Level Up Loneliness

Level up Loneliness


Are you feeling lonely? I’m sorry to hear that. I know how painful loneliness can feel. It’s a horrible feeling and I’m not going to discount that by telling you to “get over it” or “get out there” to solve your loneliness.


Instead, I’m going to offer some comfort and understanding, while also helping you create your own custom plan to improve your situation. You have the power to change things. You need a few prompts to help activate your creative problem-solving skills.


Before we begin, may I pray for you?


Lord, you are love. You are always with us. You never abandon us. But sometimes life leaves us feeling broken and lonely. I ask you to embrace your child with a deeper assurance of your loving presence. Open his or her heart to receive your love. Where there are deep wounds in the soul, I ask you to begin healing. Where there are interpersonal issues, I ask you to bring reconciliation or peaceful release. Let every lonely heart be leveled up by your love and creative guidance.

Immediate Relief for Loneliness


To “level up” is an expression borrowed from computer games. It refers to when a player gains enough points in a game to go to a higher level of difficulty.


In terms of loneliness, “level up” refers to improving your situation by changing your thoughts, mindsets, and taking brave action. The powerful shift that occurs takes you to a new level.


While that’s our big goal, we have to begin with where you are.


Anyone seeking help for mental or emotional pain wants to find immediate relief. I’ve been there, so I understand that desperate-for-relief place. While most mental and emotional problems take time to resolve, there are things you can do to bring immediate relief, so let’s get to it so you can begin to feel better.


Your feeling of loneliness is valid. There may be lies attached to it, but we’ll get to the lies later on. For the moment, accept your feeling of loneliness. Show some compassion for yourself. I don’t mean to feel sorry for yourself. That would be self-pity. Instead, I mean speak kindly to yourself and take steps to feel better.


I want to empower you with tools to help you help yourself. Whenever you feel a painful feeling like loneliness, you can acknowledge your feeling as valid, but you don’t have to wallow in it. There are things you can do to take control of loneliness and even things that provide immediate relief.

 

I’ve been lonely and I’ve heard the all-too-common and trite, “If you’re lonely, spend time with people.” It’s not that simple because you can be in a crowd of people and still feel lonely. So how can you begin to feel relief from loneliness?


We’ll look at a definition for loneliness later, but one part of loneliness has to do with a lack of satisfying connection with others. It’s the desire to know and be known. You can have an immediate connection with God right now.


Why not pour out your heart to him? Write to God about your lonely feelings. He already knows how you feel, but it helps relieve your burden to unload our pent-up feelings. He listens to your heart and pours out his love into your woundedness. Go ahead, let it all out right now. Take as long as you need and use additional pages, if necessary.

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Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

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The Most Important Relationship

I tend to believe God has a reason for everything. What if your loneliness had a purpose? Loneliness removes all external comfort we take in relationships. Maybe God is using that to drive you toward him. Maybe he wants you to learn to find comfort in Christ alone. 


If a person seeks comfort from others more than from Christ, it makes sense that God would kick away that crutch of human friendship. Think about your situation now. Could God be calling you to spend this lonely period developing a more intimate relationship with him? Describe your current relationship with God.

David knew what it was like to be lonely and to feel like no one cared about him. See if you can relate to his words:


I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”

Psalm 142:4-5, NLT

Did you notice how David was honest about his feelings, but then turned his focus to God? Why might it be difficult for you to turn to God when you’re hurting?

 

 

Jesus also knew what it was like to be alone. In his hour of greatest need, his closest friends abandoned him. Jesus told the disciples:


“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:32-33, NLT


Jesus had hope because he knew he was never truly alone. His Father was with him. Your Heavenly Father is with you, too. How does it make you feel right now to know God is with you?
 

In addition to God’s presence, God has intimate knowledge of you and desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Mark any phrases that stand out to you in Psalm 139, printed below.

Psalm 139 (NLT)


For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!
19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.


Look back at the phrases you marked. Can you see a similar theme? What might God be speaking to you through this passage?
 

Intentional Solitude

Alone isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes periods of solitude are exactly what we need. In fact, there are times we should seek out solitude for some focused time alone with God.


Jesus frequently got away to a mountain or other secluded place to pray (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42). He even spent forty days alone in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).


Prayer time isn’t a ritual or obligation we must perform. If your devotions or time with God are something you do to check it off on your daily to-do list or to feel good about yourself as a Christian, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.


Look at a few of God’s invitations:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming” (Psalm 27:8, NLT).


Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT).


“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free! (Isaiah 55:1, NLT).


The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life (Revelation 22:17, NLT).

 


How does it make you feel to hear God invite you to come to him? Fear? Relief? Impatience because you want to get on with human relationships instead?

 

 

 

 

 

 


God invites you to “Come and talk with me” (Psalm 27:8) so let’s practice having a conversation with God. Prayer is a two-way conversation. Let’s start by writing a one-paragraph love letter to God. Tell him why you love him.

 

 

 

 


Now quiet your heart and mind so you can listen to his reply. Let him tell you how much he loves you. Write down the love letter he has for you.
 

Define Your Loneliness

Nearly everyone feels lonely at one time or another. Despite being a universal experience, loneliness is unique to the individual. The way I experience loneliness may be entirely different from how you experience loneliness. Each person is unique. Each situation is unique. Therefore, your experience is unique.


List some words or phrases that describe how loneliness feels to you. We will develop this later, but put down whatever comes to mind first.

 

 

 

When in your life did you first experience loneliness? What was happening in your life at that time?

 

 

 

 

 

 


When did your current experience of loneliness begin? What was going on in your life? Can you identify one specific cause for your loneliness or are there multiple factors involved?

 

 

 

How long have you felt lonely? Has loneliness been a constant companion or has it come and gone like an unwanted guest? Has it always felt the same or has the feeling (or your awareness of it) changed with time?

 

 


These are important questions so don’t skip over them in a desire to get on with the solution. I know you want to feel better, but these issues are part of the solution. Taking a look inward is called introspection. This is a necessary step in understanding and overcoming your loneliness. You can’t solve a problem that you don’t understand, right? Let’s continue with a few more introspection prompts.


Look at this list of words for loneliness. Circle the ones you relate to most.

 

  • Alone

  • Isolated

  • Lonesome

  • Friendless

  • No one to turn to

  • Forsaken

  • Abandoned

  • Rejected

  • Unloved

  • Unwanted

  • Outcast

  • Gloomy

  • Sad

  • Depressed

  • Desolate

  • Forlorn

  • Cheerless

  • Down

  • Blue

  • Outsider

 

Other words you might add:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Okay, let’s get back to the definition of loneliness. As you know, loneliness has nothing to do with being alone. You can be in a crowd of people and still feel alone. Another explanation is that loneliness is the difference between the amount of social contact or intimacy you have and the amount you want. This takes into account the isolation of loneliness, but it doesn’t include the way loneliness makes you feel like an outcast or socially defective.


So what is loneliness? I like this definition best:


“Loneliness is simply feeling as if no one sincerely cares about you or is interested in your life beyond surface interactions. It is assuming that nobody desires to listen to your thoughts or quietly understand what is going on in the recesses of your heart.”

--Carol McLeod, A Woman of Significance

What stands out to you in that definition?

 

 

Write out a prayer to God, who is always listening to you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Now it’s time for you to listen to God. Listening goes both ways, you know. He listens to you, but you also need to listen to him. Ask him something simple like, “Lord, what do you want to say to me?” or “Lord, how do you see me?” Then listen for his reply and write it down.
 

Five Types of Loneliness


With a better definition of loneliness, we can now dig down deeper to uncover five different types of loneliness.

Social Loneliness

Social loneliness describes your perception of the quantity of your social relationships. Someone experiencing social loneliness wants to have more friends.

Emotional Loneliness

Emotional loneliness describes your perception of the quality of your social relationships. Someone experiencing emotional loneliness wants to have deeper connection in their relationships.

Psychological Loneliness

Psychological loneliness describes your perception of yourself and your ability to have meaningful relationships. Someone experiencing psychological loneliness wants to isolate themselves from relationships even though it is lonely to do so. Past experiences, especially trauma, leave a person feeling like they are not able to connect with others. They feel unworthy or afraid of being hurt, and therefore they feel unable to receive the love they need.

Existential Loneliness

Existential loneliness describes your perception of your purpose in life. A person with existential loneliness wants to find meaning for their life, to feel like who they are matters. They want to fit in with others and the world around them, while also retaining their uniqueness. They want to feel they are valued as an individual for who they are and for what they contribute to the world.

Spiritual Loneliness

Spiritual loneliness describes your perception of the gap between your experience of God and an ideal experience of God. A person with spiritual loneliness wants to feel closer to God to fill a void in their life, but they may feel unable or unworthy to connect with God the way they desire.

Which of these five types of loneliness describe what you are experiencing? (You may experience more than one)

 

 

What new insights into your loneliness do you have as a result of these descriptions?

 

 

People often think of loneliness as a black and white issue—you’re either lonely or you’re not. But loneliness is not one dimensional. It’s best described on a scale or spectrum, including mild, moderate, or severe loneliness. With that in mind, rate the severity of loneliness you experience in each of these areas.


Social Loneliness                (mild)     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    (severe)

 

Emotional Loneliness           (mild)     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    (severe)

 

Psychological Loneliness     (mild)     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    (severe)

 

Existential Loneliness           (mild)     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    (severe)

 

Spiritual Loneliness              (mild)     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    (severe)

Good job! You’re well on your way to understanding your loneliness. Soon we’ll discover how to turn this self-awareness into a custom action plan specific to your experience of loneliness. I think you’re beginning to see why the solution isn’t going to be the same for everyone.
 

The Irony of Independence

Our culture values independence. We can do it all. We don’t need anyone. Dependence on others can seem like a weakness, making us vulnerable to the dependability of someone else. We talk about a “self-made man” as if it is a virtue to make it to the top on your own.


Of course, we also hear people say, “It’s lonely at the top.” Yes, it is if you’ve alienated everyone in your effort to get there on your own.

 

The irony of independence is that we work to be independent, but then discover we feel lonely. The irony is that we value independence while having an aversion to loneliness. When we live our lives either physically or emotionally closed off from other people, the natural result is loneliness.


It’s worth taking a moment to consider your mindset. Do you feel the need to do everything on your own? Or do you feel comfortable helping others and letting them help you? How do you feel about collaboration and teamwork?

 

 

 

 

If you realize you feel lonely because you have been shutting people out, you can begin to make changes.
 

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Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

$7.00Price

Social Media and Loneliness

With all the ways to connect with others online, it seems as if no one would feel lonely. In fact, the opposite is true. Study after study has shown that people feel lonelier when they regularly use social media. Why is this? Let’s take another look at our definition of loneliness:


“Loneliness is simply feeling as if no one sincerely cares about you or is interested in your life beyond surface interactions. It is assuming that nobody desires to listen to your thoughts or quietly understand what is going on in the recesses of your heart.”

--Carol McLeod, A Woman of Significance

As we’ve discussed, the opposite of loneliness is not popularity. Someone with a lot of contacts on social media may seem “popular” but there is generally very low quality of relationship (if any) with others on social media. It’s like the way you can feel even lonelier in a crowded room than when you are alone. The reason we feel lonely has to do with the lack of intimacy.


When you’re lonely, staying at home, not having much contact with the outside world, social media can seem like a safe way to be around people. People who are lonely post something and then hold their breath, waiting for someone to like their post. They have given up on intimate relationships and simply want to feel validated. Instead of knowing someone and being known by them, a lonely person will become convinced that others like or dislike them based on whether they react to a post.


Remember, the definition of loneliness has to do with feeling like nobody wants to listen to your thoughts. So if no one “listens” to your thoughts on social media, it feels lonely. Sometimes devastatingly lonely. I know. I’ve been that person before.


It’s important to remember a couple things. First, you won’t find the meaningful interaction you desire on social media. A low response rate doesn’t mean you’re “less than.” Second, feeling lonely or having a poor experience on social media does not mean you’re insignificant.

 

The problem of social media intensifying feelings of loneliness is so severe that Facebook has specific guidelines for handling suicidal posts. People can reach a point of utter despair when their last hope of connecting with others results in a total lack of response from anyone.


How does social media make you feel?

 

 

Do you spend most of your time posting things or interacting with the posts of others? Why?

 

 

 

Remember, God is the source of your significance, not social media or any relationship.
 

Loneliness Is Not Sold Separately

Loneliness rarely comes alone. It usually comes bundled with abandonment, abuse, rejection, or shame. If these additional soul wounds aren’t treated, they become infected with resentment, bitterness, and self-hatred.


In addition, loneliness is a leading culprit in various health problems. According to Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA.gov), “Loneliness is more dangerous than obesity and as dangerous to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”


People who are lonely put their health at risk, which is why it is vital to actively resolve your loneliness before you experience physical consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov) reports lonely adults have a:

 

  • 29% increased risk of heart disease

  • 32% increased risk of stroke

  • 50% increased risk of dementia

  • Higher rate of depression, anxiety, and suicide 

Abandonment


If you have a past experience of abandonment, you may find it difficult to feel loneliness without also feeling abandoned. Jesus knows how it feels to be abandoned: “Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away” (Mark 14:50). By the way, if you need a smile right now, go read the next two verses, Mark 14:51-52.


Do you know who else in the New Testament felt abandoned? Paul. He was arrested for spreading the good news about Jesus. Here’s how he described his situation:

Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.


Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said.


The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.

2 Timothy 4: 9-17, NLT

Wow, that sounds pretty desperate, doesn’t it? But three things stand out to me. Despite Paul’s understandable feelings of loneliness and abandonment, he took positive action instead of sliding into self-pity and depression.


The first thing Paul did was to reach out for help. He wrote a letter to Timothy and asked him to come visit him—and bring some of Paul’s comforting personal belongings. When we feel lonely, one of the best (and hardest) things we can do is to reach out to someone. Invite someone over to your place. Ask someone to go for a walk with you. Pick up the phone and call someone.


I want you to feel empowered to do things to help yourself feel less lonely. Reaching out is one thing you can do. Write down the name of someone you could reach out to during this difficult time, even it is simply to “call Mom.”

 

 

 

 


The second thing Paul did was to forgive those who had abandoned him in his hour of need. If you have been abandoned, you will be stuck in an orphan mindset until you forgive the person so you can be set free. You might be thinking, “I can’t forgive. Not yet.” Okay, I get it. But I’ve discovered a secret. The easiest way for me to get to a point of forgiveness is to pray for God to bless that person. When I can honestly pray God’s blessing over a person, I know I’ve truly forgiven them.


Take a moment to practice that. Write a brief prayer of blessing for the person who abandoned you. It can be as simple as, “Lord, bless [name].”

 

 

 

 


The third thing Paul did was to acknowledge God was present with him in his time of need. God was with him at his trial. God gave him strength. Take a moment to acknowledge God’s presence with you and how he is helping you in your loneliness and abandonment. Either write a prayer of thanks to God or list ways you can see God helping you.
 

Have you ever felt as if God abandoned you? David felt that way when he wrote Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” (Psalm 22:1, NLT). It’s okay to have moments you feel that way. There’s no need to feel guilt or condemnation about it. The truth, however, is that God is always with you, whether you feel his presence or not. Check out these verses:


Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:8, NLT).


Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close (Psalm 27:10, NLT).

If you’re hurting right now, can you try to imagine the Lord holding you close? Close your eyes. Picture leaning into his chest, or hugging Jesus, or crying on his shoulder—whatever is a comforting image to you. Feel free to return to this image as often as needed to receive God’s comfort.
 

Rejection

Rejection hurts. It really does. It cuts to the core of our being. It makes us feel unwanted, unloved, and sometimes even unlovable. Rejection makes us feel shame, as if we aren’t _____ enough. Or it can make us feel that we simply aren’t enough. Period.


Let me assure you that you are not defective. God doesn’t make junk. We all have areas of brokenness in our lives, but God is continually healing, restoring, and developing each of us.


When I think of rejection, I think of Leah in the Bible. In Genesis 29-30, Jacob had two wives: Leah and Rachel. He loved Rachel. This left Leah feeling rejected (and jealous). She tried desperately to earn Jacob’s love. She thought, “Maybe he’ll love me if I bear children.” But that thought is borne out of shame, the idea that we somehow aren’t enough within ourselves. Whenever we feel somehow lacking, we try to figure out what to put in that big aching hole. We think, Maybe children will make me lovable. Maybe losing weight will make me lovable. Maybe, maybe, maybe.


In spite of rejection, Leah grew as a person. She gave her children names that had meaning, as was the custom of the time. Follow the progression of growth in the names of her children:


Reuben (Genesis 29:32). “Look, a son!” In Hebrew this name sounded like the phrase, “He has seen my misery.” That’s why Leah said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”


Simeon (Genesis 29:33). “One who hears.” Leah said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”


Levi (Genesis 29:34). The Hebrew name sounded like “being attached” or “feeling affection for.” Leah said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”


Judah (Genesis 29:35). Judah is related to the Hebrew term for “praise.” Leah declared, “Now I will praise the Lord!”


Issachar (Genesis 30:18). Issachar sounds like the Hebrew word for “reward.” Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.”


Zebulin (Genesis 30:20). Zebulun probably means “honor.” Leah said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.”


The progression of names shows Leah’s growth. She began with her focus on herself as God noticed her misery. Then she noted that God heard she was unloved. After her third son, Levi, she was still focused on earning the affection of her husband, but by her fourth son, Judah, she simply praised the Lord. She turned her focus to God. From that point forward, the names reflect a different perspective. Issachar and Zebulin were a reward or blessing from God. She still held hopes for Jacob to respect her, but she focused on God’s blessing in the meantime.


Whether you feel rejected or lonely for another reason, it’s important to keep your focus in God. There may be valid reasons for feeling lonely, but loneliness won’t last forever so focus on God in the meantime. What is one way you can focus on God when you feel lonely?

 


Remember, God has not rejected you. God is love. He will never reject you. The Bible says, “The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession” (Psalm 94:14, NLT).
 

Fear

There is often fear attached to loneliness. We fear that if we are alone now, we will always be alone. For example, a single woman fears that because she hasn’t found a husband yet, she will always be alone. But this underlying fear comes with all forms of loneliness. We fear the feeling of loneliness won’t go away. It’s an unpleasant feeling, a nagging emptiness, and we don’t want to live with this ache as our only companion through life.


Think about it a moment. What fears do you have associated with your loneliness?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What is fear? I know you’ve felt fear, but what is it, really? Fear is an alarm to prompt us to take action. That’s all. So allow the fear to move you to action. I’m not talking about a frenzied fear-driven action that will likely make things worse. The first action, your first instinct, should be to turn to God for comfort and guidance.


We become comfortable with the people who make us feel safe. When circumstances remove us from that support, God could very well be driving us to find comfort in him alone. After all, God is the source of ALL comfort: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3, NLT).

Take your fears to God. Use this space to give your fears to God and receive his comfort and assurance.

​​


Fear is a liar. Have you ever noticed that almost everything you fear doesn’t come true? That alarm to keep you safe and drive you to action can also be a false alarm filled with lies and half-truths, so next we’ll look at uncovering the lies lurking in your thoughts.

Stop Lying to Yourself


Let’s look again at our definition of loneliness.


“Loneliness is simply feeling as if no one sincerely cares about you or is interested in your life beyond surface interactions. It is assuming that nobody desires to listen to your thoughts or quietly understand what is going on in the recesses of your heart.”

--Carol McLeod, A Woman of Significance

Notice the word “assuming.” Loneliness involves an assumption. It assumes no one cares. Is that true? Loneliness comes densely packed with lies and half-truths. Our next task, then, is to shed some light on the shadowy corners of our minds where these half-truths lurk.


While it may feel as if no one cares, that is not the case. God cares. You know that. And you know you have a parent, sibling, cousin, friend, co-worker, pastor, counselor, or acquaintance who cares. Have you let them know you need a little tender loving care right now? Write down three people who you know care about you. Who could you turn to in an emergency?

 

 

Look back up at the definition of loneliness. See that word “nobody”? Do you still really believe nobody cares? This is called “All or Nothing Thinking” because it sees the world in extremes. Look for words in your thinking such as always, never, all, nothing, nobody, everybody, etc. These types of words taint your thoughts with untruths. Instead of thinking “No one cares about me,” which is untrue, you can reframe it as “I feel uncared for at the moment” or “I need someone to care about me. Who can I contact?”


Why is this important? For one reason, the Bible says to think only what is true:


And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8, NLT


The lies of loneliness need to be rooted out so we only think about what is true. Our feelings of loneliness are valid, but the way we think about our loneliness can make it seem worse than it really is. Does that make sense? It’s okay to feel lonely, but telling yourself the lie that “no one likes me” will make you feel worse. We need to aggressively put out those campfires before they become a raging wildfire.


Got it? Begin by circling the word in each of these statements that represents “All or Nothing” thinking. Then rewrite each of the statements into something that more accurately represents the truth.


Nobody wants to spend time with me.

I never have anyone to talk to.

People will always hurt me.

No one understands me.

I will always be alone.


Good job. Can you see the difference? Can you feel the difference? Loneliness is bad enough without runaway thoughts making it even worse.

 

One last thought: We often use statements like, “No one understands me,” as a way to shut out others. We can justify not letting anyone near us if we convince ourselves that no one understands us anyway. Does any part of that ring true for you? In what ways have you used false statements to justify remaining distant from people?
 

You are reading text from:

Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

$7.00Price

Loneliness Is Fed by Negative Expectations

People who feel lonely tend to focus only on themselves, what they want, and what they don’t have. They also focus on the negative aspects of interpersonal interactions. They fixate on criticism and disagreements. Later on, they remember the negative moments more than the positive moments in relationships.


Lonely people develop negative expectations about future social interactions. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect the worst, you’ll get the worst.


This isn’t how God wants us to live! It will take time and diligence, but you can change your negative outlook into a positive one by changing the way you think. I know it works because I’ve done it myself.


Do you often feel sad because you don’t have social connections?

 

What are you saying to yourself? How do you explain why you are lonely? (guilt, blame, etc.)

 

How is God working in your situation right now?

 

How can you be a source of blessing to someone?
 

Loneliness Is a Magnifying Glass

Loneliness tends to be a magnifying glass for other pain and troubles. That is, loneliness enlarges personal problems like financial difficulties or job stress. It can cause us to fixate on these other problems as a way to avoid our feelings of loneliness or it can simply distort the other problems into something awful and uglier than it really is.


David experienced this when he wrote:


Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress.

My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!

Psalm 25:16-17, NLT


David did the right thing. He took his pain to God. We must often come to a place where we admit, “I can’t do this, Lord. You’ll have to do it for me.” When we admit our dependence on God, we open a door of opportunity for God to work.


Write out a prayer to admit you can’t do this alone. Invite God to work on your behalf—both in you, and in spite of you!

Speak the Truth with Biblical Affirmations


I’ll admit it: I have a difficult time memorizing Bible verses. And memorization is complicated by the proliferation of Bible translations now. I have some verses memorized in one translation, some in another, and so on—probably four different translations I’ve used over the years.


I like biblical affirmations because they give me a way to distill Bible verses into a capsule of truth I can remember. At any moment, I can repeat a few affirmations to help change the direction of my thinking from negative to positive, to help me overcome fear, to bring peace, and so on. 


When we read the Bible, I think there’s a natural tendency to subconsciously think, “That applies to other people, not me.” I know I experience that reaction. By converting a verse into a first-person statement, we are affirming to our heart and mind that yes, indeed, this applies to me.


God works powerfully when we apply the truth to our lives in a personal way. It’s one thing to have a healing ointment, but another thing to apply it to a wound.


I think you’ll find affirmations a wonderful way to counter feelings of loneliness by speaking God’s truth about yourself and your situation.
If you’re not familiar with affirmations, here are ten examples you can begin to use right now:


I choose to think about things that are true and uplifting (Philippians 4:8).

 

I am kind, compassionate, and forgiving because Christ has forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32).

 

I take an interest in others (Philippians 2:4).

 

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).

 

I feel God’s presence as he strengthens and helps me (Isaiah 41:10).

 

I have fellowship with other believers (1 John 1:7).

 

I am known by God (1 Corinthians 8:3).

 

I love everyone, not just those who love me (Luke 6:32).

 

I am growing in grace toward others and intimacy with God (2 Peter 3:18).

 

I have been adopted as God’s child and call him, “Father.” (Romans 8:15).

 

To create your own biblical affirmations, begin with a verse or two that speaks to you. Then change it into a first-person statement (I am . . .). Keep it simple and easy to remember so you can repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Here are a couple examples:

Verse: Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone (Colossians 4:6, NLT).
Affirmation: I engage in gracious conversation with everyone, attracting others to me.
Note: You will notice I changed the wording, but retained the essential meaning. That’s okay because we’re affirming the truth, not memorizing Scripture.

Verse: Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10, NLT).
Affirmation: I am being renewed as I learn to know Christ and become more like him.
Note: You will notice I didn’t use the entire verse, but focused on part that was relevant to my need. That’s okay, too.

Now it’s your turn. For each of these verses, write your own biblical affirmation.


So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

 

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT).

 

Write an affirmation from scratch now. Choose a verse that is meaningful, perhaps one from this book, and write it as an affirmation you will remember.
 

Empowered to Cure Loneliness

If you’re looking for a magic pill to cure loneliness, I’m sorry to tell you that’s not how it works. Depending on the causes of your loneliness, it could take time to work your way out of it.


Years ago, when I was working retail and standing on hard floors for ten hours a day, I developed pain in my heel. I asked the doctor how long it would take it to get better. She said, “It will take as long to heal the damage as it took to cause the damage.”


The same is true for loneliness. Everyone’s situation is different, but as a general rule, it took time for you to reach this point of loneliness, so it will take about as much time to build satisfying relationships.


There is no antidote for loneliness. There is no single Bible verse that will make you snap out of it. There’s no formula for recovery. But don’t be discouraged. I want you to feel empowered to move forward.


I can’t take away your pain. I wish I could. But you can do this, with God’s help.


Recovering from loneliness involves three basic elements: introspection, connection, and interaction.


Introspection means looking inward. It is part of what we’ve been doing here by helping you identify the causes, types, and symptoms of your loneliness. Introspection also includes looking inward at your thought processes and changing the way you think. One scientist says the only approach that works to cure loneliness is to change the way you think. This doesn’t mean loneliness is “all in your head” or imaginary. It simply means positive thoughts will breed positive results.


Connection means looking for ways to work together with others. One of the easiest ways to meet people is to work together toward a common goal, such as volunteering at a charity organization or helping at church. Connection means getting yourself out the front door to a place where you can meet people.


Interaction means developing those new connections by talking about more than the weather. Begin by sharing positive news with others. People like to be around people who are positive. Tell them things about yourself or your experiences. Ask them about themselves and their experiences. This mutual sharing begins to build trust for deeper sharing eventually. It takes time, but you can do it.


It takes time to build new relationships, but it also takes time to plant seeds, cultivate them, and harvest a crop. When you plant a seed, it takes time for it to grow. I want you to think about planting seeds of friendship each day. Eventually, you’ll harvest a crop of great relationships. It takes time to cultivate a relationship.


If you’re starting from scratch, you have to go places where you can meet people and then get to know one or more people. That’s the quick and easy part. Then you must intentionally share and listen, gradually increasing the level of vulnerability. Remember, loneliness isn’t about being alone; it’s about the lack of relationships where you feel heard and understood. That kind of intimate sharing doesn’t happen immediately. It takes time to build trust and understanding.


So for now, plant seeds. Make attempts to cultivate relationships. Don’t give up. Not every seed you plant will bear fruit. Don’t perceive that as rejection of you personally. Rather, look to sow more seeds.

How to Create Your Own Plan to Level up Loneliness


This page offers some instructions to help you create your own custom plan to level up loneliness. Fill in your answers on the page that follows.

I Have a Plan for Immediate Relief

When I feel lonely, I will . . .


For this section, write a few statements that look like: “When [this happens or I feel this way], I will [do this].” For example, “When I feel lonely and depressed, I will watch videos of babies and puppies.” Or “When a holiday makes me feel lonely, I will call Mom.”

I Will Cultivate the Most Important Relationship

Two ways I will cultivate my relationship with God:


For this section, list a couple specific ways you can embrace God, such as writing a letter to God and letting him answer back.

I Will Stop Lying to Myself

I confess I have not always been telling myself the truth. Lies I will uproot, with God’s help:


Review your previous notes on this topic and make a list of lies you tend to tell yourself.

I Will Speak the Truth

Biblical affirmations I will use to speak the truth to myself:


Turn those lies into biblical affirmations, plus any other affirmations.

I Am Empowered to Overcome Loneliness

How I will plant seeds for future relationships that satisfy:


Review the concepts of introspection, connection, and interaction. Then make a specific plan for how you will begin to create new relationships. One part might be something like: I will initiate conversation with three people at church. Another example might be: I will make at least three attempts to get to know [name].
 

My Custom Plan to Level up Loneliness

 

I Have a Plan for Immediate Relief

When I feel lonely, I will . . .

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

I Will Cultivate the Most Important Relationship

Two ways I will cultivate my relationship with God:

 

1

 

2

 

 

I Will Stop Lying to Myself

I confess I have not always been telling myself the truth. Lies I will uproot, with God’s help:

 

1

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

I Will Speak the Truth

Biblical affirmations I will use to speak the truth to myself:

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

I Am Empowered to Overcome Loneliness

How I will plant seeds for future relationships that satisfy:

 

1

 

2

 

3

You are reading text from:

Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

Level Up Loneliness: A Biblical Workbook

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