This is the first time I have ever lived on my own.
Before I married, I went to college in my hometown and lived with my parents. While I did the responsible adult-ing thing fairly well, I never experienced or had practice living on my own.
Fast forward to the present where present life circumstances are not what I expected to be at 31 years. But somehow even on the rough, sad days one of the greatest lessons I am learning right now is how to be alone.
Right before I moved into my new apartment, I told God I wanted to use this time well and not run away from the pain or loneliness I know that will come from time to time. I am constantly asking God to teach me how to be alone, how to turn my sadness or big feelings as a sacrifice of love and trust to Him.
Slowly and deep down inside me, the solitude of loneliness is re-making me into something new. I am learning that unless I learn to be alone, no other relationship will fill that void. Learning to be alone actually can make us stronger and healthier to be in stronger, more life-giving relationships.
Loneliness is not a bad thing, it can actually be a lesson used to teach us something if we allow it. Most of the time (at least in my life) I would run away from loneliness. I would use money, food, clothes, or wanting the "perfect guy" to fill that lonely void inside me. That never ever works.
And when I was married, I came to see that even in a relationship such as marriage a person can still be very, very lonely. Right now in life, I am learning to be lonely. And that's not a bad thing.
Sometimes it still feels weird coming home to a dark apartment and no one is waiting to hug me or ask how my day went. Sometimes I still have days where the tears catch me off guard and the sadness can take my breath away.
But as each day passes, it gets easier.
I am learning to use my loneliness. It is a small, little sacrifice I can give to Jesus as a sign of trusting Him when I don't fully understand it all.
I am learning to allow my loneliness transform me from the inside out. I am quicker to pull out my journal and get all my emotional vomit out on the paper rather than numbing it with Netflix or spoonfuls of peanut butter with chocolate chips.
The solitude of loneliness is my classroom right now. So I am just showing up, sitting in the desk, and leaving the rest of it up to God. Running away won't change reality.
But showing up and facing pain head on, can be the radical difference between thriving and just surviving.
How have you faced loneliness in your own life?
What about facing loneliness (or other emotions) feels scary sometimes?