I started watching this reality show on TV called Alone. Have you seen it? It’s when 10 people are dropped off in a remote area in the Arctic with almost nothing, and they need to survive longer than everyone else. What makes this show more unique than the other survivor-themed reality shows, is each contestant is completely alone the entire time. Interesting enough, the breaking point for most isn’t the harsh climate or the lack of food; it’s succumbing to loneliness.
In today’s culture, despite being more connected than ever before with technology and social media, new research is showing we are getting lonelier and lonelier. In fact, it is saying we might be the loneliest society ever in history.
Are You Alone?
Are you alone? My grade school reflex to that question is, “No. I have tons of friends and people I can turn to when I want.” But do I? Or am I just around people but not deep-ly connected? Sure, as a student, you might be around a lot of people in your age bracket, or as an employee, you are around people 40 hours a week, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t alone.
Over time, it’s easy for men to emotionally detach themselves from relationships that might fulfill us. And because of that, if we’re being honest for a second, we are alone.
When we first see loneliness in the Bible, it’s in Genesis when we see God say that it’s not good for man to be alone.
It’s not good.
New studies show that loneliness has the same negative effect on our long-term health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and it’s more dangerous to our health than obesity. Maybe God was onto something when he said it’s not good for man to be alone.
The interesting part is that we see loneliness before sin enters the world. I was always taught things got bad after the fall of man, yet we see loneliness appear before that happens…and it’s not good.
Every single one of us is designed to be in relationship in some way, shape, or form, and it’s up to us to fix this part of our lives if we are feeling alone.
So Where Do We Start?
How is your relationship with God these days? Even more so as we spent many months disconnected from our regular church routine? The unique part of Christianity is we can have a personal relationship with God. However, many of us don’t anymore – along the way, we stopped being intentional about this part of being a Christian. One way to fix this is to take 10 minutes a day to pray and read the Bible without distractions.
How connected are you with your family these days? When was the last time you and your wife actually had a deep and meaningful conversation, let alone had a planned date night? Sometimes we neglect our relationship with our wives because they always there, and we take them for granted. Some of us have also neglected our relationship with our kids too. I understand they may be older now and seem uninterested, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a fulfilling relationship with them today. Simply taking them to their favorite restaurant and reconnecting beyond asking how their day was could be fulfilling for both of you.
Most likely, you have lost some friends along the way. That happens in life as people move away, get married, or leave the church. Unfortunately, most men don’t do a great job filling up these relationship holes along the way. The good news is many men at your church and in your neighborhood are in the same boat. Seek new friendships by inviting someone over for dinner, or asking them to spend the day golfing. Just a few new friends can help us with the feeling of being alone.
The Man Up Challenge
If you are alone, don’t deny it – do something about it. Start with your relationship with God, then your family, and finally seek out a few new friends who are just arms-length away. It starts with you taking the initiative and intentionality working on these relation-ships in your life to get out of this rut of feeling alone.