instead of givers, then it’s not surprising you feel lonely despite them being your “friends.” If our friends are only focused on themselves, they aren’t worth having as friends.
If you desire real friends, look for people who are givers. And be a giver to them! Of course, the point of being a giver isn’t to manipulate them or seduce them into being your friend but rather to establish friendships with them that are built on humility and selflessness.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NASB)
5. Am I meeting with the Lord daily and asking Him to fill the loneliness in my life?
God is the Friend who will never betray you or exclude you. He wants to be involved in your life, even though you can never give Him as much as He has given you. As believers, we never have to be lonely because we are never alone.
God wants to have first place in your life, but He also knows how much you need fellowship with believers. So ask Him—and don’t stop asking Him—to provide Christian friends. He may not provide 50 friends or 20 friends or even 10 friends. But be willing to accept and love the friends He provides.
God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious live in parched lands. (Psalm 68:6 NASB)