Alone versus Lonely

Eryn Eddy and I had a conversation about loneliness on the God Hears Her podcast, based on my recent book, You Are Not Alone. Here are some of our thoughts – at the end you can link to the full podcast to listen in.

Elisa


Alone versus Lonely

Elisa Morgan and Eryn Eddy


Eryn: When I have been alone, there will be this little, quiet lie that will disrupt my contentment on being alone and…


Elisa: Could you call it a hiss?


Eryn: Yes, a hiss. And it will say to me, instead of enjoying a Friday night by myself and cooking dinner and maybe doing some oil painting or a puzzle or reading a book, instead of just like being so content in that; this little hiss comes in. And it reminds me that I could be doing this with somebody. Or why didn’t I get invited to that thing?


Elisa: Ooh, there you go.


Eryn: And so it’s fighting the lie - to actually be content and be alone and be happy.


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Elisa: Eryn, how you respond to this statement?

You are not alone.


Eryn: I think I experience a sense of relief when I hear that statement.


Elisa: Tell me about that. Why?


Eryn: I think because I can tend to feel like I’m alone in my emotions, in my struggles, my circumstances. I can find myself thinking I’m the only one that’s experiencing the weight or this burden or you know whatever it is that I may be going through. And so when I have a friend that says, “You are not alone, Eryn,” there is just relief in those words for me.


Elisa: Yeah, thanks for being so honest. You know I feel relief too. And I know it’s true most of the time, that I’m not alone. And I’m not talking just about my husband, Evan, or my friend, Eryn. You know I know in my heart of hearts that God has not left me alone. And there is great relief in that and companionship in that. But you know I think still even though we may know in our heads that we’re not alone, do you ever feel lonely?


Eryn: Yes, and sometimes…and I will say I…if I’m going to be like fully transparent…


Elisa: Please, yes.


Eryn: …when I have heard, you are not alone, I do find relief. But I have also found maybe an eye roll to that statement too.


Elisa: An eye roll…a push back.


Eryn: Yes, like a…a pessimistic maybe response of okay, yeah, thank you. Thank you for that.


Elisa: Or maybe a little sarcastic, right.


Eryn: Right, okay, yeah.


Elisa: Now that’s what I want to dig into today. Because I think there is this gap between the truth and the reality that when we know God and we’re in a relationship with him, we’re not alone. But we can feel like we are. And the emotion that comes to the surface is loneliness.


Eryn: There’s a difference between alone and loneliness.


Elisa: Yeah, what do you think it is?


Eryn: I think within loneliness, there is a sense of despair, of forgottenness. Alone—I think you can be content in being alone. But loneliness, I don’t know if there’s contentment but this stirring, this wrestling in our spirits for our souls of longing for a deeper intimacy and feeling like we aren’t experiencing it.


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Eryn: Let’s go back to the word longing - it’s longing for companionship, longing for intimacy. And sometimes I find myself being fully surrounded with friends and being celebrated and yet I still have that longing. Why do you think that is?


Elisa: Well that’s such a poignant, perfect question, Eryn. Because when I look at it in Scripture, I look at loneliness, and I think where did it come from? If you start off reading in Scripture in Genesis 1, 2, 3, here comes loneliness.


It’s introduced when Adam and Eve, man and woman, husband and wife, partake of the only thing they’re not supposed to partake of that the tree of knowledge between good and evil. And as a result, they’re immediately embarrassed, ashamed. They break so to speak, and they hide. And who do they hide from? They hide from God.


I think … honestly, I think that’s where the pain of alone first enters. And you and I have carried it ever since. We were never meant to be broken off in relationship from God or from each other. And so you know throughout the pages of Scripture, you’re going to see this story of God coming to rescue us from the pain of alone, to give us a way out of our lonely and a way back to him through his relationship with us through Jesus. But you know that doesn’t mean that the experience of loneliness is wiped out while we’re on this planet. I mean you see it in all kinds of people in Scripture. Hannah, who’s wailing because she doesn’t have a child and Moses, who’s on the backside of a desert for decades waiting to be used, and Elijah and depression in a cave, and Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, and you know, on and on and on.


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Eryn: Loneliness is a struggle for so many people, especially during a global pandemic that has forced us into isolation. But the truth is, we are never really alone. God has made a promise to be with us.


Elisa: So, and I don’t want us just to be all super-spiritual about this, because loneliness is so absolutely real. But the way out of loneliness, the way from lonely to unlonely, you know, at the core is connecting to God. It’s recognizing that I’m separate somehow because of the pain of alone in our world, and I don’t want to be. And so back to how we started our conversation, you know, you are not alone. There is this recognition of it. I feel alone, but I’m not alone.


So God, I invite You into my alone as my permanent partner in life. It’s just a simple cry. God, I lament. I’m alone and I want You, and I need You. And please come and live in my life with me. Please be my partner through my days and nights.


Listen to the full podcast on Loneliness on God Hears Her.


Eryn is the co-host of the God Hears Her podcast. She is the founder and CEO of So Worth Loving, a lifestyle clothing brand. Since starting in 2011, she’s grown her company to include customers in all fifty states and in thirty countries, and the company is still going strong. Eryn is the author of So Worth Loving: How Discovering Your True Value Changes Everything. This creative enjoys oil painting and singing, and she’s even had her music featured on MTV and VH1. Eryn is also an author and a speaker, and she calls Atlanta home.


Elisa Morgan's latest book is You Are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include When We Pray Like Jesus, The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.