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You can pray about loneliness
Feeling lonely? You’re not alone. Though we’re more connected than ever (thanks, social media), many of us still feel isolated. Is there a spiritual solution to loneliness? TeenConnect’s editor, Jenny Sawyer, asked Christian Science practitioner and teacher Curt Wahlberg.
So why isn’t the answer to loneliness to just find some people to be around?
The world certainly provides lots of people to be around and opportunities to connect. But for me, actually solving this problem of loneliness comes down to a deeper issue: satisfaction. What makes us feel complete? And to answer that question, we need to look at identity—what we are beyond our personality, and our likes and dislikes. I’ve found that to deal effectively with loneliness, I need to get a spiritual sense of my identity.
OK, but what does identity have to do with loneliness?
For so many of us, there’s a strong feeling that to be satisfied, we need something outside ourselves to make us feel complete and worthy. If we just find this kind of friend, or this kind of relationship, then we’ll be OK. So to pray about loneliness, first we’ve got to resist the pull to look for answers “out there,” which unfortunately is a temporary solution at best.
The real solution involves taking a cue from Christ Jesus, who said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). That’s a promise that whatever we’ve hoped to find “out there” is something that’s already inherent in our identity. It’s ours to share, and sharing it helps us make meaningful connections. We find it as we go on a journey to see ourselves differently—spiritually.
Seeing ourselves spiritually—what does that mean?
For me it starts with knowing God as the infinite source of our being, and that we’re the expression of that source. That means two things. First, it means that we lack nothing. Our source is infinite! So our happiness, wholeness, satisfaction, even our humor, are God’s gifts to us, and we can never be without them. They are aspects of our identity that we can express without limit and without fail.
Second, it means that we have something to contribute as God’s creation. Something that is uniquely ours to give. As we understand more of our infinite source, we can actually rely on that source to draw more and more good out of us and help us see the light we bring to the room, the life we bring to the party. So instead of constantly looking for the party that will relieve our loneliness, we’re getting more awareness of the God-derived life we can bring to it—and the happiness that comes from sharing that.
Find the second half of this interview online at sentinel.christianscience.com/teenconnect/loneliness
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