About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Thanks for your article, it has inspired me…… Have you battled with loneliness lately?……. a question close to my heart. Thanks for your prayers too.

  2. there is a song by Michael Buble that says:
    May be surrounded by
    A million people I
    Still feel all alone
    I just wanna go home”
    I feel like that, I am surrounded on a daily basis by people, yet I feel lonely. I have cried before God in my loneliness, but the void still feels so real even though I know He should fill it.
    I feel guilty to feel lonely especially since I have so many good friends.
    The loneliness I feel is triggered by the fact that I do not think they really know me and so I am in my loneliness due to a wall I have built up that cause people to think I am perfect en confident and don’t need encouragement or love … which is far from the truth. I need it just as much as the person next to me.
    there are a lot of cause why I feel like that but knowing the causes doesnt help me counter the feelings.
    I am me, and I am alone.

    • You see I cry because I”m on the opposite end. I pour my heart out to friends and open up the deep crevices of my life only to find regret later. That maybe I am too open. Maybe if I would not be so transparent I would be happier. Because friends are rarely as open to me. And then I feel unmatched. And they tend to be the ones I see as not getting hurt by relationships. Because they are more cautious. I on the other hand talk way too much and share probably more than I should and I feel empty because the rest of the world is happy just talking about the weather, yet I can’t seem to keep my insides to myself. Does that make sense?

      • And that is why this blogging thing hits my heart so deep. This is where most do share the deep crevices of life. This is where it seems to be more safe. And yet, I need that in my real life too. I need those giggly moments with a friend who’s like a sister. My soul needs that. But I must remember there is no one perfect friend, and not to put all my eggs in someone else’s basket or I’ll wear them out. That is what God is for! I do have a few friends I get to see the glimpses of the deep. For those I am thankful. Lord help me to remember to put all my eggs in your basket!

        • I needed this post today! These feelings come and go for me, and this week I have had lots of feelings of loneliness! I have realized that is something I just will deal with and go to the Lord about. Stephanie I feel like you are writing my thoughts. It is so nice to hear that someone is like me!! So really we are not alone… I just think there are introverts who really like to dig deep…that would be you and me. I find it to be a gift most days, but it can be hard at times. I am starting to learn that there are few that I can really go to with my inner most thoughts, but I can always go to my Lord. Im really really glad you shared today so I could read your thoughts!:) It made me feel better!

        • Steph…oh my word, you are echoing my secret thoughts right now!! I had amazing friends and then we moved and I have battled some of the biggest changes in my life (menopause at 35, losing my mom at 38, my husband’s major back surgery) and have never felt more alone. And yet the problem isn’t me asking for help or sharing my pain but that I feel like I verbally vomit all over everyone. I want so badly to be real and have real friendships that I am afraid I come off as needy and immature. I am really just trying to be real not crazy.
          I just started a blog and it is uber-intimatdating as I look at all these other blogs that are amazing – visually beautiful and the writing is pure and profound. I still keep my eyes on God and am grateful for His gentle love that will grow and mature me. But, yes, you are not alone…I totally get you girlfriend!!

          • mrsbooker,
            I just replied to you and it disappeared so forgive me if you see this twice. I just moved 10 hours away from everyone I know and love. I am also in menopause at 34 and nobody understands what I am going through. I would love to talk more about it with you since none of my friends can relate. My email is jenndana@yahoo.com

      • Steph – no, I am right there with you. Even though I am an extrovert, I don’t do “superficial.” Superficial feeds that lonely feeling, and I would be with you in the tendency that I want to share my heart. I love dissecting world view issues, financial issues, heart and soul issues….a variety of things, but I realize that most people aren’t comfortable going as deep as I do, or then I might share and think they are just rolling their eyes, so don’t worry….it makes total sense and for you and I, who are introspective, we figure out how to celebrate the way the Lord made us and find those few people who enjoy going deep like we do.

        • I am very extroverted but very deep and I don’t do ‘superficial’ very well. I probably share too much when I first meet people because I just want to cut through the fluff and figure out what they are about. I just started blogging myself and have been going through some depression. I am not sure if the computer helps me or hurts me. Right now I struggle with the whole natural living and feeling like I could never live up to what all these other moms are doing (not to mention my husband is not on board with any of it.) I really struggle with an ‘all or nothing’ personality. It has been my weakness for many years. Thank you for this post today!

        • Jen what you said resignated with me because I too feel like I AM COMPLETELY alone and don’t understand why God would allow me to feel lonliness to this severity!!! People (not trying to be judgmental) seem to be so one dimensional only speaking on everyday mundane things that is just so superficial to me. Not to say that every conversation I partake in has to me spilling out my guts, (so to speak) but I’t needs to be with someone that I can see, feel, talk to, enjoy things with, just live life no just existing…….Even though I asked the Lord into my life over a decade ago it seems like my life has been on attack and I’m tired…maybe I said to much….

  3. We all struggle with this feeling of loneliness. Every one of us.

    (in)courage built this community. And because all of us struggle with knowing our place–being confident in who we are–in this world of Different, this community resonated with many; Sarah, included. We all came, together.

    I don’t think Sarah would want us to feel any less about ourselves or our challenging pains of life, or to compare ourselves with her lonely days. I think she’d want us to share. I think that’s why she stayed connected–to feel as though our life has value, too. She touched lives because she never minimized their importance.

    In the *whirl and twirl* of life, it can be easy to suddenly feel lonely, yet it’s a gift to be thrust into stepping back and receiving a community who affirms our uniqueness.

    Rich blessings, Jennifer, as you continue to touch hearts by your life sharing.

    • Exactly, you have summed up Sarah so well.

      And I love the verbage, “the whirl and twirl,” so fitting for us little girls caged inside our grown up bodies (always still wanting to twirl like those princess we pretended to be when we were younger.)

  4. I couldn’t agree more. While I love reading other blogs….it can be a terrible influence in my life. I’ve found myself feeling jealous or coveting someone else’s blessings.
    Good reminder for me, today! Thank you.

  5. I don’t feel the ache of loneliness but there are days I call five or six people to find someone at home to chat with me. I long for a friend to have a little time.

    I have plenty of projects to fill my day. And so mostly I do quite well. The Savior is becoming a closer Companion…Someone i’ve needed to become more near to for a while.

    I’ll be praying for you. Thank you for your prayer.

  6. Thank you Jen for this beautifully honest post. I want to give you a big hug and tell you I understand. Your shedding light on this topic gives us the opportunity to open up about it and know that many many others struggle in this area. — This void to be understood, accepted, messy emotions and houses and all! : ) Thanks again!

  7. Hi Jen..Sometimes amidst our busy life, our daily toil and concerns, we unknowingly find ourselves feeling lonely and sad. I, too, on several occasions experienced this same feeling even when i am loaded with so much work in the office, at home and church activities. I read the cause as being too overwhelmed with the things I want to do, “overcommitment” as you put it, or it might be mood swings caused by some hormonal problems or PMS.
    It is during these times that I pray and recall what the Lord said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Even Jesus, during His public life, took time out from His busy schedules to pray and be alone with His Father….
    Thank you so much for sharing this post Jen. I love reading the articles in this blog, spirit-filled and very inspiring…may the Lord bless all of you and your work…

  8. Hi Jen..Sometimes amidst our busy life, our daily toil and concerns, we unknowingly find ourselves feeling lonely and sad. I, too, on several occasions experienced this same feeling even when i am loaded with so much work in the office, at home and church activities. I read the cause as being too overwhelmed with the things I want to do, “overcommitment” as you put it, or it might be mood swings caused by some hormonal problems or PMS.
    It is during these times that I pray and recall what the Lord said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Even Jesus, during His public life, took time out from His busy schedules to pray and be alone with His Father….
    Thank you so much for sharing this post Jen. I love reading the articles in this blog, spirit-filled and very inspiring…may the Lord bless all of you and your work…

  9. I love this in 1,000 different ways.
    Surrounded, yes.
    Lonely, yes.

    I think it may be His way of saying, “You were made for Me”. I think it is His way to draw us away. Lately, I have felt that deep within my heart. Him calling me to a lonely place with Him. Not to say, not with our around others at all, but to a deeper, richer place of communion with Him. I am still figuring that out. My hunch is, it begins with worship.

    • I had become solely dependent on online friendships filling the void of a church family. God created loneliness in me so I would obey and find that connection in real life in a local church. And we did through a house church.

  10. This really hit home. Moving was harder than I thought. Love your website. I know God will send people (friends) my way. Recently joined a bible study & there are some wonderful women.
    Thank you.

  11. I speechless! In a short couple of paragraphs you have voiced the silent whispers of my heart for these past couple of months! As a busy mum, wife, friend and pastor, my days are filled with people that I adore and cherish community with and yet lately something has been itching at my heart and spirit. I too have struggled to place clarity as to where these feelings come from and tonight on the breath of the Holy Spirit and through the honesty of your words, I feel a peace and clarity! Thank you for speaking life to me this night! Much love and blessings xo

  12. “Spending portions of time on-line each day opens up a mind field for Satan’s attacks, and unless I ward those off immediately, it’s a slippery slope of sinful thinking that permeates my thoughts….Even though I have met some of my closest friends on-line, I determined the need to stop reading other blogs for a season because those areas attacking closest hit through on-line venues, not in real life.”

    YES! Satan uses this most beautiful online community to attack me. I have to keep it in check. I had my husband change my FB password so I was only on it occasionally. It had consumed me. My enjoy blogs so much and do learn more from them than being on FB. But I miss my Due Date Club friends I met in a chat forum when I was pregnant. They carried me through a tough pregnancy and we have formed such a bond. There are seasons of life. I’m learning to accept I had to let go of missing out on stuff from FB (local friends and DDC), hearing of moves, pregnancies, hardships, joys. Because the pain it was causing my heart to see all the division of “this is what I do and this is why it’s right” And feeling I had to stand on my soap box when God is leading me to focus on Love, respect of lifestyle choices and Romans 14. Anyway a long story short. I know I must balance my online time, so my heart and my mothering don’t suffer. It isn’t easy because I love this community but it is necessary. And believe me I fail more than I succeed. 🙁

  13. Yes I do battle with loneliness. I have no “close” friends, just acquaintances. In the last 2 years I have been through a separation from my husband (his choice), finding out about his affair, an affair of my own recently, and yet no one to talk to. Raising 2 children on my own has been very hard. I would truly appreciate your prayers.

    • Praying for you. May God surround you with His love, peace & comfort as you deal with all these trials & tribulations!


      Beth Williams

  14. Being busy and being surrounded by people does not necessarily mean you are “connecting” – we all have that deep need to sit down at a table and, over a hot cup of coffee, share our soul with a good friend. To laugh together, cry together and sometimes just vent. I. too, struggle with loneliness and I know it is because, though I have a lot of contact with people, I am not finding (or making) time to truly connect with others hearts.

  15. Oh my!! I stumbled upon the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam site quite by accident when searching for good coupon deals. I had no idea I would find Christian ladies with sincere hearts sharing personal problems that I struggle with myself. I first noticed scripture at the top of this site and felt my heart being uplifted. I felt like God sent me to this site for a reason. We have such a wonderful savior who can turn my quest for getting a good deal at the supermarket into a wonderful blessing!!! 🙂

  16. Jen, yes I’ve battled loneliness. I have one child away at college and one still at home. It’s quiet here, oh so quiet. In some respects I love quiet, but in this context I’m feeling lonely a lot. Life is in a transition period for me, uncharted territory, and learning how to live it is a lot more complicated than I thought.

    I, too, had to stop reading blogs for a while and to be flat honest I felt lonely when I saw all of you incourage girls having such a great time at the beach. I long for a group of friends like that, but for whatever reason I’m having a hard time fitting in to any group at this particular stage of life.

    Anyway, I can identify with much of what you said.

  17. This week I’ve been angry and lonely. Part of it is the bipolar, I’m sure. The other part is I always seem to be the odd girl out, the one that people forget to invite to seminary hang outs. The one no one thinks of who might want to join in on a prayer group. Plus I just don’t have any girlfriends right now that I can just have over for one on one time.

  18. I sometimes feel lonely at work, of all places. I feel disjointed & perhaps unappreciated, like a fifth wheel. The problem is that now we have 3 nurses who each work with a practitioner, I am only a CMA(certified Medical Assistant). I have been “downgraded” from being main triage person to mostly doing medical records and odd jobs.

    I do understand the feeling of lonliness – we as women need to make an effort to befriend other women any where and any time we can.

  19. I know I joined this for ideas about saving money but I am disturbed by mention of Satan and such. Not that I don’t there is evil in the world; I do. But I sincerely don’t believe in Satan attacking you from the blogosphere. Everything has a downside but these things do not personally attack you. And Shine, I urge you to reconnect with friends. There is nothing wrong with staying in touch! I will leave you ladies to it and unsubscribe. Good luck.

    • Jan – I am sorry to see you go. While my blog primarily consists of money saving, family focused ideas, the reason I write is to encourage women because of my relationship with the Lord.

      I can understand if you are newer to this site, the concept of Satan would come across a bit odd. In no way do I mean, Satan physically attacking or something with a movie type of leaning, but while emotions are part of our human make up and very typical, I do believe that guarding our hearts and minds is key.
      I do believe in scripture as the inspired Word of God, and it encourages us to hold those thoughts captive.

      I choose to get off that road of thinking things that are not true about myself…the Lies that Satan whispers to women in the form of core identity issues.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts though. We are a place here at (in)courage that welcomes all views, yours included.


  20. I love this post for it’s raw honesty.
    I am the blogger / fb sometimes girl who is always questioning every thing I post (exhaustively at times) because I don’t want to appear or be prideful or like I have it all “figured out” in this mist of a life.
    I saw Beth Moore one time and she remarked how her daughter told her to purchase a new bible because the other was so worn and marked. She told her mom maybe pride was at issue. Everyone will “see” how much Ive read this. .etc. .
    It resonated. I know that it is a huge responsibility to be the fingers that tap online in a prayer to encourage others in Christ.
    The weight and exhaustion of deciding what is prideful has led me to online fasts as well.
    What are the answers?
    A lot of prayer. Courage and strength from Him to know when and what to say and type.
    I wrestle with my place. To know that I am never adding to envy or bragging about anything but Christ.
    But it is hard so hard.
    I hate the idea of leaving the Internet because God uses warriors everywhere. The Internet is full of the enemy. . Places like encourage are the light in the darkness.
    Romans 8:28 is here too. All things.
    Praying to know His will.
    Thanks Jen!

  21. This is so timely. I too, have been struggling with loneliness, even though I have 2 roommates, a nosy and loving family, and a wonderful church home and friends, but I know that my loneliness stems from a lie – that I’m alone on my journey and that no one cares what God is doing in my life. Such pride, too! yikes! I have so many transitions and changes about to happen and I’m in preparartion for all of this but I feel like no one cares -isolated. But even if it feels like that, it’s not true. I am so blessed and I have have forgotten that He is enough! Thank you fro this post and encouragement. Much love.

  22. Yep, I can tell when I reading too many or too much of blogs! Or facebook. It’s probably time for me to take another break. Except I still will check the weather and get recipes from Pioneer Woman so we can eat!

  23. Oh, Jen…you are a God-send today! Just last night I sat in a group of women for Bible study feeling a deep and gripping loneliness. I don’t have the answers yet as to what is feeding this feeling, but I have begun to ask the questions of the Lord. One thing I know I need is a church home. I haven’t had one since we moved nearly four years ago. It is time to build relationships where we are now…I just don’t know how to begin. Please pray for me, and I will be praying for you. I visit your blog nearly every day and always find encouragement there. (I even shopped at Goodwill this week! 😉

  24. Loneliness has been my battle lately as well. I’m lonely, and yet, I’m quick to pull away from friends, which isn’t me. It’s a weird place. Thanks for sharing!

    • I relate to this very much. Loneliness is one of the only things that keeps me company. Ive pulled away from most of my friends because of how poorly I feel about not being able to do, what they are doing. I can’t believe that I never realized how much energy nurturing friendships entails.
      As much as Im starting to tire of loneliness’ company, I have the hardest time reaching out.
      It is indeed a weird place.

  25. Chronic Insecurity (guilty!) often equals commonly feeling lonely, isolated and abandoned. So absolutely I understand the feeling of loneliness. If I’m honest, last night was one of those nights I was feeling completely lonely.

  26. I’ve been struggling with loneliness for a while now. There has been A LOT of change for those around me – and it, of course, affects me, too. Even when I am with my friends, I feel lonely. In the past, I’ve never had a problem with being alone. I was ok with it. But, now, it is hard. Marriage and babies is great. I love it all. It just hasn’t been happening for me. I find that it has been hard for me to reach out to my friends because I know husband and children come right after God in their lives. I know for some of them, getting time to spend with their husbands and babies is precious so I don’t want to “intrude”. My single girl friends are few and unfortunately don’t live close. So, lonely has become the friend I didn’t want and fought not to have. I’m still fighting.

  27. This post describes so much of how I often feel.

    Today I had lots of emails and was tempted to skip over the (in)courage email. But I’m so glad I didn’t because I read this and it encouraged my heart so much . Thank you.

  28. Just last night, I was on twitter. Conversations flowed all around me, yet I was not a part of a single one. 135 followers, following 182, and there are only about 3 people in which I somewhat regularly have a real interaction with. Oh, I might get a retweet now and then, or a quick reply to something, but no conversation, nothing beyond that one mention. I thought to myself, what am I doing here? It’s pointless. All these conversations flowing and I’m on the sidelines watching. Watching for what? So I can feel bad about myself because I’m not a part of it? I almost deleted my account right then, but decided to think it over. And the more I think about it, the more I think that I DO need to get out of those conversations. I won’t quit twitter, but I will be changing things to make my twitter stream worth looking at.

  29. I sat in a room today at a women’s group that I had chosen to go to because I know I need to ‘connect’ in a season of getting my feet up and under me again and after friends have moved away and things at our church have crumbled. I sat there and looked around and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t connect. I sat there feeling like the ugly duckling and trying to figure out how I could easily and lightly chat like everyone else seemed to. I am another who would rather dive into the deep than small talk.

    I’m so thankful for this post today, and these comments, and for reminders coming from God in different ways that He has Fearfully and Wonderfully made ME just the way that I am.

  30. Jen ~ I believe that any emotion you feel is real and is worth feeling. You are brave for sharing your loneliness with us and I hope that you are able to walk through this time having gained something from it. You are an amazing woman and I am thankful for the inspiration that you share with us every day. I hope you’re able to see all of the great things in yourself that others are able to see in real life and online.

  31. I love that post, Jen…I read all the blogs, too! some very inspiring! but I wrote this on FB today after reading a few blogs that I like, but sometimes make me pursue things that I don’t think are “A REAL, JESUS FOCUSED LIFE”….
    “I love reading the various blogs on line…but sometimes, I wonder…in our pursuit for the “simple”, “frugal”, “homespun”, “beautiful”, “peaceful” lifestyle, do we forget that we need to be living the “Jesus” lifestyle… I wonder if we want to insulate ourselves from that? because I’ve find his lifestyle, is “complicated”, “messy”, and not always “peaceful”…we are forced to look at the Hard, the Ugly, the Poor… I believe our homes must not be havens for the outside world…they need to be inviting places for meeting the Lord (just a thought…I still love those blogs…but,I often find myself pursuing things that don’t come from God’s Word)….”

    • Whoa! That was what I was thinking as I pondered Jen’s post. I love to write and it is a release for me in many ways—to get my thoughts out. But I am wondering why the blog? Could spending time on it, working to write be a diversion from doing what I am really called to do. The things that are harder than blogging–like living in this messy world with messy people who need to hear my stories from my mouth and have my arms around their shoulders, my hand to lift them when they stumble.

      Writing a blog is hard. I hardly know how to get mine to publish and it looks awful. I don’t know how to make mine pretty like the rest. If I mess with it I might lose everything. And what if anyone where to “follow” my blog, it pulled them into loneliness! That is the last thing I would want to do!!

      As for Gitz, I am so happy she had her blog. It brought us joy and hope. I am only guessing, but from heaven’s perspective maybe she would tell us to “live” out in the world because what we do here matters and if we are capable, we need to use more than this medium. She used what God gave her and, oh how His blessing was upon it.

      Somehow, I have convinced myself that reading and writing blogs is moving me somewhere that it obviously is not. I would say that for others it is absolutely their calling by God. If it is, they should do it—and to His glory. That’s the tricky part–the why behind it all. The internet would be the darkest dark if Christians pulled out completely.

      Pulling out the yellow pads today as I await my mother’s diagnosis from the MRI yesterday. It is 68 degrees outside, sun shining. I need to go live.

  32. In every personality test I’ve ever taken, I land smack in the middle of introvert and extrovert. More often than not, the result is that I feel lonely everywhere – in a crowd or by myself. Not all the time! I’m just saying it happens, for me, in every kind of situation. But I agree with you that it’s almost always a choice (at least for me), so I reach out, I open up and I try again to close the gap between my heart and others. There’s no guarantee that if we build it, they will come – but our chances are a whole lot better than if we don’t try in the first place! Great post, Jen. Thank you.

  33. We are in the process of transition from a foreign field to a stateside ministry so I was excited to be able to get online all the time or so I thought. God has placed us for the time being in apartment down a long country lane in a metal building and you guessed it.. the internet and cell phone service is almost none. So I am writing this from the library. When I do get on I first check emails, then fb then in courage, in that order. Emails are how we do a lot of our ministry communication , fb is just, well I am not sure I have figured out what fb does for me or anyone else yet. But now in courage I can say without a doubt has the power you just posted about. I know it has caused me more often then I care to admit to check FIRST to see if any one has posted any comments on something I have posted on the Community. Then to see if the poster wrote a rely to my post to their post. Lots of pride in all those words…loneliness too. Am I trying to reach out for me or to help someone else?

    We have been in the states since Sept 4th and have constant contact with tons of friends but I don’t think I have shared what I am deeply concerned about for our life except maybe on a post on encourage on “fear”. I did feel a sense of freedom after I posted…somehow just naming the fears even if no one read my blog helped me. I have tried to talk about them face to face with a couple friends and I must say I don’t think they were listening deeply to me. I am so grateful I do have the one deep relationship that will always listen no matter what country I am in…He cares like no other, He listens like no other, He understand loneliness, fear and all over emotions like no other, these truths have and will continue to keep me from staying in the pit no matter whether I fb, blog, read in courage, He never needs a power source to plug into my heart, He is the power source. Great post, thought provoking.

    • I can’t even imagine the transition that you must be in right now. I know from friends who have been where you are that it’s so pronounced because people just can’t relate to such a change in lifestyle, but HE does!
      And you are so right, HE is that power source, one which I continually to need to turn to to recharge.

  34. It is amazing that you were able to express the feelings of so many of us. Is this loneliness the result of the internet or our times or our hormones or God’s way of making us focus on Him? Who knows – but it is nice to see others feel the way I do sometimes. I thought it was because I am no longer in the workplace. There are two ways I deal with my feelings. One is to know that this is not the world I am longing for… and that is the main reason I don’t “fit in”. The other way I deal with it is to do something for someone else. I highly suggest this, especially any time you are sinking really low no matter what life stage you are in (I currently am trying to inspire my mother who is 88 years old!). Find some way to cheer someone else up. I guarantee it will life your spirits, too. An example is this last Valentine’s Day when I was down because I did not receive the perceived “love messages” I desired from my family. I know that Valentine’s Day is an advertiser’s dream and not everyone should expect a Hallmark moment, but still, I wanted to at least be acknowledged. Then I began thinking of who else would want to feel acknowledged on this day and decided to do something for the women in our Safe Home Agency ( for abused women). I called and found out how many were there that day and it was eight. So I made 8 “beauty” bags with makeup samples, perfume samples,and other small treasures that I had found around the house. I wrapped them up in some netting and tied with a pretty bow. I stamped a cute card and wrote: “God loves you and so do I “. It took me all morning and by the time I delivered them, I felt ten times better. The staff was delighted when I walked in with those small gifts. You don’t have to spend $$ – you can just pick up the phone and call someone who needs an uplifting hello. Or you can write that cashier a quick note and thank them for being so nice when you use all your coupons. Thinking of others helps you to refocus. Each night I also write down five things I am thankful for this day. It shows me that there is always something good in each and every day which helps me to get over the humps and bumps along the way.

  35. Amen. I am sorry to hear of your pain, but truly know that God is already using your transparency to bless so many … Look at all these affirming answers that say “me too, I’ve been there.”

    I ache with loneliness at times even though I am well-liked and have a full life. I think the fullness sometimes is what makes us ache in some weird way because we are full of some of the wrong things or to put it differently our outside life is more full than the inner life at times. My loneliness (though it will be a normal part of life on earth) is a clue to me that I need to slow down and (surprisingly) spend time alone in a more focused and God-centered way (of course that isn’t REALLY alone, is it?). I need to let myself cry to Him (tears, real tears) and soak in His Word and His presence and be filled.

    He said, “Be still and know I am God” but my favorite translation of that is “Cease Striving and know that I am God” (maybe more accurate of the Hebrew) … Cease striving. Sometimes my inner life is full of striving and striving creates a void that lives itself out as loneliness. Thinking I have to measure up and be perfect, I fall and I feel alone. Giving myself grace eases that kind of loneliness.

    I agree that the cyber-world of blogging, though it unites and connects us in one way, leaves us hungering for real connection in another. Your pursuit of balance can be a blessing — balance real world (face to face) connection with internet relationships. I love the fact that you are wise enough to see your own need to back off of reading blogs for a while. I think that is so healthy and will serve you in this season.

    Jesus was lonely at times. He pleaded with His friends to be there for Him in His times of need and they just couldn’t do it. He is still our High Priest Who sympathizes. He loves you where you are and in some ways chose to walk a road that included Him experiencing loneliness so that He could relate to our experiences and be sympathetic. Does it get more lonely than going to the cross? He understands and is present (though I surely know what it is like to feel like you pray and just hear crickets).

    Sometimes my misguided desires lead me to loneliness (like wishing a person would fill the void that only He can fill). When I redirect my needs to Jesus, I am satisfied. Not always in an immediate way, but in His time and even the waiting is bittersweet because He has a purpose in it.

    But, then again, there is nothing wrong with reaching out in your real circle of friends and saying, “I’m lonely.” It’s a risk — way riskier than saying it here on the screen — but it is one worth taking.

    Thanks again for being so honest and sharing the real struggles you are facing. THIS is why I love (in)courage. I am so grateful for the truth-speaking that is a part of the culture here. I know God will move me to pray for you. I’m guessing that by the time I do you will already be feeling filled 🙂