ellegabrielle

Waiting and Loneliness

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Hello waiting world! ^_^ 

I don't know if the topic of loneliness has been discussed before but I personally felt the need to bring it up. Unevitably us being waiters also means that we have to face a lot of time being on our own. Even though this world is rich and diverse enough to not have time to be lonely, feelings like this slip inevitably. I am curious how you personally deal with this when it comes up and what is your to go solution in this situation. This has been on my mind even though I'm quite busy at the time and don't have too much alone/lonely time. Any ideas? Thanks! Curious for your responses.

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Hey @ellegabrielle,

When you say loneliness, I assume you mean in the context of desiring a spouse. You are right in that even when we try to distract ourselves with a busy life, we still feel lonely sometimes. The thing is, there is no way to completely avoid feeling lonely 100%. It simply cannot be done. But lately I have learned something that has changed my view on dealing with loneliness, which helped me have more of a sense of peace when dealing with it. I hope it helps you as well.

What I have learned is that feeling lonely is not an indication of our level of faith in God, or lack thereof. It is a natural emotion that God instilled in us as part of His beautiful design. But unfortunately, many churches these days seem to view loneliness as a sign of weak faith. At least that is the case in many churches in America, I don't know if it's the same in church culture in other countries. But I can't count how many times I've heard fellow brothers and sisters in Christ say something like "Oh you just don't have enough faith" or "Just draw closer to God and the feeling will go away." They say these things all because I simply expressed a desire for marriage! How ridiculous is that? I'm sure they are well meaning, but this sort of thing isn't helpful nor is it biblical. It's just a subtle way of shaming people for expressing a God-given desire. 

God designed us since the beginning to want companionship with another person. In Genesis 2, God says, "It isn't good for man to be alone, I will make a suitable partner for him." Clearly God knew that Adam, even in his sinless state before the Fall, needed a companion. So it is true today as it was back then. We were created to have relationships with one another. We also see Paul address this issue in 1 Corinthians 7. He says that it is better to remain single if we can help it, meaning those who are completely content being single. But for those who "cannot help it," he says he or she should marry. While this is addressing the issue of sexual desire, it is still part of the longing for companionship in marriage. Paul didn't say the solution to these desires is to draw closer to God, he says the solution is to get married! The desire for marriage doesn't go away based on our level of faith. It's ingrained into us by God Himself. Marriage is good and should be honored by all (Hebrews 13:4). There is nothing wrong with feeling lonely and wanting marriage. Therefore we should not let the church shame us into thinking we are spiritually lacking for doing so. The only way the desire for marriage is wrong is when it becomes so consuming of our attention that it becomes an idol. Other than that, loneliness isn't a sign of weakness but rather a good and natural sign of God's work in us. Once we allow ourselves to be free from the feeling of guilt, then it makes dealing with the loneliness just a little bit easier.

There is one last point I want to make.The church today seems to take on a fairy tale view of marriage in that God will bring us "the One" once we are fully content in Him. The Bible never says God has one specific "perfect" person for each of us, nor did he even promise us we will marry at all. As Paul eluded in 1 Corinthians 7, we are given freedom to marry or not marry. It is entirely our choice. It is not the overly spiritualized thing that we make it out to be. All the Bible says is what to look for in a spouse (2 Corinthians 6:14) in that we must marry another Christian and how to conduct a marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33). That's it. Beyond that, we are given freedom to choose whom we marry. We could end up marrying someone who isn't very compatible with us in terms of lifestyle, but as long as we follow God's guidelines, He will bless the marriage. That said, it's a good idea to exercise wisdom when choosing a spouse. Because once we make that choice, that choice is for life. So we might as well choose someone we are compatible with for the sake of harmony. But that doesn't mean you made the right or wrong choice. It's only "wrong" when both people do not choose to hold their marriage as holy in the eyes of God.

Sorry for the long rant. But I hope that answers your question :P 

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It wasn't a rant, thank you for sharing your viewpoint Vince! I agree with you in everything you said, especially liked the part when you said that this desire can become an idol and we should indeed be careful about that. Nothing in our lives or ourselves should take God's deserved first place. And if He is first, we shouldn't worry about the other things because He knows what we need (better than us) and will be faithful to give it to us because He loves us and wants our best. Thanks again and God bless you!

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I watch some shows (animated, lately). I am also busy right now but I sometimes broke down. I am not a very religious person and I do realize that as a helpless romantic and a highly sensitive person, I could only 'defer' the need for someone, not forget it. It is far more common to wait in our society; it is a conservative one: we still commonly have arranged marriages here. It is not the fact that I wait per se but the other important things in my life which make my partner difficult to find.

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On 10/4/2017 at 2:51 PM, ellegabrielle said:

Hello waiting world! ^_^ 

I don't know if the topic of loneliness has been discussed before but I personally felt the need to bring it up. Unevitably us being waiters also means that we have to face a lot of time being on our own. Even though this world is rich and diverse enough to not have time to be lonely, feelings like this slip inevitably. I am curious how you personally deal with this when it comes up and what is your to go solution in this situation. This has been on my mind even though I'm quite busy at the time and don't have too much alone/lonely time. Any ideas? Thanks! Curious for your responses.

Hello ! I totally understand the way you feel. I feel loneliness too, even though I have other things going on for me (graduate school application and graduation from college ) right now.  I am an introvert but I do like to be social every once in a while. I was in a toxic relationship and it ended about a year ago and since then I have had a strange type of feeling. Even though this person was not good for me, I do miss spending time with him and now that I have moved on, I do feel the emptiness and loneliness every once in a while so I totally get you! Especially when people around you are dating, you kind of feel out of place and lonely. In order to get over this loneliness honestly I try to involve myself in as many things as I can. I work out and I have joined a zumba class. I spend time with my roommates by watching a movie with them, going to church with them and cooking with them. I also watch a lot of tv and this might or might not be helpful. Watching tv helps me follow stories and  I really get into them to past my time.  I also treat myself when I get paid, shopping and following trends always helps me. I recently started working in a hospital setting and that has been going well for me. Recently I have gotten really into home decor so I have been decorating my living room with respect to season lol. You enter my apartment and you will notice that its all fall themed. I guess with all this time you have, my suggestion is that you focus on yourself and do things which bring you happiness even if they are little things.

Just know that there is a right person for you somewhere out there. And if God is willing, he will set you two together. The best things happen when you are not looking for them ! Many people are dating but trust me half the time they are settling for whatever is available and they are actually in not that good of a relationship. Hope this helps !

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On 08.10.2017 at 9:32 PM, mewaiting said:

I watch some shows (animated, lately). I am also busy right now but I sometimes broke down. I am not a very religious person and I do realize that as a helpless romantic and a highly sensitive person, I could only 'defer' the need for someone, not forget it. It is far more common to wait in our society; it is a conservative one: we still commonly have arranged marriages here. It is not the fact that I wait per se but the other important things in my life which make my partner difficult to find.

I understand... thank you for your feedback  @mewaiting. I hope someday soon you will meet that special person you are waiting for. :)

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On 13.10.2017 at 4:49 AM, Aparajita said:

Hello ! I totally understand the way you feel. I feel loneliness too, even though I have other things going on for me (graduate school application and graduation from college ) right now.  I am an introvert but I do like to be social every once in a while. I was in a toxic relationship and it ended about a year ago and since then I have had a strange type of feeling. Even though this person was not good for me, I do miss spending time with him and now that I have moved on, I do feel the emptiness and loneliness every once in a while so I totally get you! Especially when people around you are dating, you kind of feel out of place and lonely. In order to get over this loneliness honestly I try to involve myself in as many things as I can. I work out and I have joined a zumba class. I spend time with my roommates by watching a movie with them, going to church with them and cooking with them. I also watch a lot of tv and this might or might not be helpful. Watching tv helps me follow stories and  I really get into them to past my time.  I also treat myself when I get paid, shopping and following trends always helps me. I recently started working in a hospital setting and that has been going well for me. Recently I have gotten really into home decor so I have been decorating my living room with respect to season lol. You enter my apartment and you will notice that its all fall themed. I guess with all this time you have, my suggestion is that you focus on yourself and do things which bring you happiness even if they are little things.

Just know that there is a right person for you somewhere out there. And if God is willing, he will set you two together. The best things happen when you are not looking for them ! Many people are dating but trust me half the time they are settling for whatever is available and they are actually in not that good of a relationship. Hope this helps !

Hello! Thank you very much @Aparajita for your feedback. Our stories are somehow similar. I was also in a toxic relationship that ended a year ago and have been going through what you are describing. I'm also more on the introverted part although I'm as well a social person. I work right now and attending teaching courses and planning to continue my studies. So we have quite few in common. ^_^ I think I should start working out regularly and I do find my peace and am in my element when I am with friends from church. TV or serials are not my choice but I can understand and respect yours. Treating myself from time to time yes works for me too. I wish you all the best in your new work setting. Home decor is cool. I just moved recently and am thinking of aranging my room in a personal way... thank you very much for your encouragement! I'm sure the same for you. God bless you!

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It's a bit of a wierd cycle for me since a lot of the activities I do, watch animes, read manga, play games and go to concerts tend to be alone. I'm not in contact from really any of my friends from school or uni and the main time I interact with other people is when I go to convensions to cosplay (twice a year currently but I want to increase it) and see people there. I also work with my family and do church at home with my family so naturally, I am quite close with them. I think the aspect of loneliness would be much worse for me otherwise. 

I do tend to avoid romance media though to make the waiting easier since whenever I watch romance stuff, it just made it more irritating that I've been single all my life :P 

However, I will always choose being single over being in a bad relationship (hence why I haven't ever been in one). Another thing I do tend to do is to focus on God when I can although that does depend on my mood but realising that no matter what, he is always there is comforting. But again this tends to work for me since my friends have changed so much over the years that God is the only factor that has stayed constant in my life. 

I think though that loneliness is exasperated when you don't meet likeminded individuals that aren't your family. I do visit a church when my parents aren't in the country but they're still rather conservative in some of their views. Likewise the people at the cons that I connect with are too liberal with their views but I seem to have more in common with them with the difference of faith and other issues. I think if you have or an in an environment where you are surrounded by likeminded people, it makes it easier. Yes we can all turn to God but we need something physical, otherwise God would always be enough and we wouldn't have a desire to develop human relationships. 

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On 10/5/2017 at 1:57 AM, Invincible said:

The church today seems to take on a fairy tale view of marriage in that God will bring us "the One" once we are fully content in Him. The Bible never says God has one specific "perfect" person for each of us, nor did he even promise us we will marry at all. As Paul eluded in 1 Corinthians 7, we are given freedom to marry or not marry. It is entirely our choice. It is not the overly spiritualized thing that we make it out to be.

Thank you for saying this. A corollary to this point: when we* over-emphasize romantic fulfillment through marriage, we are often left with an impoverished view of friendship. This neglect harms both married people (who inevitably realize that a spouse cannot meet all one's relational needs) and single people (who may feel inferior for lack of romantic relationship). Married or not, most of our relationships will be probably be friendships, and I think sometimes we feel more lonely when we undervalue friendship.

*I'm thinking of the American evangelical church specifically, but the point may apply to broader American (maybe Western?) society as well.

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@Skylark For me it's not about undervaluing friendships but just the fact that none of mine are that deep. They are rather peripheral so it's provided me with the aspect that friendships are rather unless unless they are deep which really happens over time. I can see how they are useful but when they chop and change so much it's impossible to see them as such. 

As a result I value family very highly and friendship not so much since friends have no real obligation to stay unless it's out of the goodness of their heart. I recognise that a spouse won't meet all of my relational needs either and same with my family. At the end of the day no-one can so we have to learn to be content with ourselves if we will ever have a real shot at dealing with our loneliness that comes up every now and again. 

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@BlackRose

I don't mean to suggest that you or anyone else is responsible for his/her loneliness, so I apologize for my linguistic carelessness. If you'll permit me to rephrase, I think that our culture undervalues friendship (in contrast to marriage), which can make unmarried individuals feel more lonely or feel that they don't have "real relationships." You noted that: 

On 11/12/2017 at 6:29 AM, BlackRose said:

friends have no real obligation to stay unless it's out of the goodness of their heart.

That statement suggests to me a cultural belief that friendship does not involve commitment. That's the impoverished view of friendship that I was trying to describe. I wonder what would be different if we (again I'm speaking of my fellow Christians) devoted more time and thought to developing a robust theology and practice of friendship.

On 11/12/2017 at 6:29 AM, BlackRose said:

we have to learn to be content with ourselves if we will ever have a real shot at dealing with our loneliness that comes up every now and again. 

True true.

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On 11/17/2017 at 3:32 AM, Skylark said:

I think that our culture undervalues friendship (in contrast to marriage), which can make unmarried individuals feel more lonely or feel that they don't have "real relationships."

I agree and disagree. On one hand, yes our culture doesn't value friendships in the sense that the term can be thrown around so loosely. Most people that we call our friends are actually acquaintances. Not everyone is lucky to build those deep and meaningful friendships that we desire. Like myself for example, I've had to move schools a lot whereas my brother and sister haven't so much. As a result my friendships have been very short and when I try to reconnect with them they are very cold for some reason or another. These are not what you cal real relationships or friendships.  My brother and sister have been able to reconnect with old friends and maintain friendships for almost 10 + years. This is the main reason why for myself I don't see a high value on friendships but I can see the benefit for others. 

However with that in mind you would place a higher value on marriage regardless and the companionship that it brings. Hence why ideally for me I would want to be friends with someone before considering embarking on a relationship with that person. My past experiences with people have made me very cautious and slow to trust people. 

On the other hand I do agree with the fact that if people did value friendship more, there wouldn't be a pressure to get married. But marriage is one of the only places that you are guanteed that deep connection that you crave physically. There are other ways but for most people it's the easiest place. Of course there is God but he's clearly created within us a need to connect with others on this planet. Otherwise we wouldn't complain and have times of loneliness. 

On 11/17/2017 at 3:32 AM, Skylark said:

That statement suggests to me a cultural belief that friendship does not involve commitment. That's the impoverished view of friendship that I was trying to describe. I wonder what would be different if we (again I'm speaking of my fellow Christians) devoted more time and thought to developing a robust theology and practice of friendship.

Okay that makes a bit more sense. Unfortunately, I think it depends on the Christian circles that you're in. The Christian Union that I went to while I was at uni was very clicky and even at Churches people tend to form groups just like schools, uni etc. I actually don't think that this would change much at all. I think what needs to change is the way we use the word friendship which had been cheapened with the increase of things like Facebook (friends), Twitter (followers) and Youtube (subscribers). It makes people feel that you have a lot of friends/support when really you don't. This is a partial reason for the increase in loneliness today. But you only require one spouse. Since the value of friendship has diminished, the value of marriage has increased so to speak. This is why people emphasis on finding the one, your soulmate because anyone can claim to be a "friend" but only one can be your partner for life. Real and true friendships and relationships are very hard to find nowadays. Being a waiter doesn't make it easier in this day and age and when you are a virgin waiter, that makes it even more difficult to find people who's values align with your own. 

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I think trying to deal with loneliness by making yourself really busy/distracted is only a temporary solution and possibly a harmful one. Every now and then you are likely to snap back into the loneliness and possibly regret wasted time depending on what you distracted yourself with and whether you neglected opportunities for pursuing a spouse. As far as how to deal with it, I think @Invincible's post was great! One could add to that that marriage can (should) bring a person closer to God through personal development and the comparison of marriage to our relationship with God found throughout scripture. Marriage is quite possibly the greatest catalyst for personal growth out there. Certainly nothing wrong with desiring it deeply but the vulnerability that that need/desire creates isn't lauded in every circle...Also I think trying to direct that emotional energy into relationship progressing activities (e.g. personal relational development, pursuing someone) is the way to go.

 

On 11/17/2017 at 2:32 PM, Skylark said:

I wonder what would be different if we (again I'm speaking of my fellow Christians) devoted more time and thought to developing a robust theology and practice of friendship.

Any resources to recommend? 

 

On 11/18/2017 at 4:16 PM, BlackRose said:

I think what needs to change is the way we use the word friendship which had been cheapened with the increase of things like Facebook (friends), Twitter (followers) and Youtube (subscribers). It makes people feel that you have a lot of friends/support when really you don't. This is a partial reason for the increase in loneliness today. But you only require one spouse. Since the value of friendship has diminished, the value of marriage has increased so to speak. This is why people emphasis on finding the one, your soulmate because anyone can claim to be a "friend" but only one can be your partner for life. Real and true friendships and relationships are very hard to find nowadays. Being a waiter doesn't make it easier in this day and age and when you are a virgin waiter, that makes it even more difficult to find people who's values align with your own. 

Amen :) 

Here is one of my favourite loneliness songs for you all to enjoy :superwaiter:

 

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