Hope in loneliness

Our guest blog is from Rosamund O’Donnell

I was lonely. I just didn’t realise it.

I was used to moving around. This time, I moved to a completely new city for work. It was a great job, therefore I didn’t mind the unsociable hours. I honestly couldn’t work out what was wrong.

The waves of intense emotional pain were sudden and crippling. I would curl up on the floor and whimper. They were unavoidable and overwhelming.

I had huge misconceptions about loneliness

I once assumed that with good social skills and a lot of effort I would never be lonely again. (Humble – I know). As if I could overcome loneliness with some witty banter and local pals.

Admitting I was lonely to friends felt like I was telling them “you’re not doing enough.” Or worse than that “you are not enough.”

I felt desperate and needy. These are not good traits if you want to build friendships. So I stuffed those feelings way down, thinking it would help me in the long run to ignore them.

In reality, no matter what I did, I couldn’t escape the fact that something inside of me was broken.

The opposite of loneliness is not popularity.

A quick google search will tell you the antonym to ‘lonely’ is ‘popular’. Which is obviously rubbish. Popularity can make people incredibly lonely.

Ed Sheeran’s song Eraser is more than great track. He says “I used to think that nothing could be better than touring the world with my songs. I chased the picture-perfect life. I think they painted it wrong. I think that money is the root of all evil and fame is hell…. Ain’t nobody wanna see you down in the dumps. Because you’re livin’ your dream man that s*** should be fun.”

The opposite of loneliness is belonging.

The problem is in our culture you have to earn your sense of belonging. You have to build a reputation. You want to be popular? Show us on Instagram that you are worth following. You want to show you are capable? Get the top job. You want us to be impressed? Do something exciting.

When we’re flying high – it can feel exhilarating. But when it falls apart. Or we grow weary. The loneliness inside us aches. I suppose you might think the answer is authenticity. If everyone was real with one another, we think, then we wouldn’t have this problem.

Yet we know this has limits. We only show people elements of who we really are. There are always details of a story which we hold back for fear of people seeing what we really think. Because we know people would reject us if they knew the whole truth. We long for someone love us truly. For who we are with the masks off.

Yet who could possibly love us as who we really are?

Fully-known AND fully-loved

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the
ungodly.7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person
someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

The gospel message starts with telling you straight: You suck. No really. You’re a terrible
person. A terrible person who has been impacted by other terrible people. You need help.

It tells a story about the God who made the universe. The God who made you. He came up with the idea of you. (Indeed, he was having a great day when he came up with that idea!)

He decided to enter into this mess of a world. Live as a human being. Die the most painful death to repair that relationship. For no other obvious reason other than love.
There is a God who knows everything about you.

The God who knows the very worst about us, loves us. The God who knows the very worst about you, loves you.

Have you ever known love like it? I haven’t.

Rosamund O’Donnell

Rosie lives in Norwich. Her new routine involves exercising with Joe Wicks on a Monday morning. Outside of lockdown you would be most likely to see her at local open mics.

Published by Nay Dawson

Hello and thank you for reading my blog. I'm married to Jon and live in Southampton with our two girls. I work with IFES Europe as their Regional Training Co-ordinator, training staff and students across Europe. In 2019 I set up Passion for Evangelism a network of creative, public female speakers. I'm a Trustee for the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation raising essential funds for disadvantaged Black British Students. I'm also a Trustee for Friends International helping welcome International students to the UK. In response to the war in Ukraine I helped set up Ukraine Connect matching refugees and hosts across Europe

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