Written by Christie Love, Founder and Executive Director of LeadHer
She sits alone at her kitchen table, staring out the window while absentmindedly running her finger around the rim of her coffee cup. The room around her was silent but each of the thoughts tumbling around her mind competed for her attention and focus.
The chores around the house that need to get done.
The electric bill that is due.
The birthday gift that she needs to buy for her nephew.
The deadline that is quickly looming on the project that is due.
The concerns over her future.
The anxiety over relationships that are strained right now.
I wish there was someone who understood me.
I wish there was someone who I could call for advice and insight.
She pulled out her cell and thumbed through her contacts.
654 names… with each name came an excuse.
They just had a new baby.
They are away on a business trip.
They have so much going in their life right now.
I haven’t talked to them in years- I couldn’t possibly call now out of nowhere.
She tucked the phone back into her pocket- breathing a huge sigh.
One singular thought suddenly silenced all the other thoughts…
Why does life have to be so lonely?
She stood up to start getting ready- she had a church event this afternoon. She needed to shake this off… she would be expected to be upbeat and okay in just a couple of hours.
Two hours later she walked into a room full of women- feeling alone, disconnected, and craving connection. However, she smiled and engaged in one shallow conversation after another– unbeknownst to her… with women who were feeling exactly how she was.
Who is this woman? She is nearly every woman.
When I have the chance to sit down with women over coffee for any length of time- almost every conversation has an undercurrent of a similar struggle- loneliness.
Loneliness in marriage.
Loneliness in friendships.
Loneliness in the workplace.
Loneliness in the church.
Loneliness in leadership.
There are very few women who I have talked to that I have talked to who do not feel lonely at one time or another, including myself.
Here is the great irony… as women we are united by our loneliness- yet our refusal to talk about it keeps us separated and alone.
We are afraid to be vulnerable.
We are worried that we will be judged.
We are anxious that people will think less of us if they knew how we felt.
This month our LeadHer Local Chapters are talking about Mentoring and women are being challenged with two things… have a mentor and be a mentor.
Here is the snag…
Many women do not believe that they are qualified to be a mentor.
Many women do not think they are worth mentoring.
Yet they all desire connection.
This is the great (silent) longing.
The longing of a gender that craves connection and heart connection.
The longing of a culture that has become more connected then ever digitally – while sacrificing depth.
The longing of a church that is designed for fellowship yet settles for fake smiles and shallow conversations.
There are two choices that lie before our generation: 1) To acknowledge our silent longing for connection and be proactive in creating community and real relationships with one another. 2) To feel the longing inside ourselves yet- ignore it and continue to settle for the shallowness of the status quo.
Connections are not to be an optional part of the human experience- we were not created to do life alone. We were uniquely designed by our heavenly father to connect in relationship with Him and with the people that he brings into our lives. Here is the catch- connections do not just happen alone- they require someone to intentionally initiate them.
Is it easy to change? No.
Is it easy to open up and show our scars? No.
Is it going to be painful and sometimes messy? Yes.
Is it worth it- YES.
I challenge you (and myself) to take one action today to take a step towards intentionally creating connection with someone in your life. Call an old friend. Invite someone to coffee. Have someone over for dinner.
Reach out to someone… don’t just wait for someone to reach out to you.