Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lonely; Don't Stay There

"I just wanted to eat out. I never eat in a restaurant alone. The children were with their Dad. Times like that make me feel lonely," sighed a single-again church member last Sunday.

Writing on thriving as Christians I try to address anything that threatens our abundant life God has promised each of us. Loneliness is a major problem in America and depression has reached new heights. I believe there is a close correlation to these two. It's easy to "cocoon" in your home with cable tv, internet and food delivery. Many people are working difficult jobs that drain them so that they hesitate to do anything that encourages a new friendship after work.

Being a single-again church member I am hearing and seeing an old problem that simply must be dealt with. I'm not lonely, but I can see how if I were made up differently I could be there quickly. I have come through many things in my professional life and eating out alone or traveling alone are not new to me. I am outgoing person, so I have made new connections to develop friendships for my life to be full.

But for the lonely in my sphere what should I do to help them? What can one person do? What if I work on that....what if?

My daughter called yesterday to talk about our holiday plans. I have always had a heart for the lonely. I told her we are down to such a tiny family I'd love to invite others to our feast. She agreed and we began thinking of those whose family lives hundreds of miles a way and cannot afford to travel this Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to this holiday that I might well have had dreaded since this our first without my husband. The seats will be filled and we will celebrate together!

Loneliness is sad whenever it occurs in anyone. I know the church is upset that the divorce statistics are worse among church members than the population at large. Many resources are invested in keeping couples in healthy relationships. Keep it up...I agree wholeheartedly, but there is a huge percentage of members who are not married. Some never were married, and never will be. Some are widowed and some are divorced. No matter what, church should be a safe place that all members can find a friend easily. Loneliness as a issue for a church member just doesn't make sense to me when I read the New Testament. Right?


Dorothy Champagne said...

You are right! We are called to encourage one another - yet so little do. With our own hectic lifestyles and the busyness of schedules - we simply don't do what God has called us to do. Thank you for the reminder!

Chatty Kelly said...

I really enjoyed your post today. What a heart you have for the lonely! I too hate to eat alone in a restaurant, and when my husband travels on business, I don't like being alone.

You are a great witness and encouragement for biblical fellowship. I hope your Thanksgiving is blessed.

jhunnelle said...

"No matter what, church should be a safe place that all members can find a friend easily"

You're right, i've heard from one of my pastors, he compared the church to a hospital, where hurting people are coming in.

I thank God for our couple's ministry in our church, God is using the ministry to save marriages.

Great post:)

May you have a fruitful thanksgiving celebration.


sailorcross said...

Hi Kay!

This post is so relevant in today's world!! There are many divorced and widowed singles in and outside of the church.

I am one of them. Luckily, for me, my church family welcomes me even more than my own family.

I would have to say that my spiritual family has actually replaced my own family who have stopped speaking to me do to my beliefs.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in every church. And, then I have to wonder--what happened to Jesus' commandment of love your neighbor as yourself?


Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Amen! I still feel lonely in church sometimes and I have a three others in my family. I do believe we need to reach out to others.

Last Wed I looked around church and found many sitting alone. I thought what if we all just sat together? Then maybe it would not feel so lonely.
Love ya!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.