It’s hard to believe that with the rise of technology and ease we have in communication, that many Americans would consider themselves lonely; however, as we commonly think of loneliness as being in solitude, loneliness is rooted in the lack of meaningful relationships – an issue we face as we become more dependent on technology and less dependent on physical interaction. Avenues of communication and community, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, bring a false sense of closeness to online friends, while feeding our insecurities and the need to appear like our lives are picture perfect. Yet, the harsh reality is that as we’ve created a society where we’re connected with more people, the depth of our relationships have suffered and are manipulated into keeping our imperfect situations completely private, resulting in the perfect soil for loneliness to grow. In Pastor Tracy’s message, “Help Me God, I’m Lonely, she discusses how we can forge ourselves into isolation, while examining how God’s designed is for community by encouraging us to embrace a closeness with those around us.
God never intended man to be alone. In fact, man’s solitude in the Garden of Eden was the only thing God deemed as unacceptable about creation (Genesis 2:18). And even though our mindset can often echo the opposite of God’s heart, He longed for us to be in community. In our fear of being judged of our faults, ridiculed because of decisions we’ve made and exposed of our weaknesses we isolate ourselves from those around us. We harbor false senses of shame and condemnation, driving us to feel even more lonely. It is at this point we begin to believe the lie that we are not good enough, that we can’t be forgiven, that we deserve our loneliness because of our actions, and worst of all, that God has abandoned us in our sin. And as we fall deeper into feeling isolated, we continue to strive for a sense of belonging in everything that can’t fill the need God placed in us.
Our journey of escaping our loneliness begins by pursuing an intimate, vulnerable and honest relationship with God. When we believe the lies of guilt, shame and condemnation we open ourselves up to believing God won’t forgive us. Yet, nothing – neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fear for today nor our worries of tomorrow – can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). When we come to see there’s nothing about us God doesn’t already know and no sin He hasn’t already forgiven, we’re able to embrace a relationship with Him where secrets are not longer hidden. We embrace a relationship where God’s able to lavish His love on us and heal our broken hearts, while simultaneously empowering us to abandon our sin and live through our right standing in Christ. It is when we receive God’s love and acceptance that we experience freedom and see ourselves as God’s made us to be – blameless, powerful, loving and pure. Growing in the confidence that we are who God says we are and that He has never left us nor forsaken us, carries us to create the same type of vulnerable and intimate relationships with those close to us. We not only create community where we can rely on the strength of loved ones as we open ourselves up so they may bear our burdens, but also position ourselves to be used by God to share His love for the purpose of setting others free.
- What makes you feel a sense of loneliness? How often do you experience feelings of loneliness?
- What limits you from being intimate and honest with God? How can you break through those lies? Where do you believe those lies began? How can being open with God lead you into freedom?
- What limits you from being vulnerable with others? Think about what may stop you from being vulnerable with God. Are these reasons the same? How can becoming open with your relationship with God help you build close, deep relationships with others? What steps can you make to forming deeper relationships?
- Who in your life are you able to be vulnerable with? How can you establish accountability with them? How have these relationships helped you walk in freedom?
- How will being open with others help you fulfill your purpose in sharing God’s love?
Thank you, Father, for never leaving nor forsaking me. I praise You for loving me, even in my messiest moments and searing me by Your side. I pray for the strength to be honest and open with You, for you already know everything about me. I ask that you open my eyes to what may be limiting me from having close relationships with You and others, and invite Your Holy Spirit to help me walk away from those limitations. I praise You for adopting me into Your holy family, a family where I can be myself. I pray that You strengthen the relationships I have and build new ones founded on Your love. I thank You for making me a blessing in my relationships.
Remind your group members that no matter what they’ve done, who they were, and where they’ve been, God has always been and always be by their side. Encourage your group members to seek God’s face when they may feel lonely. Lead your group members to Scripture that reaffirm their identity in Christ as they reveal reasons why they may isolate themselves and feel ashamed of having honest and intimate relationships. Help your group members discover those around them they can be close with. Encourage them to take one step this week in being transparent about something they’ve never share before.