By Roxanne Oduro
I once read an article about the paradoxes of an INFJ. It said that INFJ’s are extroverted introverts—they love being around people but still need their alone time to recharge. I find this to be accurate in my own life; I’m an introvert but I love hanging out with my friends.
However, have you ever felt like an outsider, even with your closest friends? That’s how I felt as the only one of my friends who’d graduated from university. Granted, I was working on campus—which allowed me to still be a part of the community—but starting the new semester without any classes made me feel like an outsider.
Nobody seemed to have time for me.
Loneliness is not a new feeling for me. It usually comes when there’s a change in dynamics. In this case, it involved a busy schedule for me and a different one for my friends.
When these changes come, I usually isolate myself from others, even when I want to be around people. I also isolate myself from God; I won’t let him in. I’ll pray for everything except for why I’m hurting. I bury my problems and hide them away as if they’re some treasure worth keeping, instead of a fear that eats away at me.
Again, another paradox.
I came to accept that loneliness is a normal part of life. I thought accepting it meant the feeling of loneliness would go away and I could forget about it.
Then, Fluid Conference 2018 happened.
During a time of worship, I listened to the lyrics of the songs we were singing. God revealed to me I wasn’t over my loneliness and I began to cry because God (as always) was right. He reminded me of his love for me and how much he cared. He sees me, something my lonely heart needed to hear.
Not only that, but I had fallen for a lie. I had believed I was alone and my friends would be too busy to hang out with me. Soon they would forget about me. But God says we are never alone. He promises his people that he will “not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, ESV)
I had to learn that friends may still be too busy at times to hang out, but it did not mean they do not like me; it does not mean they have forgotten me. Now, when fear creeps in, I can look confidently to God, knowing he is with me.
It is not in God’s plan to abandon you or leave you on your own. Ever.
You can bury your pain and feelings of loneliness for as long as you want to, however, it’ll eventually rise to the surface and cause damage. But God’s grace steps in to save you. He reminds you of his steadfast love, whether it’s from his word or in worshipping him.
Whatever feelings of loneliness or pain you’re experiencing, please don’t ignore it and think it’ll go away. It won’t. If the friend you trust the most is busy, set up a time to talk to them. Talk to God.
We’re not meant to do life alone. God intended us to be in fellowship with him and with others.
Any feeling of loneliness you have? Give it to God. Let his love wash over you and make you whole again. Keep coming to him.