The need for social distancing during the pandemic has been challenging for many people. It is hard to believe how much our circumstances have changed over the past year. Not being able to relate in the way we’re used to has been difficult. However, isolation is not just a problem that suddenly arose due to the pandemic. Many people today experience feelings of isolation.
The decline of community
As society becomes more dependent on technology, social isolation seems to be increasing. In the past, there was a strong sense of community and in some places, this still exists but in many others, people live in a far more individualistic way than in the past. Society tends to promote individualism over community.
This is one of the reasons why health share plan have become so popular today. Not only do they offer a more affordable healthcare option but they also offer a sense of community. US HealthShare offers information about different healthcare sharing programs, including Christian ones.
The health consequences of loneliness
Loneliness can have severe health consequences because it causes inflammation, raises stress hormones and increases the risks of experiencing chronic diseases. More and more people today are feeling sad and lonely despite the fact that we share more on social media platforms than ever before.
In Psalm 68:5-6a, it speaks about God placing the lonely in families. This isn’t referring to biological families but to a faith-filled community where everyone can find relief from loneliness. The family of God is united by love which is at the heart of faith. Even churches have fallen victim to individualism but those where there’s a true community spirit offer the kind of love that draws others in.
Being alone with God
The feeling of being alone is one of the most difficult human emotions to deal with. Even for people who have faith in God, it is challenging to focus on Him when they face difficult circumstances and feel lonely and isolated.
Solitude is not the same as loneliness. It is possible to feel lonely in the middle of a crowd of people. When we strengthen our relationship with God, we never feel alone because He is always with us. Reading the Bible, praying, journaling or even sitting in silence with God helps you to focus on Him.
We take our attention away from ourselves and our circumstances and turn it on Him. Building our relationship with God can help us improve our relationships with others and gives us a foundation for loving others and being loved in return.
Helping the lonely
When we know someone who struggles with loneliness, we may wonder how to help. Jesus commands us to love each other and this is the best way to deal with someone battling loneliness. We love them and encourage them to love others. Loneliness can be a learned behavior where someone develops a habit of isolating themselves.
Encouraging them to love others can help to break their pattern of self-isolating. The interconnectedness of the Christians in the early church left little room for loneliness and believers need to recapture that sense of community.
The role of counseling
If loneliness persists even when someone is part of a vibrant Christian community, it may be beneficial to seek out a counselor who can work through the underlying causes.
Damaging experiences in childhood, such as abuse, can lead to long-standing issues that can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness later in life. Working through these issues could help to heal past wounds and open the door to more fulfilling relationships.