We are occupied with many activities, professionally, socially and politically. And yet, never before have we experienced such loneliness, alienation, and separation.
Mobility, proximity, and opportunity are no assurance of access to, or real connection with, other human beings. Surrounded by people and activities, we often find ourselves desperately alone. We are often unable to reach out to another because of our fear of rejection, or our fear of the responsibility of relationship. Intimacy terrifies us just as much as does being alone.
In order to overcome or escape our loneliness, we often throw ourselves compulsively and anxiously into an endless round of activity. Or our fear drives us to withdraw from human exchange. Either way, we are reacting to life out of fear and anxiety, which leaves us less open and responsive to what life offers. Our fear shapes our attitude and expectation and only serves to attract that which we wish to avoid.
Here is an extract from The Single Journey by Peter M. Nadeau
Genesis 2:18, God looks at newly created Adam and declares, "It is not good for man to be alone."
Adam's story isn't much different from that of many singles.
Adam's sense of loneliness before Eve was created wasn't some silly feeling. The image-bearer of God truly was incomplete for his task without his partner. God himself declared Adam's isolation "not good." Together Adam and Eve were perfect strength and beauty. Apart from each other there's a sense of disjointedness.
I know too many singles who pretend they aren't lonely and pretend they don't care about marriage. At times, I fight the same temptation. It's easier to deny the angst of being without a soulmate than to step into the abyss of loneliness. Stifling a desire makes us feel in control; acknowledging a desire makes us vulnerable. Yet a desire that isn't open can't be filled. Adam's experience reminds singles that loneliness is normal and necessary.
This is affirming to me, because often I grow weary of the single life. I want to throw in the towel because everything seems out of place in my life. I took a wrong turn somewhere. I need a new job. I need to change churches. I need new hobbies. I need new friends. I need to move to a new city. Yet when I calm down and take a good look at my life, I realize I actually like my job and my church. I enjoy my hobbies. I value my friends. I love where I live. I'm just out of sorts because I feel unconnected. But it's okay; I should. Adam had the same feeling until God gave him Eve. We're made for so much more.
Between the powerful feelings of loneliness within us and the hailstorm of pressure from others to "settle down already," it's tempting to stifle our God-given desires for intimacy, romance, and union because they're just too painful. Holding onto the desire for intimacy in this world is like trying to hold a dozen eggs in one hand. It doesn't take much for us to give up and call ourselves foolish. It's no wonder most singles are reluctant to open up about their deep loneliness, even with other singles. We're often more accustomed to misunderstanding and misguided attempts to "fix" our condition than we are to receiving genuine sympathy and compassion.
So what do many singles do when they're intensely lonely and bombarded with disheartening messages? They get married; if not to another lonely single, then to their job, hobby, ministry, or anything else that kills the hunger of loneliness.
Ironically, most singles don't need a marriage as much as they need a divorce;a divorce from the idolatrous relationships they've formed to kill their hunger pangs of loneliness. In truth, our desire for union with another can't be met unless the desire is acknowledged, enlarged, and available. Often God can't put good things in our hands because they're already too full with idols. Detours around loneliness are such idols.
If many of us had the choice, we'd marry as soon as possible; we'd do anything to get rid of our singleness.
I've begged, bargained, screamed, yelled, cried, and pleaded with God, yet he hasn't budged. At times I doubted he even cared, until he mercifully reminded me of his goodness and his love for me.
Personally I have learned that loneliness brings me to a place of submission and surrender. The weight of a lonely heart is too great a burden for me to bear. I struggle, strain, and grit my teeth to carry the load, but it becomes too much. I'm forced to lay it at God's feet and let him carry it. Surrendering our desires for intimacy to God isn't the same as stifling those desires. When we surrender our desires for romance to Christ, we admit we aren't in control of this area of our lives nor do we want to be. We heed his call to patience. We wait for his best.