8 Ways to Fight Loneliness Where You Live
I joined a gym last week.
It wouldn’t be a big deal, but my why is different than any time before. In the past, it’s always been about getting into shape or becoming healthier. Those are still benefits and good reasons, but they aren’t my main reasons.
I joined a gym for the community.
I want to know more people in my town. I want to get to know the moms of the kids that go to school with my kids. I want to go to the grocery store or a local restaurant and recognize the people next to me. I want Evan to meet other toddlers that live here in the childcare.
I know that I’ll only meet a fraction of the people in my town at this particular gym, but it’s a good starting point.
Pandemic life has many people feeling the loneliest that they’ve ever felt. A recent study by The Barna Group estimates that 31% of people struggle with loneliness on a daily basis. Basically, 3 out of every 10 adults that you come into contact with each day are feeling lonely.
I want to lower that percentage in my town!
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My new gym membership is just one unique way to combat loneliness in my town. There are so many other ways to fight loneliness. We can get creative with it.
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
Here are 8 ways to fight loneliness where you live:
Go to church. I love the local church. I’ve made some of my dearest friends at church over the years. In fact, I recently went to lunch with two friends from church. I texted another friend from church tonight because I needed someone who understood my situation. These friends worship God with me every week, and we have a special bond. Beyond community, going to church keeps me rooted in my faith. I am constantly challenged to grow in holiness, which allows me to live with the fruit of the spirit (peace, love, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness). When we live for Jesus in our day-to-day activities, attacking loneliness will be easy.
Walk into your grocery store. Yep, I love getting my groceries delivered straight to my trunk too! But it costs us relationships with the people inside the building. (A Publix is being built right outside our neighborhood, and I’m strangely pumped to know people when I go to the grocery store. Mom, I'm turning into you!)
Participate in a Bible study. An acquaintance of mine invited me to a Bible study with her last Fall. You guessed it! We’re more than acquaintances now! There are four of us growing spiritually together, and I love it!
Find a group for your season of life. When my older kids were young, I joined a local MOPS group to hang out with other moms. Nowadays, I’m involved in a local Hearts Together group. We’re a group of women passionate about adoption and foster care. I have made so many adoptive mom friends through this group. We gather once a month at my friend’s house and do fun activities together throughout the year. Many women from all over Middle Tennessee come to Hearts Together. (If you’re close by, I invite you to join me sometime! Just send me a message that you’d like to come!) This group of women is such a gift.
Join a local gym. I joined a gym that does all the workouts in a group setting. I’m always working out beside other people, and we’re encouraging each other constantly. We hold each other accountable, and we see each other right after we roll out of bed with no make-up (or maybe just a little bit of make-up) and at our sweatiest/smelliest. That’s some bonding, and we may not recognize each other at the grocery store after all in our street attire! Ha!
Ask your neighbors for sugar. I have multiple neighbors that I can always ask for a cup of sugar or a taco seasoning packet. Do your neighbors know that they can ask you for things? Maybe it’s a southern thing, but it’s comforting to know that I can ask the people living closest to me for things AND that they feel comfortable asking me too. It sure makes the walls of this home feel a lot less lonely.
Buy a fire pit and invite people over. This one is a bit selfish. As Scott knows, I want to revamp our back patio. Our current fire pit is small and a bit rusty, but truthfully, it does the job. People do not care about how nice your things are. They care about how you make them feel when they are with you. This is one of our favorite things to do during the summer when we have people over. We have string lights up in our backyard for added lighting, and it’s just cozy. Add s’mores to the situation, and it’s a perfect place to chat and hang out with our guests.
Call someone on the telephone. All my introverted readers just hollered NOPE in their minds. Trust me, I used to plead with people to text instead of call. Nowadays, I have a few friends that have no problem picking up the phone and calling me. Shockingly, I have grown to love it! They want to hear my voice and have a conversation with me. It makes me feel seen and loved that they would do something so weird as calling me. (Full disclosure, I don’t do this well at all. All of my family and friends just nodded in agreement!)
The Lord has laid the issue of loneliness on my heart. We’ve been trapped in our houses so much over the past two years, and we miss people. We can easily see the loneliness surrounding us. The good news is that we can impact the sad statistics about loneliness in our country.
The opportunities to make the world around us a little less lonely are endless. If you love grandiose plans and goals, just don't go there.
Keep. It. Simple.
All you have to do is smile, give high fives, remember names, celebrate big and small occasions, send a text, make a phone call, write a note, anything that makes someone feel seen.
I can guarantee that God will use these small acts for His glory. The impact will be MORE than you could ever imagine.
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I want to add one more thing. We’ve all been alive long enough to know that human beings are messy. Our brokenness can easily bleed over into relationships. I’m sure some of you have been hurt and prefer to stay to yourself. We need Jesus to redeem that area of our life so that we can learn to live unoffended. There should be a balance between the people that need you and the people you need, but that’s for another blog.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing…encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11,14-15
We don’t have to overthink it.
People are lonely. Let’s change that!
I wanted to add a quick note at the end of this blog post to highlight something new. I'll be adding "Go Deeper" questions at the end of each blog post for those of you who want to journal and process what you just read. I love writing and sharing my stories with you, but I also want to provide ways for us to grow as brothers and sisters in Christ together too. It's one of my greatest joys to serve you through words and point you to Jesus.
I'm praying big things for this blog, and I'm so glad you're here!
Always live for Jesus,
What small act will you take this week to attack loneliness where you live?
When has someone made you feel less lonely? What did they do?
Under what circumstances is it OK to feel lonely (as long as you don’t stay there)?
How can we remain unoffended as we invite people into our lives?