Search

How to Deal with Loneliness during the Holidays

Do an internet search for “how to deal with loneliness,” especially during the holidays, and you will find hundreds of ideas to battle it— from calling a friend to getting on medication. There are behavior-changing ideas, too, such as creating a list of activities ahead of time to prepare for the lonely season. All these are good ways to help you deal with loneliness.

However, although these tips can help in the short term, they don’t necessarily deal with the long-term loneliness problem at its source. Unless the “weed of loneliness” is dug up by the root, it will return.

 

What the Bible Says about Loneliness

Christians are not exempt from the pain of loneliness. Adam, David, Jesus, Elijah, and many more in the Bible had to deal with loneliness throughout their lives.

 

Adam

God created Adam and set him in the Garden of Eden. Then He said, 

“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).

God gave Adam the animals, but those did not fill the void of loneliness. Adam had no family, partner, or helper of the same nature. God graciously provided Adam with someone to partner with on his earthly mission, Eve. Though Adam likely didn’t feel intense loneliness, something was missing from his human experience because God created us to connect with others.

 

David

David cried out to God,

“Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins… Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.” (Psalm 25:16-18, 20).

David admitted his loneliness, asked for forgiveness, and declared his trust in God.

 

Jesus

Jesus was despised and rejected by man. Isaiah 53:3 says:

“…a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” 

Jesus wept, knowing the outcome of His people rejecting Him. His family didn’t fully “get” Him as He grew up and walked alongside them. Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that He “got us” and our feelings of loneliness. Jesus didn’t just understand it; He dealt with loneliness by destroying it. 

This means that as a child of God, you are not alone, though you might sometimes feel lonely. You are fully known, loved, and redeemed by God. No amount of loneliness can change that.

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”—1 Corinthians 13:12

 

Loneliness vs. Being Alone

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Loneliness is an emotional state associated with how connected you feel to others. Being alone is a physical state. You can “be lonely” but also be standing next to someone you deeply love or profoundly loves you. You can also not feel lonely but be physically alone. 

The Bible tells us we are created to be in a relationship with God and others. Because of sin, our relationships are broken. As a result, we have to deal with loneliness.

 

Lonely man sitting on the end of a park bench, propping his head up with his hand on a cold, dreary autumn day.

 


 

3 Ways to Deal with Loneliness at Its Root

 

1. Understand Feeling Lonely Is Not a Sin

Many isolate themselves and avoid God and others as a way of responding to loneliness. But understand that feeling lonely is not a sin. If the response to isolation is believing lies such as you have nothing to offer, you don’t matter, or it’s never going to get better, then sin is birthed. Your response to the loneliness is essential.

 

James 1:14-15 says… 

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

 

We can be tempted into despair, agreeing with the lies of the enemy and acting upon them when we feel lonely. The Bible says our thoughts and desires draw us away. What (or Who) are we pulled away from? God! When we feel lonely, we can be tempted to deal with it by drawing ourselves into unhealthy or ungodly ways of coping, possibly habits or thoughts that previously enslaved us.
Our old selves always look for excuses to return to old patterns. But God calls us into something new.

 

Dealing with Loneliness during the Holidays

Talk to God about the temptation to be “drawn away” into old habits and patterns during the holidays. Identify the lies and replace them with a truth from God’s Word. Ask Him to remind you of who you are in Him. Pause and reflect when you feel lonely, especially during the holidays. See these moments as opportunities to draw closer to God and overcome—with the help of the Holy Spirit—the temptation of going back to the old self by putting on the new self (see Ephesians 4:22).

 

2. Understand the Power of Repentance

When you feel lonely, it can be hard to connect with God. This is because of the spiritual warfare around loneliness, Satan trying to stop you from coming to God with an open and honest heart. The Bible says you can boldly approach in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Dealing with loneliness is when you need mercy and grace. God wants you to experience freedom that can only come from Him. 

 

Psalm 27:6-8 says…

“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’”

 

The power of repentance, which means “to turn the other way/round” or “to change your mind,” comes when you turn to seek the face of Jesus. In His presence is where the stronghold of loneliness breaks off, and freedom and love are experienced. You can be honest with God. Nothing you think, say, do, or pray surprises Him. He wants you to pour out your heart to fill you with what is true, noble, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy (see Philippians 4:8). 

 

Dealing with Loneliness during the Holidays

The holidays can be lonely and busy at the same time. Take time to slow down each day to get quiet with God. Make this a priority, especially during this season. Repent, telling God about the lies you’ve believed and how you have agreed with them. Ask Him to cleanse your mind, washing you with His Word. Declare who you are in Jesus and how there is no room for loneliness because He will never leave or forsake you. 

 

3. Understand the Need for Connection

As mentioned, feeling lonely isn’t a sin. However, how you respond to the feeling is critical. This will determine the path you take moving forward. You can respond by giving way to the feeling and retreating or isolating, not connecting with God or others. This is the tactic the enemy uses to keep you in despair. The other option is to turn to God, joining Him and others. This is the path to freedom.

 

John 8:36 says…

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

 

The only way to true freedom is through Jesus. Spend time in honest, repentant prayer with God, then reach out to someone. Maybe this is a friend or mentor. If loneliness is all-consuming, especially during the holidays, connect with others in our online group “Surviving the Holidays.” Discover more and register here.

 

If you are dealing with loneliness due to pain and hurt in your past, check out Re:generation, a safe place to process past hurt, pain, personal struggles, and destructive thought patterns. 

 

Dealing with Loneliness during the Holidays

Decide today that you will spend time in prayer and then connect with someone to talk about the loneliness you are experiencing. It can be hard to do this during the holiday season, but ask God to prepare the heart of someone to speak life into you. You will be surprised how God will lift you through others when you step out in faith and make a connection.