Bible Reading: John 15:9-16
The greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. John 15:13
“I DON’T KNOW what my problem is,” Tamara blurts through tears. “I have friends. It’s not like I ever have to sit alone. But I still feel lonely in a crowd. I’m not sure any one understands me — or wants to. Even my teachers. I think I could die and nobody would even notice I’d left.”
Making it through middle school or high school minus feelings of loneliness is like darting through cold season without getting a runny nose. Sooner or later you’re probably going to feel like a giant drip.
Like a runny nose, lonely feelings tell you something is amuck. Loneliness might seem like it’s about popularity or looks. It’s actually more about a God-given desire to be loved and accepted. That’s a deep, healthy need everyone has. When that need goes unmet, you feel lonely.
Most folks try to get rid of loneliness in one of a couple ways.
Approach # 1: Act like a worm by crawling away from the crowds. Here’s how worms think: “I’m lonely because nobody loves me. Nobody loves me because I’m not lovable. The safest thing I can do is burrow underground. I’m never going to get close to others.” The worm approach pushes you even further from people.
Approach #2: Act like a puppy by doing anything to get people to like you. Puppies think, “I’m lonely because nobody loves me. Nobody loves me because I’m not trying hard enough. I’m going to get the attention of others, even if I make a fool of myself or go against my standards.” The puppy approach pushes you to do things you later regret.
Here’s a better plan for dealing with loneliness: Act like the child of God that you are. Feeling loved and accepted starts with your relationship with Christ, who is the only one able to meet the deepest needs of your life. Talking to Jesus and reading his Word — the Bible — are steps to strengthening your friendship with him. He laid down his life for you, so it’s obvious that he regards you as a friend worth dying for (see John 15:13). That’s powerful comfort when you wonder if anyone cares.
God, of course, wants to help you behave better than a worm or a puppy dog — more on that later. But your first step to crawling out of loneliness is to get close to the God who wants to be your best friend.
REFLECT: Like any true friend, Jesus is ready to hear your concerns about loneliness and friendship. So when in your life have you felt loneliness?
PRAY: Take a few minutes to tell God about times you feel lonely.
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