Doing Life Together is a popular term and is used in Evangelical circles quite often. You have probably heard about the fact that Christians are meant to do life together. It is also a very popular phrase in the secular world. It’s a great description since life is meant to be lived or done with others. Yet, today, in our social-media-driven world of constant busyness, tweets, and 1-minute-drive-through life, people are lonely. There’s a lot of “doing” but not together. There are friends but not those who are closer than a brother. How doing life together defeats loneliness is an important thing to know.
Loneliness happens in church too. We stay really busy with events and programs which are all wonderful. We do them together but don’t really get to know each other. When I think of doing life together, I think of doing it with people who know me. Not just people who know ‘of’ me, but people who know me. I can come to church and multiple events with you, talk briefly, know your name and who your kids are, yet really not know you. We are busy but don’t know how “doing” life together defeats loneliness.
Social Media and Loneliness
Social media has added a whole new layer to the ‘doing life together’ phrase. There are some very lonely people who spend hours and hours on social media but no one really knows them because you don’t have to be ‘you’ there. You can be anything or anyone except yourself. You can mix lies and truth and receive the same back from others. So there you are doing Facebook (for instance) together, yet nothing is real and you are lonely.
You can also have the opposite experience with social media. A few months ago I became part of a group of ladies via a website, Zoom, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and blogging. I have never met one of them face-to-face but am getting to know them and they are getting to know me. I consider them to be my friends in one area of my life – one circle. I ‘talk’ to at least one of them every day. The reason I can count them as friends in one part of my life is that we each share openly and honestly about our lives through our Christian blogs. We don’t share things that would embarrass or hurt family members. We do share current and past struggles, strengths and weaknesses, life-tips which have worked for us, Scripture, encouragement, and the readiness to help people. We help each other.
Varied Circles of Friends
This group of friends does not represent my whole life, just one circle in my life. I have another circle of friends I have known for years and years and we have that same openness with each other face-to-face. I have another circle of friends in my church. Some are part of 2 or 3 different circles in my life. I do part of my life with some of my friends.
Hopefully, you have more than one circle of people you are doing life with. I also have my husband and grown family and we do several circles of life together. I have a circle of friends I ride my motorcycle with. Even my husband isn’t part of that circle because he doesn’t ride but encourages me to do so because he knows I love it.
Varied Levels of Friends
“So, what’s your point Fleda?” you may be asking. We need to do life together. We need circles in which we do life with the people in the circle. We need circles that overlap. We each have multiple parts of ourselves which need fulfillment. I love to write, hence my social media circle. I have a circle of face-to-face friends who also write so our circles converge on occasion. I have my motorcycle circle which overlaps into my church circle because of those at church who also ride. I believe this represents a healthy lifestyle.
We need to look at our circles of life. Are there different people in each one or are they all the same? Do the people in your circles build you up and support you? Do you have a variety of circles? Do you have at least one circle of very close friends? Very close friends are the ones you can call and they will be there immediately to help you. Hopefully, you have more than one circle of that kind of people. Not every circle of people is going to be ‘very close’ and there will be different parts of your life you may or may not share with them. That’s how it is for me. I have friends I met through work who are very close. Others who are acquaintances or casual friends. I have both types of friends at church, on social media and face-to-face.
Mixed Up Circles
I can give you an example of the mixing of circles. I have a very close face-to-face friend. We have known each other for years and know a lot about each other. We share our struggles, quirks and more. A few years ago, God told both of us to write. We discussed it, weren’t really sure what it all meant but started down the path. She started a blog, I did not. We each wrote a book and went through that entire adventure together, agreeing that God had tricked us by not revealing to us the depth of the work involved!
We each published our books. I started a blog. My friend met some people online who also blog and introduced me to the group which I joined. Now, we are both members of the group and continuing to do this together while also writing separately. One friend led to a new circle of friends! I keep the first friend and get a whole bunch more! It’s a win/win of doing life together. I’m not just staying busy with them, I’m sharing the things that are most important to me with them and they are honoring that. This is how to do life together and defeat loneliness.
Take Some Risks
To do life together and defeat loneliness, you have to put yourself out there and be real. When I first started writing, I went to a Writer’s Conference and learned that one of the most basic keys is that you must be genuine in your writing. Even though someone may not know you, they will know whether or not you are being genuine. If you aren’t, you probably won’t last long.
If you are struggling with loneliness, ask yourself some questions. The purpose is not to find things wrong with yourself because there is no blame for being lonely. It’s just to help you figure out how to end the loneliness.
- How many circles of friends do you have?
- Within your circles, do you have some who are very close? Could you share your struggles with them?
- Do you also have acquaintances? We need friends, very close friends, and acquaintances.
- Do you have friends you can laugh and cry with?
Cultivate New Relationships
There aren’t any wrong answers. These questions are just a way to see if perhaps there are some relationships you could cultivate. Maybe you have a close friend in one circle who could introduce you to a whole new circle. Making new friends is wonderful. However, the very best friendships are the ones that have survived the years, the miles, and the trials!
Now ask yourself:
- What could I do to deepen and strengthen my friendships?
- Is there something I’m afraid of that is holding me back?
- Are there some people I would love to know better but I’m afraid they don’t want to get to know me?
- Are there some new life-adventures I have wanted to step into but have procrastinated?
Try Something New
Maybe there is something you want to do but you have just put it off. I didn’t learn to ride a motorcycle until I was 59!. I didn’t know any other woman who rode. I got online and found out that there was a group called Women on Wheels which had a chapter near me. I emailed the contact person and a few of the ladies came over and had lunch with me.
Doing this was totally outside of my comfort zone. I am not an extrovert. However, I really wanted to ride and wanted to ride with some other women so I stepped out. These ladies have become close and deep friends. if one of them needed something today, I would be there. They have already done so for me. I say this to encourage you to do the same thing – step out and try something new!
Experiences With Loneliness
Loneliness is isolation. We have all experienced it. I grew up as an only child in a split, dysfunctional home. I knew what it was to be isolated with no one to talk to. Having pain and no one to help. My mother was an alcoholic so there was no talking with her. I experienced it again after my first husband died. We had been together since I was 16 and we did everything together. Our family was grown when he passed away so it was just me and my dogs at home learning to live alone. I finally got used to it but I know what loneliness is. I had to learn how doing life together defeats loneliness.
I also know that one of the things I had to do was – do what I didn’t want to do! I have a friend who is single. I had never been single. The weekends were very lonely so one day I asked her what sounded like a very stupid question! What do you do on Saturdays? I told her I knew it sounded stupid but I had never been down this road before. She gave me some practical solutions like calling her during the week and arranging to do something together on the weekend! I didn’t think of that because I assumed everyone was already really busy every weekend. It was hard for me to ask but I did and that question has led the two of us into a great relationship.
Breaking the Cycle
Breaking the cycle of loneliness may require taking some risks. There is no simple answer to all the types of loneliness. One can feel alone in a crowd. A person can have friends and yet feel alone and isolated. The cure for loneliness is not to just have more friends. One of the issues is the quality of friendships. We need deep, close friendships and we don’t require hundreds of them. One of the greatest human needs is to feel needed. Deep friends need you and you need them. “Doing” life together is not just participating in activities. It is a deeper level of participation in each other’s true inner self. That kind of “doing” life together can defeat loneliness.
Adopting a New Perception
It is said that one of the cures for loneliness is to work on changing your perception. Here is a quote from psychcentral.com:
It’s realizing that sometimes people aren’t able to meet up with you, not because there is something inherently wrong with you, but because of other things going on in their lives. Maybe the person that you wanted to have dinner with wasn’t able to accept your invitation because it was too short notice for them, and they had already promised someone else they would have drinks. People who aren’t lonely realize this and, as a consequence, don’t get down or start beating themselves up when someone says no to their invitations. When you don’t attribute “failures” to yourself, but rather to circumstances, you become much more resilient in life and can keep going on, and have the strength to do so. Consequently, you feel more empowered, less helpless/hopeless, and more in control.
Getting rid of loneliness is also about letting go of cynicism and your mistrust of others. So next time you meet someone new, whether at an upcoming holiday party, in a professional setting, or on a date, try to lose that protective shield around you, and really allow them in, even though you don’t know what the outcome will be. You might just surprise yourself… in a good way.
I can think of another thing that helps to chase away loneliness – a relationship with your heavenly Father. Relationship is what He has always wanted. He wants it with everyone so that includes you. His love is unending, non-judgmental, pure, given freely, and available 24/7. Yes, we also need human interaction. However, God’s love can help give us a correct perspective on the imperfect humans around us so that we don’t take their quirks so personally. Doing life together with God can also defeat loneliness!
If you are lonely, reach out to a current friend, a church, a trusted family member or find a good Doctor to talk with. Don’t beat yourself up. In fact, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Take some positive steps to get out of loneliness. Solitude and loneliness are not the same things. I learned to enjoy solitude.Mother Teresa - We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. Click To Tweet
Mother Teresa said this: “the greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love…”
So, find love – the pure love from heaven and the flawed love of the people around you. It’s there.
1 John 4:16, “ And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
Psalm 86:15, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 86:5, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
These are just a few of the many, many Scriptures about God’s love. You can print out these Scriptures by clicking on the link below. It’s free.
I pray that you find God’s great love and let it fill your life and that you have many friends in lively, loving circles doing life together.
You might also enjoy reading – Women Changing the World Part 1