More than 300 children and volunteers gathered at St. Luke’s Edmond this week for Vacation Bible School! I want to share with you one of the Bible points the children learned this week because when I heard about this, I immediately thought, “big kids” can benefit from this, too! The theme of VBS this year is “Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus.” On the first day, the message focused on calling on Jesus when you feel lonely. Whenever children heard the phrase “when you’re lonely” throughout the day, they were encouraged to shout out, “Jesus Rescues!” I couldn’t help thinking about how helpful this could be for all of us if we got in the habit of reminding ourselves that Jesus rescues, when we are lonely, sad, scared, etc! So, today I thought we would talk about loneliness!
It’s easy to look on Facebook or Instagram and feel like everyone but you is on vacation or eating at the hot new restaurant or spending time with their very best friends. Social media can heighten feelings of loneliness. The meaning of loneliness is often misunderstood. For example, you could be at a crowded music festival with thousands of people and still feel alone or maybe you’re at home cleaning up after a big party with family and friends and while you stand at the sink washing dishes, you feel so alone. You may feel alone because you’ve gone through a divorce, you may feel alone because you’ve lost somebody you love, you may feel alone because you’ve moved away from your old home or the kids have gone away. Feeling lonely can also be the result of what many have coined “FOMO” or fear of missing out! It’s what happens when you scroll mindlessly through social media looking at all of the wonderful things your friends are doing while you sit, doing nothing. It can lead to making commitments we shouldn’t or send us into a mindset focused on lack, instead of one of gratitude.
#2 Prepare our hearts
To combat feelings of loneliness, we have to prepare our hearts to receive the gift of God’s love. How can you do that? Make a commitment to listen to your heart, to ask God to reveal Himself to you. When we reflect on our lives and take time to check in to see if the values we claim to have are in alignment with our choices and actions. As strange as it seems, in order to overcome loneliness, one first has to be at peace with being alone!
#3 It’s your choice
God’s love is a gift offered to everyone, but why doesn’t everyone receive this gift? The answer is simple, because not everyone chooses to prepare. It begins with a choice. You and I have to choose to open our hearts; we have to choose the spirit in which we will live. God will offer his love, no doubt; the question is will we have our hearts open and ready to move from loneliness to love? The question is really about us, not about God. God’s love is offered to each of us and He promises those who choose Him will receive His love and move from loneliness to love.