With more ease than I would like to admit, I could make a lengthy bulleted list made up of all the times I have felt alone. In this year solely, I could stake a “Not So United State of Being All Alone” flag. I lived alone and dealt with things on my own. All of my friends lived off campus, while I stayed to be a resident assistant. I felt like communication between old roommates and friends became more and more scarce. Meeting up and being in each of their lives took more and more effort. Cue the pity party.
Loneliness may not have hurt as much if I hadn’t seen its pattern.
I can remember lonely moments in middle school and high school particularly well. My friend group constantly changed each year. I never really knew what circle of friends the next year would hold. From a group of three to the largest crowd, I somehow always felt on the outs. By senior year of high school, I was exhausted of it.
I thought that college would be the end of this lonely cycle. I surely thought that as I grew in my faith, God would provide more godly women in my life that could hold me up, encourage me, and keep me grounded. To my surprise, loneliness seeped deeper into my past wounds of rejection. I was angered that I felt alone amongst a group of Christ-like sisters—friends I had expected to contrast those I had in high school.
Girlfriend, all of this is why I want you to read the following quote from Lysa TerKeurst in her book “Uninvited”:
“I know it can be painful to be alone. And I know the thoughts of being set aside are loud and overwhelmingly tempting to believe in the hollows of feeling unnoticed and uninvited. But as you pray through your feelings, see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked. There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s call for her to be set apart.”
The enemy wants me to believe that I am alone—for you to believe that you’re alone. In a crowd or by myself, I am easily apt to feel unknown, unnoticed, and uninvited.
“But as you pray through your feelings, see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked.”
Two questions come to my mind while reading this sentence in Lysa TerKeurst’s quote:
- Could my pattern of feeling set aside have to do with a bigger heart issue?
- And what does being set aside have to do with biblical truth?
One of my biggest heart issues is the tendency to wear the name tag of whatever friendship(s) I find myself in. My identity molds to those I spend most of my time with.
If I am set aside, seemingly all alone, who then do I identify with? If I am set aside, does this mean I am unnoticed and uninvited?
The biblical truth is that sometimes we are set apart in order to remind us that Dad notices and invites us personally. My time alone is a time to honestly identify as a daughter of God. I may be learning to be thankful for the loneliness. The loneliness sometimes reminds us that it has always been in God’s plan to include us (Isaiah 49:6 and Ephesians 3:6).
Maybe this article applies to you. But, maybe you’re not ready to pray for your situation because of the hurt or betrayal. I completely understand. I find myself feeling that way maybe too often.
For me, my friendship pattern showed my consistent cling to dependency on people for my identification. God continuously set me aside to be alone with Him—to prepare and to mold me into the identity He wants for me.
Consider praying through your loneliness. Maybe God is setting you aside to bring you closer to Him. He may sweetly reveal what He is preparing you for, reminding you that you are not overlooked. Try thanking Him in your loneliness and listen for what He may be setting you apart for.
words by Kayla Scott and photo by Arianna Taralson