Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thoughts on Loneliness

I like to surround myself with people all the time. I do not like being alone. Even if whoever it is I am around, if we do not talk or say anything at all, just nice to know that someone is there with you. Maybe it is because I am from a huge family, we never really had the opportunity to be alone, or maybe it is just my personality. And with my job now, I seldom if ever have alone time. I still have my time with God, but that isnt really alone time, He is still there. I had to go to Los Angeles for a conference last month. Going to LA for this Dakota boy was quit the experience. I had no clue that so many people could live in such close areas. (BTW the Hollywood sign = DISAPPOINTMENT)
I was able to stay with some very good friends of mine but I only got to see them EARY in the morning when they dropped me off at the convention center, or LATE at night when they had to come get me after it was all over.
I am at this HUGE center and there are people all around. TONS of people. It was actually a bit overwhelming. As I was sitting there waiting for the next session to begin I got this really not so fun feeling inside of me. It was in the pit of my stomach. I went to this conference for a few things. The main was to grow spiritually, but the other was to really learn more and get reminded as to why I am a youth pastor. Well this feeling was not going away and I didnt like it at all. I have never felt this before. I went to get some food, and while I was sitting there eating watching all the people who have come to this together, it hit me. I was lonely. How on earth can you leave small life North Dakota and go to LA where there are more people then I have ever seen in my life and possibly feel lonely? I tried to shrug it off but the longer the day went the worse the feeling was. I had all these people around me, more then I have ever been around in my life probably. And yet I was lonely. I would go to the sessions and PRAY that someone would sit by me who actually wanted to talk. At one point, I was at the night session and I found my seat. It was normally VERY packed, and I wanted to get their early so I was not way in the back again. I found a whole row in the middle that was open so I decided I was going to sit half way through it so people would have to sit by me. A group came and asked if the open seats were taken and I said no. So more and more people started coming. A guy sat down and asked if the 5 chairs to my left were open. I said yes and he sat down right by me and saved the other 4. Well he had some other friends come and looked at me and said, "Oh Im sorry, I was saving these, can you please move." ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
At first I thought I was going to just stand my ground and stay there. I thought I paid just as much as you did to come to this. But then, I realized that it would be awkward for us all through the session if I stayed. So with that every so holy Jesus smile I said, "Im sorry, no problem." Once again feeling lonely.
That night the speaker was really good. I cant totally remember what he all spoke on, but God really spoke to me. I realized that I was not at all relying on Him like I should be. I make myself so busy that I dont really have time to focus on God. I tell all my students and friends that God is always there, and that we should make time for Him, but was I living that. Not at all. It was like He was telling me, "Scot, dude, this is the feeling I have when you ignore me. I have all the people in the world to be around, but I want to be with you." HUGE wake up call. I did some major soul searching and praying that night. The next night I decided that I was going to be with people. I wanted to really worship in the service and just enjoy the last evening of the conference. I went all the way up to the third row. Found a row of empty seats and prayed that I would get to stay there. I sat down and shortly after that a guy came up to me and asked if the open seats were taken. "No, how many do you need?" Just the one he said, he was there alone as well. Then two other people came up and asked for seats, they were also alone. So a group of us loners had a great night of worship. The speaker and music was fantastic. I learned what it was to feel alone. Glad that I have a God that says I dont EVER have to feel that way.

~Learning as I go~


pastorwick said...

sounds like the A-Team was slackin'. Next time, you gotta volunteer's the best way, and FREE-EST way to go. :)

One-T said...

NONO they were all great. There was just LOTS going on. The conference over all was fantastic...

Elizabeth B said...

I've actually had some of the same thoughts lately...all too often I push aside that little voice calling me into fellowship with Him in order to do something less important.

Jake Hill said...

I've had similar thoughts like this before. And it does usually happen in large groups - and usually places where I think I fit in the best. Maybe those situations are so comfortable for us that we find ourselves more open to God during them. Who knows? I am thankful for these situations even though they are stretching....and very uncomfortable for my extrover spirit.

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Samuel John Gietzen said...

"Scot, dude, this is the feeling I have when you ignore me. I have all the people in the world to be around, but I want to be with you."

Wait a minute… God isn’t lonely when we ignore Him – There’s nothing in Scripture that tells of Gods’ loneliness—? He doesn’t sit in Heaven, all alone, waiting for us to recognize Him or spend time with Him! God is self-existent – He doesn’t need us, we NEED Him. I believe that feelings of loneliness are fine all by themselves without roping some sudo-spiritual aspect along with them. Feeling lonely is quite a normal human thing to feel – even if you’re completely 100% trusting in God and all of His promises.

There are plenty of solid, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, and growing Christians out there that ARE lonely. Not just feeling lonely – they are lonely. The widow / widower next door, that 45 year old single woman who’s never been married, that Christian teenager or spouse living with non-Christian family…etc…

Sorry if I came off as mean… I really don't mean to be - my intentions are not to mock or poke fun.

I get what you’re saying – but I think it’s bigger than you’re allowing it to be.

Sure, if you are neglecting to spend time in study and prayer with and about God, you need to address that issue and seek His will through it. Not merely seeking a good ‘feeling’ from it, BUT seeking to change your patterns to recognize Him in every aspect of your life – seeking to learn more about Him, by studying your Bible, so you can understand and know Him better – asking for confidence IN CHRIST in ‘loneliness’ or any other 'feeling' you're experiencing. Concentrating on Him rather than concentrating on feeling better about Him. A Christian seeking his / her feelings can be referred to as a ‘Sensuous Christian’.

A ‘Sensuous Christian’ (notice I did not say sensual, but sensuous…there’s a difference) lives by their feelings rather than through what they know – in other words: lives by their feelings rather than through their understanding of the Word of God. See, you’re being moved to recognize Christ more because of your feelings. Now, I’m not saying that being moved by worship or a circumstance or a conversation or a sermon is wrong, but the reason behind it has to fit with a correct understanding of Scripture and how God has revealed Himself through Scripture. However, a sensuous Christian sees no need to study the Word of God in order to discern God’s will because they already know God’s will by their feelings. Ask around – I’m sure you would find many ‘Sensuous Christians’ (maybe not self-proclaimed, but who definitely fit the criteria).

In his book Knowing Scripture, R.C. Sproul said, “Sensuous Christians go their merry way until they encounter the pain of life that is not so merry—and they fold. They usually end up embracing a kind of ‘relational theology’ where personal relationships and experience take precedence over the Word of God” and “The highest law of sensuous Christians is that bad feelings must be avoided at all cost.”

Scot, I’m not accusing you of being a sensuous Christian – but we (me and you) have to always be careful that our priorities are correct. Seek wisdom through the teaching of Scripture OVER seeking to satisfy your feelings.

With Love,


One-T said...

Sam...dude you know i dont think you are attacking, but i agree and disagree with you. Maybe saying God gets lonely was a bad way to word it. But I do think he gets saddened when we do not spend the quality time we should with Him. When we put Him on the back burner. That is kinda what i was going for. But dude, you know i dont think that way about you. Opinions are great. we dont have to see eye to eye on things. your a rockstar dude said...

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