Encouraging Loneliness

  

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud“, a line from one of my favorite poems- Daffodils by William Wordsworth.. came to my mind instantly upon writing this topic.

The last few weeks have been nothing short of exciting, stressful(in a good way!), uncertain, scary and challenging. Along the way(moving to a new city only knowing a handful of friends here), I’ve had my own bouts with loneliness.

I’ve been on my own, single, adulting for about two years post collegiate now. I’ve learned a lot about myself in that time, grown, made mistakes, and picked myself up off the ground after failure and discouragement or feelings of “unworthiness” because of how I felt about what I wasn’t gaining or accomplishing; OR because of how someone treated me.

Life is not easy, no not at all. But..we weren’t ever promised it to be were we..?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33

I think that sometimes it is extremely easy to accept the lies we internally feed ourselves about who we “feel” we are at a moment of loneliness or taking on an identity of untruth because of the way someone “makes us feel”.

I can relate to being lonely too and fully understand those unhealthy, inaccurate thought patterns that we fall so easily into at times..

I know that most of the time I am described as- bubbly, happy, kind, outgoing and cheerful. I am an encourager and I am certainly all of those things and actively try to be that for everyone in my life daily!

However, SPOLIER ALERT: I am also human and I have very real emotions that I own just as much as the positive ones. I’ve dealt with loneliness at times especially during the past year and a half. It sucks and it’s tough I know! BUT- there’s a way to escape that and It does not have to define you or consume you.

WHY/HOW Was I lonely?

A few reasons, I’m glad you asked.

I focused on work and my own training so much so that the last year and a half after graduating college, I found myself really isolated. I did some of that on purpose yes, choosing training over relationships or sleep over going out. But, that’s not all.

I decided that(subconsciously) maybe at times..it would be better for me to “ghost” people, or not let them in or get too close to me because I was so afraid that they would hurt me or fail me like I felt I had been before. A few relationships I’ve experienced in my young adult life have really wrecked me at times and I was so consumed by that fear of something like that hurting me that I didn’t let anyone get “too friendly” or too close to me, even normal friendships.Keeping people at arms length was best.

Another reason- I filled my free time, whatever little I did have..with shallow/ meaningless endeavors. Whether it was scrolling social medias, trivial conversations, or pursuing people that didn’t have the same purpose-driven spirit as me; I tried to fill that loneliness with people, “not relationships”, shallow things because deep down I knew that couldn’t possibly touch my heart and I could be safe “not having any feeling” attached. But ultimately the joke was on me, it did hurt because I do have a heart and a purpose and a God who knows that and knows ME.

All along, even when I couldn’t fully accept my worth, Jesus did. He does. He sees yours, and everyones even through whatever “thing” you’re trying to mask or fill your loneliness void with right now.

Isolation is the root of loneliness and it cannot protect you, it’s such a false covering.

So, to recap: The last year and a half, I focused on my own work, training and self instead of building relationships, fully nurturing the one’s in front of me, and being in community! Mistake.

The very things I was rejecting are actually just what you should seek if you feel lonely. We are called to be in community, we are not meant to be alone. I am so glad the Holy Spirit has my heart aligned with His now and here in Jacksonville now has filled me with purpose!! 🙂

One quick point I want to mention briefly before telling you all HOW to ENCOURAGE- Loneliness is this- AGE or circumstance does NOT determine loneliness or times of depression.

Everyone feels lonely at times in their life, you pass by people everyday that “fake it until you make it” face on and greet you with a smile. You don’t know what they’re dealing with internally. That’s why it’s so imperative that KINDNESS is key. If you’re given the spiritual gift of encouragement, let that SHINE. Blind people with it!! That’s what i’m really trying everyday now at least.

I am far from perfect and do not have my life “all together” or figured out, no one does..some people just have fun/fancy, shiny titles that portray that. BUT I know we ALL have the same purpose- to spread love and encourage one another and to honor and glorify Jesus who gave us all of these gifts to begin with. We are all just equipped with different tools, “jobs” if you will, to do that. You feel me? Ok, sorry off topic>>

HOW you ask..do I conquer my loneliness?

Well, I packed up and moved to a new city, started new work, plugged into a new running group, started attending a new church, met all new friends(mostly through Celebration Church!), found a new roomate, and started saying YES to Holy Spirit prompts to put myself out there and SERVE and be in Community and take time to ENCOURAGE and have real conversations with other humans!!

Alright, I know a little drastic…LOL

You don’t have to relocate, but maybe you might if you’re situation is super unhealthy and you can’t rid yourself from that environment any other way.

BUT here’s a checklist:

  • LET GO OF WHAT’S FILLING THE VOID-whether it’s people, drugs, drinking, unhealthy self talk, emotions, whatever, it isn’t God. It cannot fulfill you. TRUST me. break the cycle instead of playing the same song on repeat.
  • BE IN COMMUNITY- Join a small group, say YES to that buddy that wants to grab lunch, take a weekend trip, be around other like-minded friends and find an accountability partner or mentor you trust and TALK about what you’re feeling.
  • PRAY- Sometimes we neglect the fact that God wants and likes to hear from us. He’s not some distant judging diety. He loves us, HE adores you and He is in your corner. Trust His promise and His purpose for you, it’s greater than what you’de ever hope for. If you can’t trust that yet, try! What do you have to loose by going all in with Faith and putting your trust in Him when you’ve felt like you’ve failed or someone has failed you? He never will I promise.
  • KNOW YOUR WORTH!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot express this one enough, if you don’t get anything at all from this post, please meditate over this. I’ve interacted with several new friends and acquaintances this past week who I’ve felt a God prompt to let them know this and Pray this over them. It’s also been a huge affirmation for myself and reassurance of God’s love for my own heart and reminder that even at times when I look back and play in my head when I was seeking worth in others or things, that Jesus is where my worth comes from. Please relish in that! It is true and that is the biggest thing that will ultimately set you free from loneliness or any lie that you don’t matter. YOU DO.

Also pretty awesome that this was a topic at the ladies small group this week at Sub30 I attend now. (So I took notes and I’m gonna post a picture below for you guys to take!!) 🙂

   

   

I hope this post helps some of you all and know you’re NOT alone and you do not have to obsess over or be defined by false sense of worth. En-couragement (IN-COURAGE).

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A New Place called home.

  
A recap of my first week living in Jax after moving from Birmingham, Alabama a week ago today. My thoughts, observations, emotions & explorations.

A week ago today I packed up my things and headed down with my twin brother and dad to move to Jacksonville, Florida. I had been living in Birmingham since 2013, attending college at UAB and stayed about two years post collegiate before making the leap to move away.

My goals in the move to Jax:

  • Fresh start
  • New job opportunities 
  • Personal growth out of my comfort zone 
  • Meet new people and make friends 
  • Running, better training, new trails & more training partners and community 
  • BEACH
  • Friends already here 
  • Tired of bham, love it but too small and I outgrew it
  • Most importantly, I’ve been praying for this city for about a year now and felt led to come here to use my gifts, communication skills and connections to be a light to serve the community here for Christ. However that may play out!

What I’ve accomplished so far in a week here:

  • Started training at the PGA TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra(my new job position I am STOKED for!!)
  • Met w/ my new fitness director and started the process of getting my personal trainer schedule at the YMCA Ponte Vedra branch set where I’ll be a part time trainer to the community here 
  • Found a church home at Celebration church and found a small group and many sweet, fun new friends, future serving opportunities and Sub30 worship night for young adults like me.
  • Reconnected with my friends who live here too including a high school cross country teammate and good friend!
  • Jumped in a 4th of July race and connected with the running community and plugged into a like-minded training group. We are coordinating runs and training and races in the future! 
  • Stayed on my training schedule despite the grueling temps!
  • Explored many niches like-avenues mall,town center, San Marco, Jax beach, Ponte Vedra, Neptune beach, Manderine(where I live!), julington area, baymeadows & many more to come.
  • Didn’t get lost, use my GPS for everything!!! 
  • Mapped out easiest routes for grocery, coffee, gas, work, beaches & running trails and track.

What I felt and learned:

At first, it was hard. After my dad and twin brother left me on Sunday afternoon I finished unpacking my boxes and met some of the neighbors who are very nice and watchful of each other. I live in a nice community and it seems very safe and quiet here. 

Even though I am 20-30 minutes from everything where ever I want to go, it’s not a bad deal. My Roomate though hasn’t been home since I moved in a week ago and the first few nights were lonely and I couldn’t fall asleep right away.

I have adjusted to the slow speed limit here(most roads are only 45mph) with highways being 65ish and there are cops everywhere!! Not like Atlanta where everyone goes 10-15 over and gets away with it. 

I’ve also learned to be patient in going places that it will take you 30-45min to get out to one side of town to the other. Traffic isn’t too terrible in the summer now but the roads are long and Jax is very spread out. You just have to plan out your day carefully and fill up on gas!!

Things are a little more expensive here like food and gas. There are many places to eat and a Publix or Starbucks on every other corner. 

Most people have been very friendly and helpful to me upon meeting them and welcoming. 

I’ve made so many new friends in just a week and had some interesting conversations and I’m excited to keep exploring every area and nurturing my new friendships while establishing more.

This week has been rewarding, uncertain, scary, fun, exciting, HOT and wonderous.

Speaking of HOT…no more candid middle of the afternoon easy runs…I learned my lesson the hard way this week by attempting to run in mid-afternoon because I wanted to sleep in. 

Trust me, here it’s worth it to suck it up and get the training done EARLY before you bake.

I definitely have my work cut out for me starting over in a new city with dreams, goals, tasks and a more open heart toward people and serving than I’ve ever had.

I’m hopeful and determined going into my second week living here in Jax. 

Now I start both my position at the PGA, starting a new client base for personal training from scratch, plugging in at new church groups, coordinating training with new running buddies, meeting my Roomate finally!!, and juggling adjusting to a new routine for the week and maintaining a balanced FUN social life!

My goals going foreward here are:

  • Stay in community- with my church, my friends, running community, friends 
  • Train smarter and believe in my goals & don’t make excuses and encourage  my group here 
  • Excel in my PGA position and as a trainer at the YMCA for my community and use my skills to help be a light in everything I can do here 
  • Make new friends and be open and not ghost people bc I’m afraid they will hurt me. Put myself out there and be a GREAT friend! And listener, be dependable for everyone
  • Explore new eats, craft brews, art, culture of Jax 
  • Be a beach bum and learn to surf!! 
  • Have fun being a 20’something!!

I know that’s a lot to digest, I’m still processing all of the sights, sounds, feelings and conversations and connections from this week. It will take a little while before Jax feels like home but my first week has been very successful, I’m happy and I know I’ve already crossed off a lot of immediate goals in my book. 

I’m beyond thankful and blessed and I can’t wait to see what the next weeks and months here hold!

Until my next post, comment anything you want to know about my move or Jax and I’ll do my best to answer!