ALONE in a Crowded Room

A few weeks ago in the middle of discussing a completely different topic with the youth group we somehow ended up getting sidetracked onto the topic of feeling lonely. We’re not talking necessarily about being lonely because of being single, though it’s not excluded. This is the peculiar type of alone we feel even in a crowd. Sometimes it’s even more pronounced in a crowd. It’s not something I had planned on doing a series on, but as I listened to what they had to say, watched the heads nod, and saw the pain in a few sets of eyes I realized this is something that needs to be addressed. We have spent several meetings now talking about this, and I intend to open the doors here for discussion and thought.

The first place we looked was at Psalm 22, which gives some insight into two of the people in the Bible who I feel must have felt the most alone at times. David spend great amounts of time on the run, possibly without another human to share his pain with. Jesus had no peer on the same level spiritually; I can’t imagine how alone He must have felt sometimes. Yes, I know that Christians have probably told you before something along the lines of, “you shouldn’t feel lonely” or “God is always there.” Maybe the first one is true; the second one is. Those words didn’t make you feel much better though did they? Even though we know He’s there, we need humans too. God didn’t design us to only have deep relationships with Him. Look in the New Testament at how the Church fellowshipped and was instructed to do so by the apostles.

I know it probably happened, but I have a hard time imagining those in the Acts-type Church feeling so alone. Look at how they were unified. The times in my life when I have felt and still do feel like I am on lonely island are when I have no one I feel I can share my deepest hurts with, my ugliness with, or even when i have someone who I can tell anything to but responds poorly. I told the group that the first time I can remember no longer feeling alone was when I was part of a weekly meeting small group with Jesus followers I could tell anything to. ANYTHING. I was loved regardless of what I have recently done. I wasn’t preached to (not saying anything was swept under the rug). I wasn’t advised for 30 minutes. They didn’t act shocked that I committed sin. They weren’t too busy. I was never mocked. No jokes were made at my expense.

I want to make sure and save some for a few more posts, but I’d love to hear from you. Do you feel this way? Why? What is missing that makes you feel alone, even in a crowd? Did you find a friend/group that stopped it? How?

I find this whole thing heartbreaking. The Church was meant to be more for each other than this.

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5 thoughts on “ALONE in a Crowded Room

  1. I have read through a few of your posts and have much respect for the content you write about. Due to loneliness and extended singleness, I’m having a crisis of faith. Add that to being extremely burned by the last three churches I was a part of (serving in ministry as worship leader and children’s minister) I’m at a place of “I can’t take much more of this”. I’m grateful for your honesty.

    • I’m glad you commented! My heart goes out to you. I wish that one of the sayings that Christians so often use for advice would work; I’d use them all. Your encouragement is much appreciated. I have been where you are, not long ago at all. I have felt loneliness, particularly due to being single, more than I could count. I couldn’t understand why I still had to be single. It seemed like I had done everything right and God had forgotten about me (not altogether, but just in relationships). It can drive a person to wonder if they’ve put too much on the line as far as faith goes. You haven’t.

      For me personally, when I realized all the things about me that I wouldn’t want to carry into marriage, I saw a need to spend some time becoming a man first. Now, and only now, I am glad my pleas for “the one” weren’t answered, at least the way I wanted. I’m not saying the same is true for you, just that I encourage you to hold out no matter what. I believe if you do that some day this will all make sense. When the puzzle is put together it will be beautiful.

      I wish so much that you hadn’t had the experiences you have with congregations. Sadly, at best we can find other followers who are making an honest attempt and falling short. It is possibly tougher than ever to find true brothers and sisters who will be friends to the end. Keep your eyes and ears open for one who will just sit and listen. You have my prayers. Don’t give up.

  2. Doug, I have read several of your posts often, even more than once. May I say that it surprises me every time to know that I’m not the only one that feels the way we do. For sometime now (can’t remember how many years) I have felt alone when in crowds or even in a relationship. For I always feel judged for what I do wrong, how I may view things, or simply for sharing how I feel about something. In relationships, it should be 100/100 not 50/50 or 110/90, both partners should give their all to each other. Never being afraid to share thoughts, past/present sins, or feelings. I always hold back, afraid I won’t be “perfect” enough. Or when I do give it my all I normally get hurt or ridiculed. So thus, always searching for “Mr. Right”. I agree totally with what you’re doing and putting a year aside to find yourself. Me, honestly, I don’t see how you do it. I desire that companionship so much that I lower my expectations in a relationship to where what I really want and desire doesn’t even matter to the other. I believed for years that I knew whom God had intended for me, although he didn’t feel the same. I still believed we would be together one day and would only allow substitutes for the moment take his place. I held so much faith in that knowing one day we would be together that I’m certain it hindered relationships with others that could have actually been “the one”. Needles to say, he married someone else this past March and I since have lost faith in anything, even God. I haven’t attended church, where we both attend, since March and have been in a total whirlwind since.
    Feeling alone in a crowd (congregation) as if I don’t exist is another unwanted feeling. Who wants to be unseen, unless of course it’s sin that we may be trying to hide, in which we all know one day will be brought to light. I’ve too have felt this way. I was once on praise team and considered a leader in my church, stepped down from that position due to sin and didn’t feel that I should be in that type position because I was an example figure of sorts. Although, I did what I thought was the “right thing” and stepped down on my own, I felt persecuted for my sin by my own church and congregation. I remained in church for sometime after that while always looking for another church that wouldn’t judge me but at the same time would try to help guide me in the right ways. Never the less, I gave up the search and left my own church also. Churches tend to want more members and welcome you in with open arms at first but, when they find out that the member is not “perfect” that member tends to get pushed/held back and shunned. No emotion or feeling that anyone wants to feel. Not even an animal doesn’t want to be loved or left alone, shunned.
    Anyways, I admire what you are doing and pray that you continue to allow God to use you in a great and mighty way whether it be in person or through a blog.

    (These are my opinions and my opinions only. Hope I don’t offend anyone by stating them)

    • I am honored by your encouragement and your openness. That’s really my goal, just to put some things out there that we are going through but go unaddressed by the Church or people in general. That peculiar type of lonely is awful, and seems to be worse in crowds. I have to confess that I am often a judgmental person, so fighting against that by keeping in mind my own struggles is a constant battle. A few years ago God began a process of humbling me and showing me I wasn’t nearly as high and mighty as I thought; I’m not where I probably should be, but I understand now I’m no one to look down on anybody.

      As for the year, I tried to shrug it off. I’m tired of being single. I enjoyed it for many years, but the thought of another year was very difficult to cope with. I realized that I needed it though. I had baggage that I could see possibly destroying a marriage down the road. The knowledge that my single problems, if not dealt with, would resurface later and hurt the person I love has driven me to this. Besides that, I want to be in a position to treat God’s daughter the way she should.

      It hurts me to hear your story, both with the person and your faith. I recently had to come to terms with a similar situation. I always thought she and I would end up together, someway, somehow. Long story short, I finally realized that all contact had to stop. If there was ever any chance that would be the only way for it to happen, and if no chance then it was high time I moved on. It killed me and I would be lying if I said she never crosses my mind, but I know it was for the best.

      I hope you haven’t completely given up on God. At the same time I know how hard it can be to hold on when it seems like He never shows up when we need Him. Lazarus had already suffered terribly and lain dead four days before Jesus came to him. What I’m about to say next is not something I enjoy telling a hurting person: it’s not about us. It’s about Him. That’s painful to accept, but I have actually found comfort in it in the past.

      I am truly sorry for the hurt you’ve experienced by the Church. I apologize, because I am absolutely CERTAIN that I have caused at least one person to feel the same way in the past. It kills me to think that anyone has ever felt stiff armed by me. You will never find a congregation who fully and completely lives out God’s commands, but I hope you choose to cling to Him and someday find a group who make you feel at home, special, and completely VISIBLE! No one should feel unloved and invisible.

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