How my relationship with Jesus got rid of my loneliness
A devotional by Jessica Brodie
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”—1 John 4:7 (NIV)
Friendship was always a huge struggle for me. I was shy, I moved around a lot, I was a little socially awkward, and I had issues going on in my family that created a ton of turmoil within me—perhaps these are many of the reasons.
Still, it left me lonely. I never had that one “best friend,” and while I would make friends, I never had a close inner circle. As I became an adult, I’d hear about other women getting together to go shopping or grab lunch or do a girls’ weekend together, and a pang of envy would stab in my heart. What’s “wrong” with me? Why aren’t I likable?
Friendship always seemed out of reach for me. I felt so deeply isolated—on an island of my own. I was certain I was the only one going through this because everyone else I knew at least had a single friend or two. But me? Nope. I’d start to make friendships but never got past what felt like an invisible wall that blocked me from real depth. My best friends were in the pages of books I’d read.
Over the years, life happened. I had children. My relationship with the Lord deepened and grew.
And one day I looked up and realized I wasn’t lonely anymore.
Wait—what? I still didn’t have close female friends. On the surface, life hadn’t changed very much. What was the difference?
Jesus. That was the difference. It wasn’t that I didn’t know Jesus before. I believed wholeheartedly. But along the lines, belief became relationship, which is quite different. And now, because I had a relationship with Jesus, somehow I didn’t feel lonely anymore. I felt complete.
It’s like before, I was always wanting to be a closed and perfect circle, fully connected, spinning round and around, but somehow there was a little opening, an open wound, in my circle, and all that love was spilling out like water from a hose. That’s why I never felt complete.
I didn’t realize it, but I think I’d been looking for my “other half” my whole life, that I firmly believed there was another person out there who would complete me, whether in a love relationships or a friendship—like that Jerry Maguire movie (“You complete me”).
But Jesus closed that hole, mended that gash, and with that my soul felt right. Jesus completed me.
With this realization came another, more painful one: how much of my energy had been going into myself. Ouch!
When I became centered on my Lord, I stopped being self-centered. With that, not only did I feel a million times better, but something magical happened: I began to attract friends like bees to honey!
You know that old saying, “To make a friend you’ve got to be a friend?” I used to think that meant acts of service or giving up all my time, but those can be superficial. What I’ve realized is that being a friend means giving yourself in love—full-on, sacrificial love.
Just like Jesus loved us.
Love means sacrifice. It means living out the greatest commandments, which Jesus told us are to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). Or, as I saw condensed on a T-shirt a few years ago: God first, others second, self last.
That was an impossible task before I had a true and deep relationship with Jesus, but somehow from that deep relationship with Jesus, everything else miraculously fell into place.
Because of that relationship with Jesus I knew how to love. I could love friends. I could love my children. I could love my husband. Fully and completely.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:10-13 that he had learned the secret to true contentment: that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength. I’ve learned the same. My relationship with Christ is the only thing that gave me the inner strength to overcome my loneliness.
And when his light shines into that lonely darkness, it obliterates the darkness.
Today, I’m not lonely in the least. Whether I’m in a crowd or I’m by myself, it is well with my soul.
Jesus is love. Because I now have that love in my heart I’m no longer lonely, and now I can love others back, too, the right way. The Jesus way.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden.
She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team.
Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.