I’ve entered a season in life where I’ve become very aware of the word lonely and how it affects me. Loneliness in reality is being married to a police officer working irregular hours.
Walking this life can be lonely at times. Especially as we see evidence of other families living their “normal” lives, doing things like attending parties, weddings, holidays … vacations. Some of my loneliest times are those when I’m in a room full of people or at aforementioned events without my husband. I begin to long for that normal we once had. The normal where I didn’t have to play the role of single mom the majority of the week and was able to just enjoy being a family!
Loneliness is defined as, “Being without company; Not frequented by humans; Sad from being alone.” It can hit you deep in the emotions. It can cause feelings of depression and sadness. It can make you feel separated from society. And when you begin to feel this way, you can easily give into those feelings, falling into the trap of isolation. I’ve been there. It’s not fun.
Isolated is where the enemy wants us. We become an easier target when alone. And alone means we are left to ponder those same tainted thoughts of depression, sadness, separation … coupled with thoughts of fear, pain, rejection – sliding us further back into isolation. It’s an ugly merry-go-round of emotions. I fully believe this is why the word unite continues to be my focus. We need to unite with one another. Unite to fight the enemy. Unite to fight loneliness.
Lately, as I’ve studied various topics tied into loneliness, one single thing has remained the same. And His name is Jesus. This is a key verse!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9b NIV).
With Jesus in our hearts, we are never alone no matter how lonely we feel.
If you’ve ever looked for someone who truly understands what it means to be lonely, look to Him. He had 12 close friends, “the disciples,” who tucked tail and ran when times got hard. One turned his back on Him by turning Jesus over to be hung on the cross. The one who swore he would never leave or deny was the one who publicly denied Him three times! He gets it! So much so, that we are promised, once we are His, we are never alone. Even in the hard times. Even when we have no one else around. Even when everyone seems to have turned their backs. We are never alone.
Once we have this understanding, we need to understand how to fight back against loneliness.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).
It saddens me when I hear high-ranking individuals discouraging friendships within the walls of their own department. I understand that ugliness can breed or the concern that work won’t stay at work so as not to break fully away. Or, the drama that can come through the wives gathering leading to gossip, dissension, or worst case, infidelity. But at the same time, it’s driving many of us to isolate ourselves from those who understand exactly what we face. The very people we NEED, and who may need us.
I explained earlier the importance of knowing we are never alone with Jesus. With that understanding, let’s fight back and punch loneliness in the nose!
God created us for community. Some people are completely fine being alone, but that is not God’s intention. Whether it’s in a church or with others in Blue, He wants us to share our lives with each other … not necessarily everyone, but not shutting ourselves off from ALL others. I’m referring to others who face the same battles. Others who know the challenges that come with walking a Thin Blue Line. Others who are there to lift us up when we fall. And, hopefully, point us to the One who promises to never leave us.
Yes, we also need others who walk a different path. They bring balance. And I’ve found they help give a break from the craziness we know! The right ones can bring joy and perspective from a different light.
We joined our church in 2008. And that’s something I will never regret. With family 3-5 hours away, we were missing family. While our church will never replace our family, our church family has stood in the gap. We’ve met positive, encouraging people who love and pray for us. They’ve been there through thick and thin, and have come to the rescue in time of need. And we’ve grown to love and cherish our God given family.
It all began with a prayer. A prayer for God to bring the right people into our lives, that may need us, and would be a positive influence on our family. God has opened doors for us to create bonds with others in our Blue family, and allow us to do life with those who have faced things we face, and being a newer LEO family, guide us through things we haven’t faced. He is even opening the door for some amazing ways we can be a positive influence in the lives of others!
Unity. We need it. We need each other. So if you find yourself alone, ask God to reveal someone that you can grow a healthy relationship with. LET people IN! Ask Him to point you to a church. And if you aren’t alone, look for someone you can reach out to; that you can be a friend to and offer support. Be that one who is an agent of change in this lonely world we live in. Be the one who makes a difference!
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:20-25 NLT).
– Melinda, Bless the Badge
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at Badge 145 in 2016. It has been republished with permission of the author.