I unknowingly live by the concept that I am never fully dressed without my iPhone in my pocket. I generally cannot go anywhere without it or else I’ll feel like I’m missing something.
My iPhone interfaces really well with my new car, a 2015 Honda Civic. The Bluetooth capabilities and the USB connectivity have taken my driving experience to a whole new level. It’s almost necessary to have my phone at the ready to play music during my drive time. Even better, I don’t even have to pause my music; the car does it for me.
So, lately, I’ve done something that’s completely outside of my normal behavior: I’ve been forgetting my iPhone in my console and have left it in my car.
Shocking, I know.
And it happened last night while I went into Chick-fil-a to pick up some dinner. I didn’t even realize it until I got to the cash register to order. At that point, in my mind, there was no turning back and getting it. My food was ordered and I had a table marker; I couldn’t let my food show up without me being there.
So I just sat down without social media, emails, YouTube, or texting. I decided to do the spiritual thing and use that time to pray. After all, I AM at the largest Christian university in the world, so I guess it’s just the right thing to do. (That was sarcasm.)
As I began to pray, my mind went to the fact that Lynchburg has been a major ghost town the past week or so. There’s barely been anyone in town, and I’ve spent a huge amount of time by myself or keeping to myself at Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, the mall, or on campus. If you know me, you know that I thrive on personal human interaction, so I’ve felt some hardcore loneliness. And it’s really hit me hard, too. I hate being by myself and being by myself for too long.
So I kept praying as I dipped my fries in ketchup and ate my chicken sandwich with no ketchup (since Rob Shepherd and Stephen Haggerty think I’m weird for putting ketchup on my chicken) in silence. And another thing came to my mind, in the form of a question.
Is loneliness a problem to be solved, or a tension to be managed?
Do I have to work to do away with loneliness, or is it just a necessary part of life that I have to deal with?
As I left Chick-fil-a and headed to the mall to walk around a bit and spend some more time around people, I came to the conclusion that it’s a both-and situation.
In this season, albeit short since within the next two weeks Lynchburg will be filled with more people, loneliness is a tension to be managed. Instead of being lonely and dwelling on it, I must fight it and surround myself with things to do and even just getting out and walking around.
I could dwell on the fact that I’m lonely because I’m not in a relationship and long to be in one. I could dwell on the fact that I spent maybe 2 hours around people yesterday, which left me wanting more interaction. But if I’m going to be fulfilled in the joy that is found in Jesus, I can’t dwell on it. I can’t let my loneliness drive me to sadness, and ultimately temptation to sin through self-pity and worry, or maybe even through impurity.
Loneliness can only be conquered through finding your identity in Jesus, the Friend who never leaves or gives up. And that’s just what I’ll do in this season.