Loneliness is a big issue for many who are struggling with sexual purity. Sexual sin is usually done in private and isolation. We withdraw from healthy relationships and embrace porn. We long for emotional connectedness and intimacy, but we turn to masturbation and nothing satisfying to show for it.
Loneliness is part of what’s going on beneath the surface. It could be one of our core issues. Deep inside, we are lonely and we’re seeking for something meaningful to meet our need.
It makes sense that we can be isolated from people and feel lonely. But isn’t it strange that we can still be around people and feel lonely. Just because we have friends doesn’t mean we are having our needs met.
Some of our relationships might be very sexual. We could be having a lot of sex, but still feel empty. Why is that?
It’s because there are deeper needs that we have that we’re not addressing:
1. Deep need for God – This is the first and primary need we have – to know our Maker. We long for Him like nothing else. What would it be like to know God deeply? How satisfying would it be if you had a one-on-one friendship with God?
2. Deep need for intimacy – Let me say right away, that intimacy is not about sex. It’s about having a deep connection to people. The best definition I’ve heard is that intimacy is “knowing somebody and being known by that person” How would it feel if someone really knew you? Maybe scary? How would it feel to deeply know someone and have a genuine relationship with them?
3. Deep need for caring relationships – We have so many superficial relationships. We can small talk to death at work, at the bar, at the party, at school. It just doesn’t meet our deep need. What would it be like it you had a person in your life who really cared about you? A person who called you and came to visit just because they cared. A person who went out of their way to show you attention and to show love.
4. Deep need for importance, to be valued – Also at the heart of lonliness the desire for someone on to value you. We long for someone to say that we’re important, that we’re a good person, that we’re doing a good job, that we’re a hard worker, that their life is better because we are alive. What would it be like to hear those things from someone?
5. Deep need to be comforted – Many of us have hurts from our past, or even now. We are wounded, and we have a deep need for someone to say “I’m sorry.” “I know what you’re going through.” “I know you’re hurt.” How would it feel to have someone say that to you and to really mean it?
As I think about these things, my own heart needs rise to the surface. I feel lonely more than I would like to. I have this deep unsettledness sometimes. I can feel this hurt that comes with being lonely. I’ve been in recovery for several years, and am still working though this one.
For a lot of guys, this stuff might sound pretty mushy and wimpy. Too emotional for you? Too touchy feeling? I understand. I was one of those guys. But recovery is making me realize how immature I was emotionally and relationally. I have a lot of friendships, but no body knew the real me. I didn’t have people around me that I thought were save enough to share the real me. I didn’t have people around that I thought could handle the real me. So I stayed very private.
But now I have people who know me, accept me, love me, and walk through the mud with me. I still feel this loneliness at times, but here are some things that have been helping me work on my lonliness and I think might help you:
1. Be Intentional – Connections and friendships don’t happen automatically. Sometimes we can get pretty angry wondering why others don’t seem to care or connect with us. I’ve found that if I want to develop friendships, I usually have to take the first step. Honestly, the other guy I reach out to is usually glad that I did. Keep being intentional.
2. Take risks – To build friendships you have to share things from yourself. You take a risk when you share about your struggles, but I think it’s a necessary risk. When you stick your neck out and break the ice on something deeper, many people will follow suit. And if they do back off, at least you know where the current limits of that relationship are. Keep taking risks.
3. Take small, new steps – If you’re not the person who is used to healthy relationships, you have to do it one small step at a time. Don’t try to manufacture a deep connection with someone in one sitting. Do it one coffee cup at a time.
4. Follow up – It’s good that you break the ice, but there has to be followup when it comes to relationships. This is another place I think it’s important to take some initiative, at least at first. Get their email address, give them a call, send them a text. Keep the connection going.
5. One less isolation step – This goes along with the small steps, but it might help for you to think along the lines of one step toward friendships and connectedness with a real person is one step away from your old isolated, private life. That may seem scary, but we probably know that we can’t stay isolated and succeed in recovery.
6. Be reminded of God’s presence – I think it’s important to encourage you that you are not alone. God is there. His is “near to the brokenhearted, and comes to the help of those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:7). God’s presence is enough through His Holy Spirit to help us with our loneliness, but He does not leave us there. God extends his care through others.
One last thing. Connecting with others who have sexual struggles is made easier by finding a support group. Support groups are safe environments where you can begin sharing common struggles. In a support group you have a head start toward good connections.
** This blog comes from the script for Episode 091 of the Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast. You can listen to the episode here
TOP TIPS FOR SEXUAL PURITY – EPISODE 091 (7:02)
Click here to download or listen to the show
Subscribe to Top Tips For Sexual Purity on I-Tunes
THE BEST ACCOUNTABILITY SOFTWARE
We are proud to be affiliated with Covenant Eyes! They have allowed us to offer you a Free 30-Day trial of their software. I my and Marsha’s opinion, it’s the best on the market. They have great filtering software and accountability software. CLICK HERE for a free 30-day trial of Covenant Eyes, and type inthe code PURITY when you check out.
Take this important step and shore up your computer with some filtering and accountability.
Podcast: Play in new window