by Kimberly Johnson
Loneliness: The disease of the soul that is common to all mankind. Loneliness: That burdensome feeling that we run for our life from through busyness, addictions, NetFlix binges, talking on the phone, zoning out, video games, sexual activity, internet use, and probably a hundred other things. Loneliness: That thing that God uses almost like nothing else to grow us, to help us face ourselves, shape us, and teach us to be relational with ourselves, others and Him.
Even after over 11 years of freedom from my sexual addictions I still have regularly scheduled accountability with at least 4 people. Recently I let that "slide" for a couple of months. Truth be told, in the back of my mind I likely thought "I'm beyond that". After a few weeks I found myself being uncharacteristically tempted to look at pornography like I hadn't been in perhaps years (by God's grace I didn't slip). I laid awake in torment, weeping as I fought through temptation. I desperately made an appointment with one of my mentors for later in the week. As we were speaking (well he was speaking, and I was speaking as much as one can speak through sobs) he stated, "Kim, what has happened is that you have been engaging with people, but you haven't been taking any relational risks. And this set you up for temptation! Your accountability is as much about connecting on a real and raw level as it is about keeping yourself from your sin". BOOM. I instantly knew he was correct, and wouldn't you know it ~ as soon as I started connecting again in a real and honest way my temptation lifted, because I was being proactive to combat loneliness.
Genesis 32: 24Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.26Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed."
What happened in the above passage when Jacob was alone, and chose to spend his alone time "wrestling" with the Lord and refusing to let Him go? After he finally admitted his true identity (Jacob = Deceiver) the Lord touched him in a way that his walk was forever changed, and the Lord forever changed his name.
God is no respecter of persons. If we choose to handle our loneliness in a way that is honoring to Him the way we walk through life will be forever different, and so will our identity!
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