It is important to study God’s Word, the Bible, to memorize verses, and to think upon His Word. The Word of God never changes. We live in a world of constant changes. Our friends and families change, circumstances change, our thoughts and attitudes change, and all around us we experience change every day. But the Word of God remains the same, and is sure and stedfast. We can always depend upon His Word.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.” Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” In I Peter 1:23, we read that the Word of God lives and abides forever.
In uncertain and changing times, we can always depend upon His Holy Word to give us comfort, strength, grace, and power for each moment of our life, regardless of our situation or our circumstances.
The Word of God also helps new born babies in Christ to grow spiritually. In I Peter 2:2 we read, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” We as believers in Christ are commanded in God’s Word to grow spiritually. II Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The Word of God has always existed, and will always exist. In John 1:1-2 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
Read the following verses from the Bible. Psalm 119:2, 9, 11, 28, 50, 67, 71, 74, 92, 114, 130, 147, 148, 162 and 165.
This booklet is one in a series of lessons entitled, “Christians Growth,” which will aid in the growth of believers in Christ. These lessons cover topics ranging from A to Z of the alphabet. II Peter 3:18 should be the goal of every believer, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
As you begin these study courses of God’s Word, please begin them with this thought and prayer found in Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This tells us how to stand with God and how to go with God.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Dealing With Loneliness
“Comfort one another with these words.”
I Thessalonians 4:18
Lovingly Dedicated to the following loved ones who have been gathered to our heavenly Father through death:
Martin Vernon Wilkins – father, Elise Mae Wilkins, mother
Hubert Wayne Wilkins – brother, Joseph T. Wilkins – brother, Jackie D. Wilkins – brother
Louella Wilkins – wife of 41 years
“Died and was gathered unto his people” Genesis 35:29
There Is A Better Day
It will give you hope and confidence to know
That everyone is afraid and passes through
Stages of loneliness.
Eight million people experience the death of a
Close family member each year in the United
States alone. Each one of us have been or are
Sitting in the dark shadow of loneliness.
You are not alone – there is a way
Through – to a better day.
I. Introduction – Loneliness, A Universal Problem
A Black Cloud Engulfs You
There is no feeling like loneliness – a sick feeling that possesses your whole being, so forlorn, blue and empty. It is as if a black cloud engulfs you until the tears flow and you want to get away but there is no place to go. The poet’s pen pours forth the sadness of an empty soul while the song writer echoes the pathos of a broken heart. It doesn’t matter which language or tongue that utters their sad message because LONELINESS is a UNIVERSAL PROBLEM.
It is endured by the young, the old, the rich as well as the poor. Both men and women of all colors and races have suffered the torture of this universal monster because LONELINESS is not a respecter of persons.
I am a happy person! In fact, you probably do not know a person who lives a happier life than I do. But I have had my lonesome times. It has been a long time, but those times are still very vivid. As a small child and up until the age of eighteen, I could not stay away from home at night. Try as if I would, I just could not do it. It did not matter about the fun things that were planned, or the promise of excitement of an upcoming adventure. I could not stay away from home at night. After experiencing the difficulty of coping with the loneliness I would not let anyone plan an overnight trip for me. I did not tell them the reason and I would always offer an excuse, but the plain truth was I could not stand the loneliness.
It Did Not Do Any Good To Pray
As a twenty-year-old Pastor who only lived twenty-five miles from my mother and family, I would get so lonely I could not stay in my room. I could not concentrate. It did not do any good to pray. Finally, I would have to make a trip to see them. I might not spend over five minutes at home. I would walk into the house, greet my Mom, find out how everyone was doing, raid the refrigerator and be gone. I would be OK for a few days but then I would have to repeat the process all over again.
That Forlorn Feeling
As a forty-five-year-old man who was going to be gone from my wife and children on a short trip, I would get that forlorn feeling again. I would be going to a special conference where I was to be the main speaker. It was something I loved to do and had looked forward to for months. The day I left, in order to get over leaving my family, I would pray, cry and sing for the first two or three hours as I drove toward my destination. While I was gone, I would crowd every moment with things to do, working 16 to 18 hours a day. As I worked, I would be counting down the time until I would be home again. The last night of the meeting I would have my car packed and would be speeding toward home as soon as I could gracefully leave. Sometimes I would be home at the crack of dawn, having driven all night, but, praise the Lord I would be home again. Yes, I know well what it is to be lonely.
Happiness is a Result of Dealing with the Problem
Abraham Lincoln stated that “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It has been proven scientifically that happiness or unhappiness is a state of mind. A wise old friend taught me a little poem when I was a kid. This poem contains a life changing principle which helped me tremendously through the years. Study and memorize it. It may change your life also:
“For every evil under the sun,
There is a remedy or there is none.
If there is one, seek till you find it,
If there is none, then never mind it.”
There are some areas of life in which one has a choice. If there are alternatives and a person has a choice, then give serious thought about what would be best to do. However, if you find yourself in a situation and you have no alternative or choice, then make the best of it. Why gripe or complain about something you cannot change. Griping and complaining will only reinforce the problem and make things worse.
This same principle is true if you are a shut-in or live alone. If you live alone and are a person whose friends and family have forgotten you and there is nothing you can do about it; then why complain? It will not do any good! Ask yourself, “has my complaining caused anyone to come and see me?” Then why continue doing something that does not work. Nevertheless, there is a way to live a happier, more satisfying life; there is a way to change.
If you want to overcome your loneliness, with the Lord’s help, I can help you. However, many people do not want to be helped. For reasons of their own, they like for people to feel sorry for “poor lonely me.” If you are a part of a “self-pity party” and want to stay in it, there is nothing anyone can do to help you. If you want to overcome loneliness and regain a happy, more satisfying life, regardless of your circumstances, then join with us and you will be well on your way to a happier life.
A Simple Solution Changed Her Life
There may be a simple solution to solving some person’s problem with loneliness. Please consider the following experience of a dear friend.
Before we get to the principles I wish to teach you, by relating a simple solution that changed one of my friend’s life. As one of the elderly church members who was leaving our home remarked to my wife, “since Ben died I just hate to go home. The house is so big and empty, and it has so many memories.” Two or three months later and with our support and encouragement, she sold her lovely home and relocated in a complex designed for people of her age and needs. After a short time of adjustment, she overcame most of her loneliness and resumed living a happy, successful life. In the retirement complex she met people who gave her support and understanding. They had Bible classes, weekly times for games and fellowship and she made new friends. She was no longer ALONE. Her loneliness was left behind and replaced as she entered a new chapter of her life.”
Physical Exercise Promotes Good Mental Health
Man has always known there was a direct link between the body-mind relationship. It has only been in recent studies that we have been able to explain the effects that vigorous exercise has upon the mind.Leading researchers found that daily exercise can reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and relieve depression.
Part of the answer is chemical. The body produces endorphin and hormones when stimulated through brisk exercise. These endorphin and hormones are our internal “mood drugs” and are designed to make a person feel better about their self. They are activated through exercise.
Part of the answer is substitution. When one is having a problem and turns his attention from the problem and concentrates on exercising, it helps him. It takes his feelings away from whatever is causing stress. It has been proven that when they finish the period of exercising, one can generally deal more positively with the problem. It may help you. This is a simple suggestion, but many are finding that it helps them. Try it – it may be your answer.
The First Step
It would be wise and a step toward overcoming loneliness to remember that the best way to have a healthy mind is to learn to accept those things that cannot be changed.
II. Information From Medical Science
In the past generation much has been learned in medical science about how the mind works. Much of this knowledge has come through the science of cybernetics. The science of cybernetics originally did not have anything to do with man, but originated as a means of explaining how machines work. This science has to do with goal striving or goal seeking. It explains what happens and is necessary for torpedoes, missiles, smart bombs, etc. to be programmed to seek, stay on course and hit their target.
It was through this science and other true principles taught by medical science that we learn how the human brain and mind works. The science of cybernetics does not teach that man is a machine but that man has and uses a machine. It teaches man how his mind and nervous system works; how it can be developed and changed.
The author will use some information from medical science in order to help people overcome their loneliness and thus live a happier life.
Physical Exercise Improves One’s Health
Medical science has proven that the proper physical exercise improves one’s health regardless of the person’s age. The Specialists in Physical Therapy suggest that one start slowly and build up to a regular “habit” of exercise each week. When one enters into an exercise program his joints and muscles will begin to protest! They will send messages to the brain in order to get him to stop exercising! In fact, one’s muscles, nervous system and joints are all going to unify and scream in their protest. They will send all types of misinformation (thoughts) into one’s mind, such as, “you are going to kill yourself,” “you will have a heart attack,” “it will not work for you,” “you cannot do it,” or “you are too old.”
A person will have to decide to whom he is going to listen. He will either listen to medical science and the thousands who have improved their health, happiness and quality of life through proper exercise or his own thoughts. One will have to decide who is going to be the boss in his life. For instance, “am I going to continue in my weakness and let my muscles, nervous system and joints be boss or will I assume command of my life once again. One’s motivation often dictates what one does and how one reacts. Those who knew they should do something about smoking could not stop until they developed lung cancer, then they stopped! A person could not stay on an exercise program until he had a heart attack, then he assumed command and was able to not only start exercising but reach a quality of life he never thought possible.
One Can Exercise And Control His Thoughts
Just as one can change his quality of life through taking control and performing physical exercises, one can learn to exercise and control his thoughts. One must resolve to impose certain restrictions on his thoughts in order to be able to overcome loneliness.
An Astonishing 95 Per Cent
According to those who have researched human behavior at least 95 per cent of our behavior, feelings and response are habitual. That is, we do much of what we do through habit and without thinking. Habit is the reaction and responses which one learns to perform automatically without having to think or decide.
A pianist does not decide which key to strike as she plays a tune. She does it automatically and without thinking. A professional dancer does not have to decide which foot to move as he dances but the reaction is automatic. He can do his routine habitually.
The word “habit” originally meant a piece of clothing or garment. Please do not confuse “habit” with “addiction.” One can change a garment or habit but one must have help to change an addiction.
Habits Can Be Changed
How is the habit of loneliness learned? As a person lives and gets older things begin to happen to interrupt their normal routine. Then someone lies; loved ones move away; or there are misunderstandings. A person begins to suffer from various disappointments or from poor health. There seems to be more bad days than good days and more battles lost than battles won. Then comes more bereavements or unanswered questions. A person begins to expect the worst. Little by little one’s focus switches from the positive to the negative. Then one’s thoughts begin to center on “me,” “on self,” “on my problems.”
Finally, one begins to major on how bad things are and before you know it he had fallen into the habit of LONELINESS.
Just as one can change a garment one can change the habit of loneliness. There are things, conditions and facts present in the world and in everyone’s life at all times which could be used to “justify” either a pessimistic and dismal outlook, or a happy and optimistic outlook, DEPENDING on one’s choice. How one feels will depend largely upon how one reacts to a situation. How one feels is a matter of what one chooses to focus on. It is a matter of what thoughts one allows to come into his mind. A person can give in to his feelings and feel sorry for himself or he can see the positive side of things such as how much better off he is than many others and thus be happier.
Change That Dirty Shirt
Most people can change a lonely down-hearted thought pattern just like they can change from a dirty garment into a fresh clean garment. It may not be easy but you can work on controlling your thoughts and build a constructive new way of life.
A Good Question, Who’s The Boss?
On one of the modern day television sitcoms which pokes fun at a non-functional family, a startled outsider observing the total confusion of the featured family asks, “who’s the boss here? Who is in charge in this family?” The audience roared with laughter as the television camera zoomed in for a close-up of the four-year-old who answered, “I am.”
As ridiculous as this sounds it demonstrates the disorder in many families. This also illustrates the question which a lonely person must decide. Who is in charge in my life? Am I in charge of my thought pattern or am I the victim? A clever writer may picture the break-down and confusion of a dysfunctional family as a laughing matter but in real life it is a disaster.
Who Is The Boss In Your Life?
The lonely thoughts which dominate the thought pattern are the boss and are in charge in many lives. God did not intend for these lonely thoughts to be in charge and for the person to suffer their domination any more than He intended for a four year old to be in charge in a family.
Please remember we are not addressing this remark to someone who recently lost a loved one through death. So, we are speaking to those who have been living under the cloud of LONELINESS. However, the principles in this booklet would apply and help anyone in any situation, if applied. Each person must decide, “who is the boss? Who is in charge of my thoughts: my life?” This is the starting point to living a happier, more satisfying life.
I cannot say and I will not say
That he is dead – he is just away!
With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be since he lingers there.
And you – O you, who the wildest yearn
For the old-time step and the glad return,
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of there as the love of here.
Mild and gentle as he was brave –
When the sweetest love of his life he gave
The touches of his hands have strayed
As reverently as his lips have prayed;
Think of his till as the same, I say;
He is not dead – he is just away!
–James Whitcomb Riley–
III. INSTRUCTION FROM THE BIBLE
The Bible clearly teaches that one can control his thoughts. There are many references which teach this truth, but we will only give three simple references, which command that the individual is to take control of his thinking or thought process.
Let This Mind Be In You
In Paul’s writing to the Saints at Philippi he commanded them to “Let this mind be in you,” Philippians 2:5. The word “Let” shows permission or control. She let the cat into the house. The teacher let the student speak freely on the subject. A study of the usage of the word “let” in this verse reveals that the person is in control of his mind or thoughts. He can permit dismal thoughts to occupy his thought pattern or he can do as this verse commands, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Bring Into Captivity
The next reference teaches that a person not only has the power to control whatever thoughts come into his mind but he has the ability to take control of his thought pattern. Paul tells the believers which make up the Corinthian Church that with God’s help they can overcome all the thoughts which are shot into their mind. Please study carefully his exact words, “Pull down the strong holds,” “Cast down the imaginations,” and “Capture every thought.”
The strongholds referred to here are the dismal lonely thoughts which make a person a prisoner in his mind. This causes him to think there is no hope or solution to the problem.
The imaginations are all false beliefs about the persons’ helpless solution. In his imagination he sees “monsters” or scary situations where the person sees himself as alone, unloved, abandoned and facing a scary uncertain future. In his imagination he sees himself a prisoner, living without hope or chance of parole.
One Can Capture Every Thought
Please read for yourself the ability which one has in taking control of his thoughts – (“…the weapons of our warfare (in our mind) are not carnal (human), but MIGHTY THROUGH GOD to the PULLING DOWN of STRONG HOLDS;) Casting down IMAGINATIONS, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:4-5.
These verses clearly show that the believer can pull down the strong holds which are only in his imagination (mind) and can control or capture all the lonely thoughts which come flooding into his mind and change them.
Think On These Things
Apostle Paul writes of his happiness from a dungeon where he is a prisoner bound in chains. He is there because he was falsely charged and lied about by his enemies. If any man ever had a reason to feel sorry for himself and be down-hearted or lonely Paul did. Now, out of this dark prison comes Paul’s surprising comments concerning his state of mind. He proclaims, “I rejoice in the Lord greatly.” This statement is strange and startling! Paul is in prison; he is facing certain death, but he is at peace, has self-control, and is happy.
No doubt, his friends and fellow Christians were worried about his health and soon coming death by execution.
Paul told them to stop worrying about him and the problems which he faced. He wrote, “Be careful for nothing” or literally, “stop worrying.”
In verse seven he informed them that their deep concern and thoughts about his well-being could be replaced by “peace which passeth all understanding.” One may wonder how this marvelous transformation from an all-consuming concern for him could be changed into a peace which would calm their minds and hearts. This marvelous transformation took place in his followers when they took charge of their thoughts and substituted proper thoughts concerning Paul instead of giving in to their fears and anxiety.
Listen to his exact command of substitution “Think on these things.” He writes, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of PEACE SHALL BE WITH YOU.” Phil. 4:6-9.
Whether one can understand these Scriptures or not, these simple instructions reveal that one can control his thoughts and be the victor instead of the victim. Note, Let! It is something one can do. Cast down is something one can do.
These same admonitions when obeyed and practiced will bring peace to you who are suffering through the long lonely nights. Let this mind be in you or substitute other thoughts for those dismal thoughts.
Cast down the imaginations of how all alone you are and begin to take control of your thoughts. This ability to control and change your thought pattern will enable you to overcome your loneliness.
IV. Ingredients Which Will Change Loneliness Into Happiness
There are four practical ingredients which will change one’s life tremendously if followed and practiced. These principles will be presented under the following outline:
First: Do Something For Yourself Second: Enjoy Your Friend
Third: Resist Your Enemy Fourth: Do Something For Others
DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF
It is a biological fact that a person cannot think two thoughts at the same time. The brain cannot experience two emotions at the same time. One cannot experience fear and joy at the same moment; one cannot be happy and lonely simultaneously.
Change The Dark Music
When you begin to experience lonely, dismal thoughts then it is time to take control. Substitute another experience by CHANGING YOUR THOUGHT PATTERN. Instead of letting the blue, lonely thoughts occupy your mind, substitute enjoyment and happy thoughts by reliving a pleasant experience in your memory. Change the dark music which may be playing experiences stored in your memory. Relive that special moment. As you relive a happy experience from the past take special note to the detail of the person’s clothes. Visualize their hair style and note closely their environment. Carefully examine all of the small details by concentrating on every item. Be vivid in visualizing every small detail stored there in your memory. If your spouse has died, take your thoughts off yourself and your problems – the loneliness – of missing that loved one and substitute thoughts of where that loved one is.
If one of your dearest loved ones moved to a distant place and you had never been there, you would find out as much as possible about that place. You would inquire about its climate, unique qualities, and features. You would find out all the information about where that special person was living. May we suggest that you do something constructive concerning your departed loved one? Read a book about heaven. Go to the library and read materials about beautiful places, mountains and scenery. Search the scriptures about heaven. Read them over and over again until some of the details are in your mind. When you begin to have lonely thoughts, make your brain begin to recall these beautiful places. Picture yourself visiting your loved one in their new mansion. Focus in on the beauty and the special features of the mansion. Concentrate on every detail. YOU CAN DO IT! Use the marvelous mind which your Creator placed within you. Recall the scenes about which you have read or go back to some pleasant times of the past; but refuse to accept the lonely thoughts. When they come back into your mind make yourself think of thoughts which will bring comfort.
She Visualizes Making A Phone Call
A friend of mine whose husband worked out of town spoke of her lonesomeness when her husband was gone. She said that when she reached a certain point of loneliness she would telephone her husband. She would recount the phone ringing, and then she would hear his warm, welcome voice. She said she always received comfort and felt better after their telephone conversation. “Now he is in heaven”, she said, “I see him there in his new heavenly home.” I visualize dialing his phone number there. I see him picking up the phone and then his warm greeting. She said she would ask him to tell her about his mansion – about how his day went, – his new friends, the Glory. She concluded by saying, “sometimes it is so real that I almost feel his presence.” Substitute the thoughts of how lonely you are by replacing them with thoughts of companionship. You can control your mind! You may have to work at controlling your thoughts but you can do it.
Do something for yourself by substituting thoughts of companionship for the thoughts of loneliness. You will notice an improvement as you work at doing something for yourself.
“A friend loveth at all times” Proverbs 17:17
“The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear” Hebrews 13:6
“A friend that sticketh closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24
“For he (God) hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” Hebrews 13:5
Jesus promised, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end” Matthew 28:20
ENJOY YOUR FRIEND
If you are a Christian, then enjoy the closeness of your friend. Jesus promises never to leave or forsake you. David referred to the Lord as a “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” One of my good friends who has spent many years alone, suffering at times great and continuous pain uses the verse which commands, “Be still and know that I am God” to find comfort. There is no one who has suffered the total rejection and loneliness that Jesus suffered before and during the crucifixion. He understands the consuming loneliness that many endure.
Everyone, including God the Father, forsook Him. He is your friend and is touched with the feelings of your infirmities. He knows exactly what you are going through and He is there with you. In your loneliest times He is there with you.
He promised to be there. He cannot lie. You cannot see Him but He is there. You are in the physical realm and He is in the spiritual realm. Your eye sight is not tuned at this time to see Him, but, He is there!
If you did not have FM frequency on your radio you could not pick up the beautiful stereo music which is in the air, but it is there. There are millions upon millions of molecules in the air. You cannot see them, but they are there.
Jesus too is there. He said He would never leave you. You cannot see Him with your limited vision, but He is there. Use the wonderful gift of imagination which God gave you in order to see REALITY. He is there. Visualize Him there in your room, sitting in the easy chair. By focusing on the reality of His presence, you are concentrating on the positive. You are using the ability to imagine and use your faith. Sense His presence. You are not alone. God loves you. He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. You are shutting out your fears as you accept the truth of God’s Word and visualizing His presence. He is your friend. He is there so learn to – ENJOY THE CLOSENESS OF YOUR FRIEND. Many do this all the time and it works. You will be much happier as you learn to ENJOY YOUR FRIEND.
People come and go; life has its ups and downs; seasons change; but there is one absolute!! God can not lie! He promises never to leave us alone. Like a tender, loving parent, He faithfully watches over you. He loves and wants to help you. He is there!
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary (enemy) the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“Above all, taking the shield of faith (Bible), where with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts (thoughts) of the wicked (devil).” Ephesians 6:16
Resist Your Enemy
The fear, uncertainty, and feelings of being alone are real. Those thoughts are in your mind but many of them are coming from an outside source. They are coming from an enemy! The Bible declares this reality. Mankind has a real enemy. He is called by many names in the Bible. The devil, Satan, the accuser is at the top of the long list of names. Many people even deny his existence, but as surely as the Bible declares that there is a God, who loves mankind, it also forcefully declares the fact of a literal devil. There is as much evidence in the world of the source of evil as there is in the love of God.
Your Enemy Is a Bully
The Bible commands, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This command teaches that the devil is in reality the town bully, instead of the all-consuming monster which cannot be controlled. Resist him and he will run or flee. A bully picks on the defenseless, the unsuspecting, the disabled, or the lonely. The devil searches to find some lonely, defenseless victim to torment. His method of attacking is by shooting thoughts into one’s mind. Paul called these thoughts “flaming arrows.” He said, “take the shield of faith” which is the Word of God and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. When the devil attacked Jesus, Jesus resisted him by using the Word of God as a shield. He said, “it is written” and quoted a proper verse and the devil was soon put to flight. The lonely thoughts of worthlessness and despair are thoughts which the devil shoots into your mind. One is to resist the attacks of the devil by claiming God’s promises of love, comfort and protection. One puts the devil to flight by recognizing that he is attacking and by resisting him through the promises of God, which are found in the Bible.
You Have A Choice
When difficulties occur that threaten to overwhelm you, you have a choice; you can worry about what is happening or you can relax and know God will take care of it. IT WILL NOT benefit you or solve the problem by your fretting about it. Rather, focus on God’s ability and promises instead of the problem.
The author would like to relate a story about an old farmer who broke his habit of smoking cigarettes.
He Got Mad, Mad Enough To Quit!
An old farmer who had used tobacco and smoked cigarettes for 40 years found himself on the back side of his farm one morning without his “smokes.” He had left them on the kitchen table. Without thinking he started walking directly across the recently plowed ground toward the farm house more than a half a mile away. After laboring through the loose soil for 50 to 60 yards and breathing heavily he suddenly stopped his walking. He was already exhausted and “his smokes” were still a half a mile away. Then he got angry! Are those little bitsy cigarettes my boss? Only a fool would walk a half a mile across this plowed ground for a “smoke.” The more he thought about it the madder he became. He became even angrier as he reasoned. I am a slave to those things! They control my life! They cost me money! They are ruining my health! Look at me! I am puffing like I had run a mile! No more! No more! Those little things are not going to make a fool out of me any longer! They are not going to dominate and ruin my life!
He turned around and labored back across the freshly plowed ground and got back on his tractor. He quit smoking that day!! He became angry enough to stop a bad habit and take control of his life once again.
Get Mad! That’s right! Get Mad! Get angry enough to take control of your thoughts. They are ruining your life far worse than cigarettes were ruining the old farmer’s life.
Recognize and resist your enemy, the devil. Do not allow him to whisper those lonely thoughts into your mind anymore. Take control, stop being a helpless victim. You are the boss so take control and act like it.
Review And Meditate
Now, before going on, stop and rethink the first three principles:
First: Learn to substitute God’s promise of love and protection instead of thinking the thoughts of loneliness.
Second: Learn to concentrate on the fact that Jesus is there with you. Claim His promise. Learn to visualize His
Third: Learn to resist your enemy and he will flee from you.
By following the admonitions of: Do something For Yourself, Enjoy your Friend, and Resist Your Enemy, a person will go a long way in overcoming and curing loneliness. Now, in order to experience a complete cure and enjoy a growth to a healthy, helpful life, one must learn to practice one more principle, one must learn to Do Something For Others.
MISS ME BUT LET ME GO
When I come to the end of life’s road
And earth’s sun has set for me
I want no tears in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me for a while, but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the blessings which we have shared
Miss me but let me go.
For this is a journey all must take
And each one must travel alone
Death is a part of the Master’s Plan
For me it is my final step home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to your friends which we know
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds
Miss me – but let me go.
Do Something For Others
God created each person for a purpose. He wrote a manual for the human being which reveals that purpose and teaches him how to be productive and happy. When a person begins to focus on self ALONE, the result is LONELINESS. Man was not designed to be a receiver but a giver. One of the great principles of life is, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” In order to overcome LONELINESS one must take his thoughts off self and focus on the needs of others.
She Visited The “Old Folks Home”
My mother, a widow of thirty years, had a schedule each Thursday when she went to what she called “the old folks home.” It was a convalescent home for the elderly. She was older than most of the “old folks” who lived there but it kept my mother young as she ministered to others. She spent two to four hours there with those people each week.
Many times she would sit and talk to some just to keep them company.
She would clean around the night stand for others.
She would read the Bible to some, especially those whose eye sight was failing.
She would often bake a cup cake for the ones who might have had a birthday.
She would bathe the feverish brow of the sick with a cool wash cloth.
She worked with others to get them out of their bed or wheelchair-out of their loneliness- into the game room.
Week after week many would be ready to rejoin others in the outside world by getting on the church van and enjoying a class with other seniors at a nearby Sunday School.You may not be as mobile as my Mother was, but there are many in worse condition than you who need encouragement and prayer.
He Prayed For 113 Preachers Everyday
One dear man prayed for one hundred and thirteen preachers by name every day in addition to praying for his family members and close friends. In return God gave him poetry to write which has enriched lives around the world.
Look Around You
Who needs encouragement and help? Make a list of all your family and friends. Which one needs a note of friendship and encouragement? Who needs a phone call? There is someone who is in worse condition than you. Maybe there is no one who comes to mind at this time, but someone will.
She Overcame Her Bereavement
Recently I heard a lady speak of how she overcame her bereavement when she lost her husband. George had a lingering illness which required constant care. I was by his side 24 hours a day for months. When he died I felt all alone and exhausted. There seemed to be nothing left. Then I met a neighbor who was recovering from serious surgery and needed assistance in learning to walk again. Every day for four months I assisted her in her exercises and therapy. This doing something for another helped me a lot more than it helped her.
Can you join others in a project which will help the less fortunate? Ask God to direct you. He will direct you to someone or to a project which will encourage and help others. He is obligated to bring a purpose or a person into your life if you are willing to Do Something For Others.
That’s right my dear friend, “get up.” Get your mind off yourself and your problems. There is work to do. People need you. You are worthwhile and can become an inspiration to others if you will learn to Do Something For Others.
V. Insight On Visiting The Lonely
Follow the principles presented in this section and you will establish a friendship and relationship which you will treasure forever.
How To Visit A Person Who Lives Alone
The following will make your visit to the shut-in or person who lives alone more fruitful and enjoyable especially to the older person.
Many times a young adult who is a grandchild visits a grandparent. After the visit, the older person feels more lonesome and depressed than before the visit. There is such a vast difference between a young person who is up to date on modern trends, sports, fashions and a person who is almost two generations removed and who has lost touch with a fast moving society. After greeting the older person, and exchanging a few limited remarks, the young people who are visiting begin a conversation between themselves or they sit down and watch television. The older person, (Grandma) in order to show hospitality offers to fix a meal. After the meal the young people are gone and the senior is lonelier than ever. She feels more used than visited. The young people may have been encouraged to leave the kitchen in a mess by the persistence of “I’ll get it later, because I have nothing better to do.” The memory of the visit will not be satisfying for either the visitor or the one visited.
I instructed my children when they visited with their Grandma to TALK WITH HER. If she prepares a meal (which she always did), help her by setting the table. When the meal is over, without question, help clear the table and carry the dishes to the sink and then help her tidy up the kitchen.
Offer To Play A Game
My Mother loved to play dominoes. When the meal is over or you have a free moment, suggest a game by saying something like, “grandma, do you feel like getting beat?” If this statement was made to my Mother, she would already be at the chest where she kept the dominoes and the game was on!
Look At Her
When you are playing a game, look at her. Talk with her; give her your personal attention. In so doing she will receive the full benefit of the visit. There is love and interaction between the people involved in the game which bridges the “generation gap.” There is a bonding which is good for all. After the visit the young leave with a desire to return. The older person is very likely to walk them all the way to the car, savoring every moment of the precious time together. If there is no game, find something else to do. You may take her for a drive into the country, or go shopping with her. She may want to take a short walk with you. Make a real effort to make her the center of your attention.
Ask Her Questions
In order to bridge the generation gap use your eyes to see things about her, her appearance or her home worthy of compliment and then compliment her. Use your lips to ask her questions about her interests. Ask questions which will keep her talking about the things and people in which she enjoys discussing. Remember, it is not important about your views or opinions. You are there to fill a need in her life. You are there to brighten up her day and life. Ask her questions which will direct the conversation into positive areas. Avoid conflicts or arguments. Be sympathetic and loving as you ask questions which will keep her talking. Some of the questions which will bring quick response and enjoyment to her, are questions about her childhood – school days, the fashions when she was a girl or her first job. Ask her about the different houses or places where she lived.
Just Be Silent
Some days are lonelier than other days and if your visit catches her on one of her darker days then become a good listener. Do not try to give advice or strive to make her feel better. One should respond to her feelings and not to her words. Look into her face from time to time and give the appropriate response. Your presence and closeness will do her much more good, than your words. One of your greatest visits which may be the most helpful and the one which will be treasured the most is when you did not say much. You silently gave strength and comfort by just “being there.”
Sit Directly In Front Of Her
When you converse with her, sit directly in front of her or across from her so she will get the point – I CAME TO VISIT WITH YOU, I CAME TO TALK WITH YOU! Let her know that she was the reason that you drove the distance that you did and took the time for the visit. LET HER KNOW THAT SHE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND THAT YOU LOVE HER. Make the point, YOU ARE A VERY SPECIAL PERSON TO ME!
On one occasion as my son Lyndol left Grandma’s house having been beaten soundly in dominoes, she hugged him and whispered in his ear, “your dad raised you right.” Today, even though Grandma had been with the Lord for many years, the older children often talk about the precious times that they had at Grandma’s house.
NOW YOU PAUSE
I was regretting the past
And fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking
My name is, I AM.
He paused…I waited…He continued…
When you live in the past
With its mistakes and regrets.
It is hard, I am not there
My name is not, I WAS.
He paused…I waited…He continued…
When you live in the future
With its problems and fears.
It is hard, I am not there
My name is not, I WILL BE.
He paused…I waited…He continued…
But when you live “This moment”
It is not hard.
I am here
My name is, I AM.
Now you pause
He is waiting
Your friend, I am.
Now, be comforted by, I AM.
(Author’s Note: “I AM” is the name God chose for Himself and denotes His ever presence.)
VI. Invitation To A Friend
Perhaps, as you have read these instructional and practical principles you have been helped, but there is STILL something missing. Something is still wrong. You do not have the peace which you long to have.
You strive to be a good person and you believe in God but something is lacking. You are even religious and belong to a church and with the passing of a loved one and the difficulties which you have faced you have begun to work harder at being a Christian. However, in spite of everything you do; in spite of all your prayers and tears you do not have the assurance you long for.
There may be someone who openly confesses, “I do not know this friend, Jesus that you keep talking about. Would you like to know Him? Would you like for Him to become a friend who will never leave nor forsake you? Would you like to have a deep seated peace and assurance that Jesus is your personal Savior and will receive you into heaven someday?
There is a scripture in the last book of the Bible which pictures Jesus standing at your heart’s door. Listen to Him as He speaks, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man (person) hear my voice and open the door, I will come in…”
The uncertainty and emptiness which one feels is God’s way of showing a person of their need. Jesus wants to come in and fill that vacuum and give peace and assurance.
He is standing at your heart’s door and longs to come in and be your friend and Savior…. Why not just ask Him to come in? He said, if any would open their heart door and say, “come in Jesus”… I will come in.
Please note the rest of the verse. “I will come in and sup with him and he with me.” Sup means He will come and be your friend and have fellowship with you. He will replace that loneliness with joy. He will replace that uncertainty with confidence and assurance. He will replace that emptiness with fullness, that fear with love – that un-fulfilling religion with satisfying salvation. It is a free gift and all God requires is for one to honestly confess their need and receive and trust Jesus as their Savior.
Now, just bow your head and invite Jesus to come into your heart. He wants to…, He will,… if you will only invite Him to come in.
I am home in heaven, dear ones,
Oh, so happy and so bright,
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief are over,
Every restless tossing passed.
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last.
Then you must not grieve so sorely
For I love you dearly still,
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust our Fathers’ Will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So now you must not idly stand.
Do it now while life remaineth,
Soon you shall rest in Jesus’ land.
When that work is all completed
He will gently call you home;
Oh! The rapture of that meeting
Oh! The joy to see you come.