Developing spiritual rhythms and learning to draw closer to God can be a wonderful antidote to loneliness and connect us with God’s healing love.
Learning to find identity, love and intimacy in God’s presence has also been crucial. It doesn’t take away my need for relationships with people, of course, yet it makes such a difference. I am gradually learning to rely on God and receive joy and peace from Him, so that I am not always dependent on other people.
Now, that’s a lot easier said than done. And honestly, I still wrestle with it. Probably we all do, to some extent. So what does this look like in a practical way? For me, having daily devotional times is essential. Also, practicing spiritual disciplines that open me to God is really important. I’m sure we all know that we’re supposed to read our Bibles and pray every day. Yet there is so much more to it!
I find that practicing listening prayer – or simply times of silence and resting in His presence – are a powerful way of connecting with Him. I also love to sing worship songs, and sometimes I really enjoy dancing… and I sense His joy in that. Spending time meditating on small portions of Scripture can be deeply healing, rather than just reading through several chapters at a time.
Times of fasting can also bring real breakthrough, and a sense of deeper intimacy with God. People from a charismatic background may feel that praying in tongues is a helpful way of being filled with the Holy Spirit and becoming more open to God’s presence.
For more on going deeper through various spiritual practices, I highly recommend ‘Spiritual Rhythms’ and ‘Invitation to Solitude and Silence’ by Ruth Haley Barton. I have read these books over and over again, and they continue to touch me each time. I really enjoy her gentle and insightful writing style.
Henri Nouwen has a number of profound books, and they deeply resonate with me, as he wrestled with feelings of SSA and remained celibate throughout his life. One that has helped me greatly is ‘The Inner Voice of Love’.
There are innumerable other ways we can connect with God. At times I have used a visual journal, where I can paint as a form of worship, prayer and a medium to express how I’m feeling. I also like to write, and I find that journalling my raw emotions in God’s presence is a useful tool for healing and growth.
It can be lovely to go for a quiet walk in a natural area, or listen to some inspiring worship music during exercise. I have often found exercise really uplifting and energising, as it releases endorphins that boost my mood. Another activity I find it relaxing to listen to some mellow worship music and practice deep breathing. Meditative and contemplative prayer can also be an excellent way of learning to be still and receive God’s goodness.
When we feel lonely due to deep inner brokenness, the remedy is not to make lots of new friends or attend more church events – the remedy is deep healing and wholeness. Healing can be found through various avenues including counselling, healing prayer, reading relevant books, and loving community.
Yet the deepest, most permanent healing comes from being in His presence, and receiving directly from Him. This is essential, and there is nothing that can take the place of encountering Him.
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