Zoom, Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, emails, and so much more. The 21st Century is a time where we are more connected than ever. Why then is loneliness a growing problem?
Loneliness is defined as “the state of being alone and feeling sad about it” (vocabulary.com).
The Australian Psychological Society, in collaboration with Swinburne University, conducted a study of loneliness in Australia. They found that one in four Australians feels lonely.
We might think that loneliness hits our elderly the hardest, but our young adults were the group who scored the highest in feeling lonely. Feeling lonely has a significant impact on our physical and mental health. Australians who feel lonely are 15.2% more likely to be depressed and 13.1% more likely to be anxious about social interaction anxiety, less social interaction, poorer psychological well-being, and poorer quality of life.
Stranger danger, busy lives, high demands, and high fences have all contributed to us shutting ourselves out of society and shutting ourselves into our homes.
That was never what God intended for us. As early as Genesis 2:18, God saw that Adam was alone, and He created Eve to keep him company. We also see in the Psalms how David cried out to God in loneliness, and Jesus Himself identified with us in our loneliness in Matthew 27:46 when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”.
God made us in His image, and one of His characteristics is to be in relationship. He wants to be in relationship with us, and He created us to be in relationship with others.
We can’t ignore the problem at hand, and we can’t ignore God’s plan and design for us either.
Loneliness is a real problem, and God wants us to be in relationship and in community with others.
Community doesn’t just happen; it needs to be intentional. We need to connect in real life. Intentions, body language, and feelings can be misinterpreted in written communication, so let’s get back to old school face-to-face communication.
Look for common connections and talk to strangers. It might be scary at first, but I can almost guarantee satisfaction and enjoyment.
Invite people into your home, and get out there!