From the moment I accepted my first job in New York, I was bursting with eagerness to arrive in this vibrant city. I had dreamt of living here my entire life and could not have been more excited to start a new season of endless possibilities. I had this vision of stepping out of a cab and instantly being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, tons of friends, activities, events, and of course, work work work.
My idyllic vision was pretty much quashed immediately. My roommate and I moved into a completely empty apartment. And I’m not kidding when I say empty; I literally slept on a pile of clothes for a week while I waited for my mattress to be delivered. Two days after my arrival, my roommate and her three best friends (almost everyone I knew in the city at the time) left to attend a wedding in Europe and were gone for more than a week.
All of my other friends were busy with work and travel when I reached out. As a girl who grew up in a family of five kids then transitioned to living in a sorority house, it was safe to say this was the loneliest I had ever been. I had genuinely never spent an extended period of time without being surrounded by other people – a pretty ironic turn of events considering I was in the busiest city in the United States.
If this season had happened to me just a year before, I would have been in trouble. But thankfully, something was now happening in my heart. Although I was lonely, I knew I was not alone; Jesus was with me.
My go-to activities on weekends (and even some weeknights) had always involved friends. Since that was not an option, I decided to watch a video about loneliness posted by one of my favorite Christian authors. She described how she used her alone time to communicate more intimately with Jesus. She wrote Him letters about her dreams, asked Him questions about her future, and sat in silence with Him simply to experience His presence.
These were all foreign concepts to me. While I had gotten better about spending time at the beginning of my days to read devotionals and pray, I had never dedicated an entire day or night to just “hang out” with Jesus. Now, I had absolutely no excuse. No distractions, no one else to turn to.
Those two weeks turned out to be one of the most precious experiences in my life thus far. I gave thanks, asked Jesus questions about my future husband, my career path, and HIS plans for me. I told Him I needed His help to align my hopes and dreams with His will. I truly experienced a peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7).
A couple of days before my roommate got back, I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood. Out of nowhere, I noticed a girl on the street who had been in my sorority. I ran to her and said hello, asking what she was doing in New York. She was visiting a friend and was exploring the city.
I couldn’t believe it. What were the chances that this girl would be in my neighborhood, especially at the exact time I had decided to take a walk? I offered to show her around the area and we ended up having a great afternoon chatting and enjoying the summer weather.
Even though none of my close friends had been available for a full two weeks, God gave me a sweet and completely unexpected experience with someone I hadn’t seen in years. How cool is He? He not only comforted me in my loneliness; He reunited me with an old friend at the perfect time.
If you’re experiencing loneliness, remember you are never truly alone. God isn’t just sitting around watching you, He’s patiently waiting for you to talk to Him, to experience His glorious presence. I learned that loneliness can be one of the greatest blessings because it forces us outside of our own way and allows us to try new things.
Use your time alone to commune with the One who created you, who loves you like no other and who has an amazing plan for your future if you are willing to listen to Him. You won’t believe the surprises He has in store for you when you dedicate your time to Him.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)