- Ashy Akakpo
A Lonely Christian
One thing I’ve come to realise is that the hardest truth to admit to yourself as a Christian is the truth that you are lonely. I say this because of the many misconceptions that immediately pop into people’s minds as soon as you make that statement. Especially if you’re a single, Christian woman, as I am.
People without hesitation assume you are talking about your singleness. But, hey – what if – right, just humour me for a moment. What if that wasn’t the case? What if being single was just the tip of the iceberg, and this loneliness is deeper than just singleness?
Now, I say it is a hard truth to admit because no one actually likes admitting it – especially as a Christian. I mean, come on, you’ve got Jesus, right? He’s your closest friend and companion. But I’ve been learning that the closer I get to Him, the lonelier I feel. Ironic, right? Sounds like heresy. Let me explain.
As long as I can remember, I have always had this conscious desire to be liked and to fit in. I have always feared coming across weird or different. But the more I draw closer to God, the more I stand out and that can weird people out. People I don’t want to weird out. See, when I really love something – I can’t help myself but talk about it all the time and that can make things a little tricky.
A couple of weekends ago, I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while at church, and I had asked him what he was doing now. He began telling me all the exciting things he was doing, and I was so over the moon for him. Then it was my turn. “What about you Ashy? What have you been doing?” Without hesitation, I started talking passionately about my ministry, my calling and Jesus. I spoke about Jesus a lotttt.
Now, I might be overthinking it a little, but when I say I noticed him take a step back, angle his body away from me, fold his arms and then twist his face in a sort of distasteful way – yeah. Things got awkward fast after that. In fact, after I had spoken, the conversation pretty much died.
This is something I’ve been realising recently, and in all honesty, I hate it. Why? I feel isolated. I want to talk to people and feel like I’m not boring them or putting them off. So, you know what I’ve started doing, toning it all down. Has it helped? No.
But wait. Ashy, that doesn’t really mean you’re lonely. You have friends.
Yes, I do. But how is loneliness defined? Well, according to the Indian J Psychiatry journal of 2013, loneliness is defined as a state of solitude, where a feeling of disconnection is present. It is very possible to have friends, but yet feel disconnected from them.
Here’s my experience. I realised I was lonely when I was in a room full of people but yet still felt completely isolated. In fact, that was me a couple of weekends ago during a games evening. I sat there, looking all around me. People were having a great time, laughing, smiling, and talking. I had a friend sitting beside me, a couple in front of me and one or two behind me. But even then, I felt – alone. I felt – invisible.
God created us for community. We are beings made for connection, not isolation, and that is something I am really coming to understand. I used to try convincing myself that feeling the need to be a part of something or belong to something was well – lame (who even says lame anymore? Hennyways..) I had repeatedly tried ignoring this feeling, until God really made me realise I can’t run from it. I must acknowledge it.
Now, this is not a sob story. In fact, it is more like an ultra-realisation. I made this post to help someone who needs it know; it is very possible to be a Christian, have a relationship with God, have a couple friends but yet, still feel alone.
It is very possible to be a Christian, and desire to be a part of a community even when you already have a church. It is very possible to be alone, and singleness only playing a tiny part. Sure, being single doesn’t help with the loneliness, but sometimes the loneliness has nothing to do with the singleness. Does that make sense? I hope it does.
So, Ashy, how can I fix this? What can I do? Well, for me – I wanted to speak to someone about it. But I couldn’t. I sat on my bed yesterday, staring at my WhatsApp chat log, daring myself to message someone and spill the beans – but this overwhelming shame swept over me, and I turned my phone off and well – cried. I just didn’t feel like anyone would really understand what I was feeling. How was I meant to explain to someone I feel so lonely; it hurts? So, do you know what my next move was? Pray.
One of the best feelings in the world is off loading your pain into the Father’s capable hands. The comfort He gives you is like no other. Tell Him everything. Let me tell you what I began praying for.
Number one, for Him to lead me to a community where I can feel like I am a part of something. I think He has definitely led me to a church I can be a part of but, being a Pastor’s daughter it’s not that simple (but that’s a story for another day). So, still currently praying for community and whilst I wait for it, I am asking Him to strengthen me and reassure me that something is coming my way.
Number two, for Him to send me a Christian female mentor. Someone who is mature in their walk with Christ, preferably in their late twenties or early thirties, who I can grow a close, meaningful friendship with. Someone who could help me with accountability, who will support and encourage me. Someone I can pray with, study the Bible with and just hang out with. That would be so nice to have, and I truly believe it would benefit me greatly. Both spiritually and mentally.
Finally, number three, uh – this is cringey. But transparency is key, so here it goes. I’ve been praying for God, if it is in His will, of course, to also lead the right young man to me. I mean, let’s be honest – it would be nice to be in a romantic relationship too.
But I think, if God helps me with the community aspect and provides a mentor – I think I won’t think about the third one all that much. Yeah sure, it’d probably – most definitely be at the back of my mind, but it won’t be prominent, because the main reasons for my loneliness would have been resolved.
Quite frankly, I trust and know that at the right time – God will provide. It is hard though, experiencing this loneliness, but I know when the blessing comes, I’ll be able to look back at this season in my life and think, “Bro! God really did that! Yeah, yeah!”
Here’s a promise I found yesterday in God’s Word, that I think is just so encouraging whilst being in this season. Psalms 37:24, ‘God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.’ That verse gives me so much encouragement. Knowing that this season will not lead to my demise, but the Father will continue to help me get through it, whilst He works behind the scenes – gives me hope.
He is faithful. Always faithful.
Stay blessed family!