I’ve had some legitimate, real-life enemies in my life lately. I believe they are actively working against my good will. It feels like antagonistic forces that are convicted to work against me. A few of them are even church people.
Counseling experts would call these “micro-aggressions.” They’re the subtle, small, offenses against a person’s psyche. They happen when you least expect it. And they rattle you. For example, African-Americans report that they frequently experience small prejudices and racist attacks such as getting pulled over for no reason. The world is perfect for no one. All of us experience micro-aggressions that keep us from being our full and true selves all of the time. For me, they seem to surface when I feel like I need to be true to myself and oppose or challenge others. I use my warrior energy to draw what I judge is a rightful boundary. And when I do, I end up feeling alienated and misunderstood by them. I feel small, uncomfortable and restless. To use our SASHET language, I feel scared, sad and angry.
Sometimes it consumes me. To ease my pain, I can distract myself with busyness. I go to church more, serve more, spend more time with people, read more, work more, exercise more, organize the house, eat better, improve my life, etc. All these activities help to some degree, but ultimately leave me unfulfilled.
When I reflect on this dilemma at a deeper level, I’ve been realizing lately how “separated” I feel from God, people, and even myself. “There are three basic causes for feelings of loneliness or alienation: Separation from God, from others, and from ourselves,” writes Vickie Kraft, former President of Titus 2:4 ministries. I relate. Paul Matthies of the Village Church suggests that “loneliness, at its root, is a spiritual issue.”
While much of me would prefer to push my loneliness away, I know that God is calling me to acknowledge it, embrace it and surrender it to Him. And, if I allow Him to, God has something to show me — tell me — while I journey through this.
John 16:33 promises that we will experience trouble. As Christ followers, we are “strangers in a strange land … citizens of Heaven, not this old earth. From time to time, we’re supposed to feel uncomfortable … lonely … foreign. Indeed, Jesus’s heaviest burden may not have been His physical suffering, but carrying our shame and sin that separated us from His Father.
Because of Him, I will never have to ever fully, feel alone. The Holy Spirit lives in me forever. I may experience sadness or loneliness on a soul level, but if I surrender it to Him I will never feel fully disconnected from God. Paul declares, “Nothing will separate you from the love of God” (Romans 8). Jesus is closer than a brother. Like Abraham, I am a friend of God (James 2:23). Jesus is my brother and King. God is my Father. Psalm 23 says that God “prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Feeling alone and at risk, God has set David in front of his enemies. God allowed Satan to torment Job. So even when you’re feeling most at risk or most alone, God is in control … not your enemies.
Embracing the idea from Psalm 23 that God has anointed me with a fragrant oil and will protect me at all costs, provides a level of fulfillment that the busyness I typically distract myself with does not. Connecting with God, others, and myself helps ease the pain of loneliness. But even when it does not … I am enough. God is enough. And one day, we’ll be reunited fully in Paradise.
- What do you do to respond to your loneliness?
- Do you believe that men are more inclined to “make it go away?”
- What is unique about male loneliness?
- What do you do to help men in their loneliness?
By Marc Mantasoot
Marc completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2004 and graduated from our two-year transformational program in 2008. He wants to help others pursue their God-given joy and free the world of ego. He is an award-winning poet, writer, small groups/discipleship coach, high school English teacher and martial arts trainer. He provides powerful methods for life transformation at marcmantasoot.com. His greatest joys: Creating scenes with his son, lining up My Little Ponies with his baby girl, and pursuing his irresistible wife.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Carvalho via Creative Commons