No one really prepares you for those moments when you are alone during the holidays as a single parent.
Lots of us crave alone time. The majority of us would say our lives are busy and filled with activities and events and a mile long to-do list. Add kids to your schedule and alone time is pretty much non existent until you become an empty nester.
Or you become a single Parent with a holiday schedule with the other parent.
This past Thanksgiving was my first holiday in which I had to abide by orders and be alone for part of it. This year was my year to have them for Thanksgiving, and then I dropped the kids off at their dad’s for the rest of the weekend. Then came home.
Now, to be fair and in hindsight, the alone time was nice. I got a lot done. I binged on the entire season 4 of Selling Sunset (I cannot wait for season 5!!). Did a little Christmas shopping. Worked out. Cleaned the apartment.
It was good. Not bad, but very good. I definitely needed it.
But the silence was deafening.
Every person I have talked to has told me that I will get used to it and that soon I will begin to crave it. Perhaps that will be true. I do enjoy alone time and because of the way things are right now, I have the kids the majority of the time so being truly alone is rare for me.
While sitting in my living area, I took a quick photo of my mantle, which now houses Christmas decorations and our new to us stockings. I wanted new decorations this year. This time last year, I purchased for the three of us a brand new Christmas tree. I couldn’t explain it then, but I could tell that the year 2021 was going to be incredibly new and exciting and that God was going to do something wonderful in my life and in my kids‘ lives. I have already highlighted all of those in previous posts, so I don’t need to share them again, but I was right.
God did and God showed up as only He could.
Back to my moment in my living room, God showed up then as well.
I am not afraid of being alone. For the last three years, emotionally and physically, I have been alone without a partner. I can do it all by myself. While this is my first voyage into independence, as I lived with my parents up until I got married, doing things on my own is not so scary to me.
The physical part of being alone isn’t what trips me up.
It is the emotional parts that I wrestle with.
The emotional portions are what most of us fight against.
Loneliness is a spirit. When it comes upon you, what it does to your mind and soul can wreck havoc on your well being and send you into a spiral. If you are an emotional person like me, you can understand a bit of what I am saying.
Being alone, in order to rest our souls and minds and bodies, is good. Alone is not the problem. People have every right to down time and to not talk or engage with others. When we engage in community and with those we love, we are not to burden them but to add value to their lives.
Want to know what else I am discovering when we confront loneliness?
There is freedom found there when we choose to face it instead of run away from it.
You ever wonder why you fill yourself and your day with activities and people and add things to your to do list?
Most of us are just afraid to be alone. We don’t mind a couple of hours here and there. But it is the day to day we don’t particularly enjoy.
I greatly appreciate those of you who love being alone. You want to know what I see in your faces?
There is peace on your countenance. Literally, you are not chained to anyone or anything. You are solid on your own and it inspires me. That isn’t to say that you don’t have your own hang ups. Those who are fiercely independent have wrestling matches within their souls. I love several people who enjoy love being alone and need that time. Just know that we don’t begrudge you for it. In fact, I would even admit to you that I wish I was a little more like you. That I didn’t have to fill my days with activity. A lot of times it is so I can prove to myself that I am of worth and value. You all show me that I don’t have to do that in order to be valuable.
I want to experience freedom. And I caught glimpses of it this past weekend as I sat by myself, reveling in the silence and doing my best to appreciate this moment to myself that I do not get very often. Experiencing moments of loneliness is not a bad thing. No one can ever say to you, honestly, that they have never felt lonely. If they do, I would venture they aren't fully being honest with themselves...or with you.
When we face our loneliness, a great question to ask is why we feel this way, and what are we trying to fill it with?
What do we currently believe is missing from our lives that we need to fill that void?
It could be a number of things.
For that short period of time, because I missed my kids and the silence was so loud and I was going stir crazy, I tried to fill it with activity, because I believed that is what I needed to do in order to take my mind off of what I was feeling.
Whenever I experience moments of loneliness, I know it is because I believe I am missing something, so I try to compensate for it and fill it. However, we all know that only God can fill the void. People, stuff, activities....they are counterfeit. Experiencing loneliness, I believe, is a warning to the soul. We can choose to give in to the feeling and therefore whine and gripe and circle around endlessly trying to fill whatever it is we are trying to fill.......
Or.....we can choose to stare it down and ask ourselves the questions we want to avoid. We know the solution is Jesus. Know the real thing and you will instantly recognize that what you may be striving for in order to fill that void is counterfeit and temporary at best.
So, yes, I was a little bit lonely this past weekend...at least for about 24 hours. But I am grateful for it. God showed up and revealed a great deal to me in that time. I fully believe He never wastes the opportunities to teach us and draw us back to Him, no matter where we may find ourselves. Lonely. Happy. Sad. Peaceful. Exuberant. Reminiscent. Hopeful. Unsure. In the time that I had, I had fun and I had an opportunity to ponder and figure some things out. It was good.
Personally, I believe that we should stop running away from our own humanity and all that comes with it. We don't have to pause living and loving others simply because we have a hard time with parts of ourselves. It happens. We are not robots. We are people created by God and we are emotional beings. I am so glad that we are. I am so grateful for my emotions that come up because they are like signals that something is going on and we get to dig a little deeper to understand and to learn and grow. Why oh why do we insist on faking it or stuffing it so that we appear to have it all together or that things don't bother us or that we don't get it right all the time. You can either run away or you can face it.
I want to be one who faces whatever it is that comes up. Whatever feeling/emotion that may be stirring, I am no longer going to run from it. Feelings aren't always the truth, sometimes they are our imaginations gone wild (this is me. I am the queen of assuming and allowing my mind to go to places it shouldn't), but I won't run from them either.
You are a human being. One very loved by God and created by His very own hands.
If loneliness is an emotion you are experiencing right now, if you are a single parent like me and experiencing your first holiday season on your own, or you are just wrestling with specific parts of yourself that you find either unlikeable or just difficult....I hope you won't run away from it all. That is the easiest thing to do, really. Run away whenever we feel anything that is negative or uncomfortable. Do the very opposite if at all possible.
I hope that you will choose to face it, learn from it, and then grow from it. You are worth that effort.
Rooting for you,