The dictionary defines loneliness as “desolate, isolated, solitary or the state of being unfrequented by human beings.” How fun! Probably explains why so many people hope and pray they avoid that sucker all together! And if by some unforeseen set of circumstance loneliness makes its way to our doorstep, the first response is to try to do something about it.
And why the hell not? After all, who in their right mind dreams of a life filled with isolation, separation or desolation?
But just like with beauty, maybe loneliness is all in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it’s more about how we view loneliness or choose to define it that determines if we are actually lonely or not.
During my 26 year marriage my cup ran over with human interaction. Seldom a day went by that my schedule did not involve another person (mostly my spouse and son). After the devastating news of betrayal, my daily life changed dramatically. A few thousand dollars in attorney fees and several months later I found myself in a big house full of big memories with dead silence all around.
Yes I was alone. But I WAS NOT any of those things the dictionary had described. Those attributes were not part of my personality or my life. Yes the amount of time spent in human interaction had taken a nose dive. And being the people person that I am, it was an unexpected uncomfortable adjustment. But I refused to wear the name tag called “Lonely.”
If we think of our life as a journey (and it is), then we will constantly be moving in and out of transition points; from one locale to another, from one season to another. In other words, we are going to be changing planes a lot over the span of our life… some with and without layovers.
That’s how I chose to see my new season. I made the decision to redefine the so called “lonely times” as a layover before my next adventure. That decision gave me a new attitude. It kept me moving forward and upward with a positive hopeful mindset.
While a layover might not be the preferred experience, it can still provide value for the journey. In fact I discovered three ways a layover gets us prepared for a great experience on the next flight.
Layovers get us ready for a New Crew. In other words, use the layover to think about the voices and mentors, leaders and authority figures that have been speaking into your life thus far. Your layover is a great opportunity to do some soul searching and decide if those voices are going to help you get to where you want to be.
Is that “Crew” the people you want on the next leg of your journey? It does not mean they are bad people… doesn’t mean they are inadequate, inept or undesirable. It simply means they might not be the mentoring voices you need going forward.
I absolutely loved my fourth grade teacher. To this day I still remember what she looked like, her cologne and how much she encouraged me. She poured herself and her talents into making me a great student. Because of her dedication I received a great foundation for mathematics. But when I took college statistics her voice was not what I needed. Though vital at the time, her voice was designed for a season.
While in layover mode, be thankful for the voices of yesterday and how they prepared you. But be open to the idea that they might have only been for season and not a lifetime. Use your layover mode to make room for the dynamic new voices that await you.
Layovers let us journey with New Passengers. Changing planes sometimes presents an entirely new group of passengers. Meaning that you may have to bid farewell to some long time traveling companions on the way to your next destination. Again, not because they are bad people or because they have done anything wrong. It simply means not everyone from the previous flight is going where you are going.
Each time I have made a serious transition, it required me letting go of some friendships and colleagues… people I thought would be with me forever. While the decision was not easy, looking back I clearly see how necessary it was.Had I held on to those connections I would have stayed on the same plane or hung out in the terminal too long.
I heard a popular minister say that “Whatever we are unwilling to let go of is where we will get stuck.” Don’t allow stubborn fear to cause you to miss your next flight (or keep you stuck on the wrong plane). Your journey has been custom designed for YOU, and theirs for them.
Use the layover to evaluate the passengers in your life. Are they going where you’re going? Do they share your desires? Do they have the same dreams? God has people in your future who ARE going where you are going, people who share your desires and dreams for the next leg of your journey.
Send the old passengers a Christmas card. Maybe call them on their birthday. Pray for them and wish them well. But you must keep moving forward to new passengers… new connections. God has some amazing relationships in store for you!
Layovers let us make the most of Terminal Time. Layovers can offer a golden opportunity to focus on things we have been putting off. It’s also a great time to reflect and gain clarity on the future we really want. Layovers allow us to de-clutter our minds and schedules of the busyness or fruitless activities we might be engaged in. It opens us up to discover or re-discover our talents and heart desires.
That’s what happened to me. During my Terminal Time I wrote my first book “5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer,” and I am actively working on the second. I also started my blog site, which is now being followed by people in more than 85 countries! During my Terminal Time I rediscovered the hidden dreams of my childhood and it propelled me into the future my heart was secretly hoping for.
Terminal Time can help us silence the noise to more easily hear our own heart speaking to us, telling us what it wants, what it needs and what it’s going to take to make it happen. Use your Terminal Time for Discovery Time, for Direction Time and for Preparation Time. Then share it with others to help them in their Layover season.
I challenge you to make the decision today to redefine your lonely season. Don’t allow the dictionary or the dictates of society to define your life or your station in life. Remember, you are on a journey. As long as you are determined to keep moving forward you are going to be changing planes a lot. And sometimes in the process you are going to experience a layover. When that happens, embrace it, take advantage of it and see it as a golden opportunity to get ready for the next exciting destination.
To learn more on ways to pray during a difficult season, check out my latest book
5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer, available on Amazon.
#Loneliness #Prayer #Depression #Layovers #Adventure #SerialOvercomer