Feeling lonely? 10 short stories that prove you’re not alone
Loneliness can sting.
It’s not exactly an easy emotion to pin down and eloquently express. So much so that we can end up feeling alone in our loneliness.
Depending on whether you’re 18 or 64, loneliness can strike in different ways, as these friends we spoke to will tell you.
Here are 10 short stories on what they discovered about loneliness.
Transitions are hard
When I entered my first year in polytechnic in 2020, it felt like a culture shock. Many of my peers were dating, or finding dates and getting into relationships. I naturally felt very jealous and began questioning God on when He would send “the one”.
That was when I felt the Lord calling me to focus on Him. For some time, I meditated on the first line of Psalm 23 and just dwelled on what that meant.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
In pursuing my joy and happiness in the Lord, I found real satisfaction.
Being the third wheel is no fun
There was a period when my two best friends would share about guys who liked them. I also found out that the guy I liked got together with someone else!
I felt heartbroken knowing that no one was attracted to me, while my friends had a whole list of people liking them. After they had gotten boyfriends, I also found myself being the third wheel more than once.
Maybe I did feel lonely in the area of romance, but when I looked around, I realised that I had God, my best friends and my family who loved me.
I’m learning to treasure my time as a single because it’s the best time to discover more about myself and what I’m looking for in a relationship.
God, are you hearing me?
Within these past six months, I’ve had several friends either tell me or announce on Instagram their new relationship status. With each couple, I felt the salt rising. It was as if God was hearing everyone else’s prayers for a relationship but mine.
However, I have been consistently reminded of my life verse, Psalm 27:4.
David could have requested for his safety or kingship. But the one thing he asked was to dwell in God’s presence because I believe He knew God was the only one who could satisfy Him.
Our requests are reasonable, but more than that, we have to recognise that a partner is not going to cure that loneliness. They are ultimately human and thus limited – but God is not!
Instagram and FOMO
My most recent experience of loneliness was when Phase 3 coincided with the festive period. I was busy with work and didn’t have the capacity to hang out.
But when I was scrolling through Instagram at home and saw that my friends were having fun, I felt FOMO (the fear of missing out).
The wake-up call came when the Holy Spirit reminded me that I had made these choices, whether it was to work more or to skip the gatherings. And I realised I had to be at peace with the decisions I made. I repented because I saw how I could have spiralled into bitterness and resentment.
My advice is to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. It’s definitely painful to acknowledge loneliness, but I believe that is actually an invitation for the Holy Spirit to do His work within you!
My fear of New Year’s Eve
The feeling of loneliness tends to surface more strongly on special occasions. New Year’s Eve, for instance, is a day when much fear creeps in, as I’d think about whether I will continue being single for the upcoming year.
Loneliness can stem from a variety of reasons such as working from home, ending a relationship, changing jobs, etc. Ask God to reveal to you why you are feeling lonely, talk to someone about it and then find ways to deal with your loneliness.
What helps me is surrounding myself with friends as well as reminding myself of God’s love for me. Being with friends takes away that feeling of loneliness temporarily. But what really gives me assurance is knowing that God knows what is best for me, and waiting is part of trusting Him.
When it rains, it pours
The one time loneliness hit me hard was when my dad was hospitalised unexpectedly and the kitchen pipes at home had burst. I had a difficult time at work that same day, plus I was all drenched on the way to the hospital because of a thunderstorm.
Arriving at the hospital, I had to calm my dad who was very depressed while mentally calculating the hospital bills all by myself. At the back of my mind, there was still the kitchen sink to fix too.
In that moment, loneliness was very real and very big. Being a caregiver in my 20s is difficult, but being single and being the only child makes it even harder.
I realised the depth of my own loneliness when I knew I wanted someone special to be there. Would having a husband by my side solve my family difficulties or make my burden lighter? Perhaps it would help, but perhaps it wouldn’t.
If I keep thinking that there is only one solution to my problem and God has to give me that or nothing, then my mind will be closed. That will lead to a closed heart and a closed door. I realised that what I do with my loneliness is important.
It helps to reach out to trusted friends and share with them what you’re going through. Ask them to cover you in prayer. Find things that you enjoy doing on your own.
And it’s important to always remember that even though we may feel alone, this does not mean that God has left us alone. Talk to God about how you’re feeling!
Just keep singing
During the circuit breaker, I was living alone and it was really hard emotionally. I actually had this thought that if I died at home, no one would discover it. That really scared me.
One night when loneliness lingered and I felt a wave of sorrow so overwhelming, God tangibly spoke to me through a worship song. “Not for a minute was I forsaken, the Lord is in this place, the Lord is in this place…”
As I sang the bridge of the song over and over, I reminded myself of God’s faithfulness: that He was near.
Feeling lonely and being alone are separate matters.
Later, I also asked my friends to check on me and initiated daily Zoom calls with a group of church sisters. This fellowship helped me get through my loneliness as well.
Learn to reach out and be vulnerable. Surround yourself with people who will remind you of God’s goodness and that it’s okay to struggle with loneliness!
Loneliness doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing – it can help to distinguish the truth from your emotions. Feeling lonely and being alone are separate matters. Our feeling of loneliness doesn’t mean that God is not present.
I thought we had something going
I met a girl through a dating app and we got to know each other before deciding to be more intentional about our friendship. I thought it was going really well, only for her to share that she had other plans. This happened in the week I had intended to ask her about potentially progressing further.
It was quite surprising and painful as I had made arrangements to include this person for Christmas gatherings with family and friends. On top of that, all this happened around the time I was going on leave for two weeks.
I opened up my heart to God and told Him how I was really feeling. And when I didn’t have the words to say, I sat in silence, grieved and wept.
I also put together a playlist of songs that echoed the goodness and faithfulness of God, which helped a lot.
For those who may feel that same void I did, remember God’s promises and hold tightly to them, knowing that He cares deeply for you and his timing is perfect for everything.
YING HOCK, 45
When will it be my turn?
Recently, a couple that I know got engaged. They were only 24 and 25 years old – how young!
In times like these, I get envious and wonder when will it be my turn. Sometimes, I even think, am I really that unwanted? Why hasn’t the right person come yet?
The cliché answer is to go to God to pray and tell Him about it. But there is nothing closer to the truth than the cliché answer!
Despite our circumstances or emotions, God’s goodness never changes.
Papa God wants nothing more than His children to come to Him – no matter how trivial, how small, how insane, how angry or how ridiculous the matter is.
Despite our circumstances or emotions, God’s goodness never changes.
When I look back at all the answered prayers or how God has delivered me from hopeless situations, I grow in confidence that He will see me through, even in my loneliness.
When I was young and still staying with my parents, I thought that it was okay to be alone and I didn’t feel lonely at all.
But it’s very different once you reach my age and you’re truly living alone. Going out to work is not as bad as returning to a home where nobody’s there.
When I have no appointments on the weekend, I often try and meet up with friends who are not believers to reach out to them. I will also find programmes to attend, or do housework to keep myself busy.
If you’re single, find good ways to make use of your time! But if you can settle down, then do it before you’re too old.
After reading all these unique experiences, I see how loneliness really comes in different forms. However, the feeling of loneliness is still very much the same – a heavy, unexplainable weight we all often carry.
I’m saying this from a place where I’ve experienced loneliness as well. Although I’m attached, there are still moments when I feel lonely. It has made me realise that it’s not about being single or attached.
It can creep in at the most unexpected times and it can be something really hard to sit with. But what encouraged me was hearing how loneliness is not the end.
The unyielding hope you and I can continue to cling to is that our pain is seen and loved by God.
We can feel lonely, but we never remain lonely. We may grapple with it through different phases of our lives, but God promises victory above all.
There will always be a greater love available for our taking – and that is in the person of Jesus.