Recently the staff pastors at City On A Hill began to have regular group counseling sessions. While we did not necessarily feel a need to do this initially, we decided to do it because of the enthusiastic recommendation of another church's pastor who said it had been really good.
One of the things that has come out of that time is the recognition that all of us are lonely.
That might seem strange coming from a group of guys who have wives, children, and get to work together in the ministry day after day with the other staff of the church, but it's the truth. The scars of life had brought us to a place where we often felt alone. Some of it was self-inflicted, some of it inflicted through situations or other people.
For me, this has led to some great conversations with the other staff pastors and has allowed them to be with me in my loneliness. Sometimes that has meant explaining how the actions of another have isolated them from me. But it has allowed for greater transparency, and I am glad for this. The weight of my loneliness has begun to be lifted.
As I've begun to find comfort in being more known in places of loneliness in my own life, I've begun to more freely share where I'm lonely with people I long to be close to. It's grown my relationship with Tanya. It's also made me think about the loneliness of others and how I can meet that need.
The other thing I remember is that when I admit my loneliness, I become aware of God's presence with me in it. I can tell it to Him. And I can remember that this part of the good news: God has not left us alone, but decided to enter into our suffering, into our experience, and be with us. And more than that, He provided through His death and resurrection the means for suffering to be lifted from us.
This is why our core values ring true:
Gospel (good news): His Spirit lives with us now.
Community: He meets us through each other.
Mission: He meets us when we serve others in their loneliness.
Let me encourage you: you are not the only one who struggles with loneliness. Share it with God today. Draw close to a brother or sister and admit it. Seek to be with someone in it.
Sharing your loneliness involves fear and vulnerability that is hard to do. I have experienced it. But I believe the Lord will meet us there when we do.
Be blessed this week,