If on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you happen to be at a wine cellar in suburban Florida, sharing a cheese platter with your friends on the open-air patio, you may see a twentysomething girl hunkered in the corner by herself, slurping on bottomless mimosas and scribbling things down in her OfficeMax notebook.
For your information, I have an abundance of friends and an abundance of things to do. I even have Netflix.
But still, this is an afternoon in which I vigorously fight off the feeling of loneliness. I text a line of friends. I devote myself to reading and writing. But it never works. The feeling comes anyway.
Call it Sunday Blues. Call it millennial angst exacerbated by our increasingly social-media-centric society.
Or, perhaps, this is nothing more than the human experience.
I hate feeling this way.
Primarily because it indicates a spiritual deficiency…or so I’ve been led to believe.
So much churchy language centers on how God satisfies you. He fills the hole in your heart. Joyce Meyer says, “You can have true contentment and satisfaction in Christ!”*
And when you don’t, perhaps you’re just not trusting in God enough. Or you’re not rejoicing in Him enough. After all, a relationship with God cures loneliness, right?
While we’re living in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, we will feel lonely. We will feel unsatisfied. How can we not? We are in constant longing for a perfect relationship with Jesus.
Let me back up. If you feel that God does satisfy your every need and that you can be perpetually satisfied on this side of heaven, that’s great! No, really, that is.
It just hasn’t been my experience.
In fact, I believe God intends for this ‘missing-ness’ to be felt. Between laughter and good conversation, God leaves gaps in the fabric of life.
My life isn’t full. It has holes when I hold it up to the light.
I believe God lets me feel lonely for three reasons:
- To constantly long for a perfect relationship with Him
- To be able to empathize with others who are lonely
- To write
Yes, to write! Novelist, short-story writer, and essay-writer Flannery O’Connor says:
“I am not self-satisfied but I feel that God has made my life empty in this respect so that I may fill it in some wonderful way.”**
So while you’re squinting at me in the corner of the wine cellar and thinking, what a lonely girl, I want you to know: yes, I am lonely. On this particular afternoon, you are absolutely correct. But it doesn’t bother me too much—not on a spiritual level, at least.
Because it’s not the emptiness that pleases or displeases God. It’s what I do with it.
Wanna read more about my thoughts on this topic? Check out my Whole Magazine article: “What Freedom Does the Christian Life Promise?”
*Joyce Meyer. The Christian Post. “Are You Content With Your Life?”
**Flannery O’Connor’s college journal.