You may know a lot of people, or not.
Whether you do or not, you may feel lonely or not.
If you are popular, meaning you know a lot of people and have no shortage of friends, then I’m happy for you and hope you continue to enjoy their company.
If you aren’t popular and have only a few friends and therefore feel lonely because of that, then I’d like to share with you a word or two.
While there is a negative correlation between number of friends and loneliness, the first does not necessarily cause the second. You can be surrounded by fans upon fans and still feel lonely. Conversely, you can be totally alone and yet not feel lonely at all.
I have in recent times been reflecting on this. It certainly was not easy seeing many of my friends spending their Decembers fruitfully while I spend my time in my office, intentional to people who were, for the most part, unavailable. Of course there were the select few, but I did not have as many available friends as them, so I was comparably less popular.
For a while that had affected me. This was linked to the 29 April post, on how I cannot trust the people around me to care enough to celebrate my birthday. It’s also linked to my relatively less fruitful CNY where my different circles of friends were all busy, either with duty or overseas or pre-planned activities. In fact, the root of it all is this question:
Who am I?
Am I the number of people I please or impress? Am I the number of friends I have? Am I the number of meetups I have?
Or am I who God says I am?
Because if the answer to the last question is ‘yes’, then the answers to the previous questions will be ‘no’, and if that is the case, then popularity will no longer matter to me. It’s not important anymore. I can have many friends, few friends or no friends, but if who I am is determined on who God says I am, then the number of friends is irrelevant to how I am satisfied with the life I am given. I can live free from the need to compare myself to others.
I am who God says I am.
Other people may celebrate their birthdays every year and 29 April goes by unnoticed every year. I used to stumble at that. Now it doesn’t bother me anymore. This day is not about me but about Him. All that I am is found in Him. I am accepted firstly in the Beloved, then in the people the Beloved have placed around me.
I believe they have planned something cool for me. If not, then I know that God has planned something cool for me, and I have nothing to worry about. Compared to my identity in Christ, my identity in my birthday can perish.
So can my security in friends, since I find security in Christ.
Today, if you feel lonely, whether with people or otherwise, take this piece of wisdom from Pastor Prince, “The cure for a lonely heart is to be alone with Jesus.” Be set free from the bondage of social pressure by being captivated by the acceptance of God in the Beloved.
This way, even if you are alone, you will never be lonely.