Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the
Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 ESV
"Alone Doesn't Have to Mean Lonely"
Written by Joyce Meyer
A major problem facing many people today is loneliness. As I travel the world, I see an increasing number of people requesting help and guidance on handling loneliness in their lives.
In the Bible God tells us we are not alone. He wants to deliver, comfort and heal us. But when people encounter painful losses in their lives, sadly, many never get over them. Sometimes when sudden tragedy occurs, the hurt seems unbearable. Without help, a sense of loneliness can actually settle on a person or family like a cloud, and it doesn't seem to go away.
There are many causes of loneliness, but many people don't realize that they don't have to live with it. They can confront it and deal with it. Loneliness often manifests as an inner ache, a vacuum, or a craving for affection. Its side effects include feelings of emptiness, uselessness or purposelessness.
Are you alone (independent, solitary, on your own)? Or, are you lonely (desolate, deserted, dejected due to a lack of companionship)? There is a very real difference. It’s important to realize that just because you are alone, it doesn't mean you must be lonely or lonesome. While it may not always be possible to avoid being alone, there are always answers to loneliness. Many times loneliness results from a trauma or crisis due to the death of a loved one, a divorce, or separation. When something happens that makes us realize that things are never going to be the way they once were, it often creates crisis or trauma in our lives, which can lead to a sense of loneliness and despair.
Like a healing wound, the pain may be felt for a long time, but complete recovery requires daily improvement. When a physical wound refuses to heal, it indicates there’s an infection that must be dealt with. I believe the same is true of emotional wounds: the emotional part of us should heal just like the physical part of us. God gave us emotions just as He gave us physical bodies. He has provided for our emotional restoration in Him just as He has provided for it physically. While it is true that you may always miss the person or the thing that was lost, it doesn’t mean you must suffer permanent loneliness.
I believe there are two things anyone wishing to overcome loneliness must do
1. Know that God is with you all the time. In the Bible, God reminds us that He is always with us and He'll never forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). Loneliness often leads us to ask ourselves all sorts of questions that can't be answered, such as: What if I am alone for the rest of my life? What if this pain I am feeling never goes away? What if a problem arises that I don't know how to handle on my own? What if...what if...what if...? The questions could go on and on endlessly. Chances are, you'll never be able to answer the "what ifs" in life. But as long as you know that the Lord is with you, you can be assured that He has all the answers you need. 2. Press aggressively into a new life. Not everything in your life is over; just one part of it has ended. One season has passed and another can now begin—if you are willing to take action. Don't just passively sit and wait for something to happen or someone to come along. Go make new friends. Find someone else who is lonely and be a friend to that person. You will reap what you sow, and God will return that friendship many times over. Let the loneliness you feel turn into compassion for other lonely people, and then decide to do something about it!
REFLECT & RESPOND
1. Read the poem“Footprints” to yourself or with a child or friend.
2. Share thoughts about the poem.
3. Have children draw a picture of what they think the poem is about and share it with you.
4. With the mindset of Jesus, reach out to a friend or family member with a supportive text, email, meme or emoji that sends a message of love letting them know you are here for them just as God is always here for each of us.
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
"A Prayer for When you Feel Alone"
By Debbie McDaniel
Thank you that you see us right where we are, in the midst of our pain and struggle, in the middle of our desert land. Thank you that you have not forgotten us and never will. Forgive us for not trusting you, for doubting your goodness, or not believing you’re really there. We choose to set our eyes on you today. We choose joy and peace when the whispered lies come and say that we should have no joy or peace.
Thank you that you care for us and your love over us is so great. We confess our need for you. Fill us fresh with your Spirit, renew our hearts and minds in your truth. We ask for your hope and comfort to continue to heal our hearts where they’ve been broken. Give us the courage to face another day, knowing that with you before us and behind us, we have nothing to fear.
In Jesus’ Name,
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor’s wife, and dramatist, whose heart is to encourage others and share hope from God’s word in the daily grind of life. Her soulful, genuine approach to communicating truth inspires others to live each day with the fresh awareness of God’s presence and joy. Learn more about Debbie at: debbiemcdaniel.com
THRU THE LENS
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's word
"You Are Not Alone"
By Ashley Russell
Do you ever feel as if you are alone? Alone in your day to day activities, alone in decisions, alone in your marriage? There have been many situations where I have felt like the only one in the room or alone in making decisions.
I recently was approached by someone who was interested in purchasing one of my businesses. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and love to create things so our house is always in motion. Honestly, I hadn't really given much thought to selling this business. One night over dinner, I mentioned it to my Husband and wanted to know his thoughts on the situation. His reaction was less than hopeful. He basically said "Whatever you want, babe!". Well then... that didn't really answer my question or help guide me into making any decision. Now, before you think, "Man, he's not very supportive"... my husband is the most supportive person I know! He has watched me create things over the years and is my number one cheerleader. But it didn't make a difference to him whether I would sell or not. Although, it did leave me feeling alone in the situation.
The reality was, I wasn't alone in the situation. See, God is always involved in his children's lives. Whether its school activities, business decisions, or a medical diagnosis. He is always there! Many people in the bible felt loneliness. Moses felt alone while wandering in the desert for 40 years, Elijah felt alone in the cave, Paul & Silas felt deserted and alone in the jail. Even Jesus must have felt loneliness when his disciples deserted him. But that feeling of loneliness was so far from the truth. Jesus said, “I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32).
God is with us every second of the day. Guiding us, speaking to us, and comforting us. Amidst all of the chaos and loud noise surrounding your life, God is whispering to you saying ...
"You are not alone!"
Take a moment to thank God for being with you throughout your day, especially the moments where you struggle the most. Allow Gods voice to comfort your heart and together let's glorify God. He is always with us, and He wants us to fellowship with Him throughout the day.
Thank you for always being there with! With me while we are just doing life
and with me during the hard times. Help me to become more aware of
your presence. My I always seek you first.
In Jesus name
Ashley Russell lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina with her husband, Jon, and two boys, Austin & Caden. She is a creative entrepreneur, a local business owner, and a Why Not Charleston contributor.