In our lives, we bristle against loneliness. We avoid it at all costs. Yet many of us are experiencing soul weariness. In Psalm 84, the sons of Korah link our soul weariness to our ache for God: “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
I remember a few years ago, during a heavy season of travel and ministry, I collapsed on my hotel bed and had a rather bizarre thought: “I’m lonely”. After thinking about that, I almost giggled out loud reflecting, “How on earth can I feel lonely when I’ve been with people non-stop?” That’s when it hit me! “I’m lonely for God!” I had been pushing hard, and I needed time to sink into God’s presence and simply be at home with Him. He is my heart’s true home, and I needed the soul refreshment that comes only from enjoying His presence.
In our fast-paced, over-caffeinated, non-stop culture, we need refreshment and renewal. In order for that to happen, we must embrace our loneliness and recognize it as a divine signal inviting us to our heart’s true home – God. There in His presence we can relax, re-group, rest, and simply be loved.
All of this may sound ethereal to you. How do you experience God’s presence when there’s so much pressure from our society to perform and accomplish? It’s not as difficult as you think.
Here are 3 simple suggestions to get you started:
Read a Psalm– The Psalms are a great place to find connection. These poetic masterpieces help you connect with God. In addition, the authentic words and feelings of the various Psalmists will help you feel connected to their emotions. As you hear them crying out, “How long God”(Psalm 13:1), “Why Lord, do you stand far off?” (Psalm 10:1), “Hear me, Lord” (Psalm 17:1),“I love you Lord, my strength” (Psalm 18:1), you’ll find yourself whispering, “Me too!” The Psalms offer empathy to the feelings we experience in our journey with God and help us connect with Him at a deeper level.
Recognize the ache in your soul is your call back to God – The ache you feel deep in the innermost parts of your soul has been placed there by God Himself. It is a hunger that only He Himself can fill. Nothing else will completely satisfy. In our culture, we don’t like to feel pain, so we run from pain, hide from pain, or numb our pain. The truth is, pain can be a fabulous signal alerting us that something is wrong. When you feel the pangs of loneliness, rather than turning on Netflix or vegging out in front of an Amazon movie, consider whether you’ve had adequate time soaking in God’s presence. Set aside some extra time to relax unhurried in His presence. In your time, read a few verses, listen to some worship music, journal your prayers, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a deeper awareness of God’s presence.
Re-connect with heart friends – Not only were our souls created with a hunger for God, they were also created with a thirst for friends.In Psalm 95, the Psalmist invites others to join him in worship, writing, “Come let us sing for joy to the Lord”(Psalm 95:1). When my soul is bone weary, I know I need extra time alone in God’s presence, but then I also need my heart connection friends. With these friends we can have a conversation about what God’s teaching us and how we’ve experienced Him in the mundane of everyday life. We can share prayer requests and encourage each other in the journey. With these heart friends, I experience the presence of God in our fellowship, and I walk away refreshed and uplifted.
Friend, the next time you feel lonely, read a Psalm out loud, recognize your soul is aching for God, and re-connect with heart friends who understand your spiritual journey. Celebrate that loneliness can lead you back to your heart’s true home—God.
I’m home this week writing and pressing hard to finish the book on time!
How can you pray?
The book Steve and I are writing is due in just a couple of weeks. Please pray for fresh creativity as we push to finish on time!