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Can You Be Lonely Yet Happy?

Overcoming Loneliness for Christian Singles

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Lonely

Lonely

Photo: Annabelle Breakey / Getty Images

As single people, we often put conditions on our happiness.

We say, "When I get married, then I'll be happy" or "When I have children, then I'll be happy," or "When I have a nice family, a comfortable home, and a fulfilling, high-paying job, then I'll be happy."

We make the absence of loneliness one of the conditions of our happiness too. We assume that we can't be happy until everything is perfect in our life, which means no more loneliness.

But there's a danger for single people when we put conditions on our happiness. We slip into the trap of postponing our life.

The Ugly Truth About Loneliness

Marriage doesn't guarantee an end to loneliness. Millions of married people are lonely too, still looking for a level of understanding and acceptance their spouse doesn't give them.

The ugly truth is that loneliness is an inescapable part of the human condition, as even Jesus found out. He was the most well-adjusted person who ever lived, yet he knew times of deep loneliness too.

If you accept the truth that loneliness is unavoidable, what can you do about it?

I think you can decide how big a role you're willing to let loneliness play in your life. You can refuse to let it dominate your existence. That's a daring approach. If you take a stand that bold, you'll only be able to achieve it if you rely on the Holy Spirit for help.

None of us turns to the Holy Spirit as often as we should. We forget that he's the real presence of Christ on earth, living within us to give encouragement and guidance.

When you invite the Holy Spirit to supervise your attitude, you can become a happy person who knows occasional times of loneliness, instead of a lonely person who knows occasional times of happiness. That's not a play on words. It's a real, achievable goal.

Seeing What's at Stake

To be dominated by happiness instead of loneliness, you have to admit that the calendar is turning on you. You have to see that every day spent feeling lonely and miserable is a day you can never get back.

I wish I had understood that in my 20s and 30s. Now, as I head toward 60, I realize that every moment is precious. Once they're gone, they're gone. You can't allow Satan to steal them from you through the temptation of loneliness.

Loneliness is a temptation and not a sin, but when you give in to it and pay it undue attention, you're giving loneliness too much control.

One way to keep loneliness in check is to refuse to label yourself as a victim. When you interpret every adversity as a personal insult toward you, your pessimistic outlook becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, recognize that bad things happen to everybody, but you make the choice whether you'll become bitter over them.

Are We Praying for the Wrong Thing?

As I look back on my own life, I see now that I spent many years praying for the wrong thing. Instead of praying for a spouse and a happy marriage, I should have been asking God for courage. That's what I needed. That's what all singles need.

We need courage to overcome our fear of rejection. We need courage to reach out to other people. And most importantly, we need courage to recognize that we do have the choice to assign loneliness to a minor, infrequent role in our life.

Today, I'm a happy person who knows occasional times of loneliness. Loneliness doesn't rule my life as it once did. I wish I could take credit for this turnaround, but the heavy lifting was done by the Holy Spirit.

Our happiness and confidence are directly proportional to the degree that we singles surrender our life to God. When you do that, you can know joy and contentment, limiting loneliness to the insignificant role it deserves.

More from Jack Zavada for Christian Singles:

Loneliness: Toothache of the Soul
An Open Letter to Christian Women
The Christian Response to Disappointment
3 Reasons to Avoid Bitterness
Lying on God's Couch

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.

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