That Loneliness is Connecting you to Awesomeness! Make the most of it.
The dictionary defines loneliness as a desolate, isolated, solitary condition or a state of being unfrequented by human beings. And during the trying days of pandemic lockdowns, loneliness created an epidemic of depression and severe anxiety for many around the world.
But just like with beauty, maybe loneliness is all in the eye of the beholder. During the lockdowns, some people responded with creative business ideas while others strengthened their relationship with God and family. Maybe it is more about how we view loneliness or choose to define it that determines if we are actually lonely.
During the time I was married and raising a family, my cup ran over with human interaction. But after the divorce, my life changed dramatically. Time spent in human interaction took a nosedive.
Yes, I was alone. But I WAS NOT any of those things the dictionary described. Those attributes were not part of my personality or my life. It was a very uncomfortable adjustment. But I absolutely refused to label myself as lonely!
If we think of our life as a journey (and it is), then we will be constantly 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 changes will include layovers and others will not.
That was how I chose to see my alone 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.
When I travel, I prefer taking nonstop flights whenever possible. I want to get from Point A to Point B quickly and with the fewest surprises. While a layover might not be the preferred experience, they can offer value for the journey. In fact, I discovered three ways a layover can get us prepared for a great experience on the next flight.
Layovers get us ready for a New Crew. In other words, we can use the layover to think about the mentors, leaders and authority figures that have been speaking into our life thus far. A 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.
It does not mean the previous or present leaders are bad people. It does not mean they are inadequate, inept, or undesirable. It simply means they might not be the appropriate voices you need to go forward.
I absolutely loved my fourth-grade teacher. To this day I still remember what Ms. Clark looked like. I even remember her cologne and especially how much she took time to encourage me.
Ms. Clark poured herself and her talents into making me a great student. Because of her leadership I received a great foundation for mathematics. However, her voice did little to help me with college statistics.
While in layover mode, we can be thankful for the mentors of yesterday and the ways they helped prepare us. But a mature person understands that some are only intended for a season and not a lifetime.
Layovers also get us ready for New Passengers. Changing planes usually presents an entirely new group of fellow travelers. The same is true during a lonely season. It gives us time to reflect on some long-time traveling companions we might need to bid farewell to on the way to our next destination. Again, it is not because they are bad people or because they have done anything wrong. It simply means not everyone from the previous flight will share your same destination.
Each time I have made a serious transition in my life, it required that I let go of certain relationships. In some cases, they were people I thought would be with me forever. While the decision was not easy, it was vitally necessary. Holding on to those traveling companion would have caused me to miss my connecting flight forward.
I heard a popular minister say that “Whatever we are unwilling to let go of is where we will get stuck.” That means we cannot allow an idol for the familiar to keep us stuck on the wrong plane, unable to jump on board the next flight.
It takes objectivity to evaluate the passengers in our lives to determine if they truly share the same desires. It takes courage to assess if their dreams align with ours. Letting go does not mean traveling solo. God already 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.
You can 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 and new connections. God has some amazing relationships in store for you!
Layovers provide opportunity to focus and be productive. Layovers can offer a golden opportunity to reflect and gain clarity on the future we really want. They give us time to step away from the busyness or fruitless activities so we can reconnect with our dreams and goals.
That’s what happened to me. During my Terminal Time I wrote my first book, “5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer.”
Now I am actively working on the second. I also discovered my love for blogging and started a small blog site that was soon followed by readers in 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 hear our own heart speaking, telling us what it wants, what it needs and what it’s going to take to make it happen. Use you layover as an opportunity for discovery or direction. It can also serve as preparation for the next destination.
Maybe you are in a “Layover” season. If so, be careful not to allow the dictionary or the dictates of society to define your life or circumstance. You are on a journey. And sometimes in the process you might experience a layover. When it happens, remember… that loneliness is preparing you for awesomeness. So, make the most of it!