It was a little over half way through my semester abroad this past Spring, when for the first time I began to feel really alone. Being in a foreign country thus far hadn’t left me feeling isolated or scared. While I had moments of missing home or familiar friends, I embraced the adventure of seeing new places, getting involved in new communities, and meeting new people. And God certainly blessed me to do those things!
However, we know that all good things don’t last forever, and thus a feeling of loneliness began to overcome me. I felt some uncertainty in my friendships because of some complications in the new friend circle I had made. I struggled with connecting to other folks at my school. Deciding how to spend my time weighed on me each new day. This was no way to spend four months of opportunity abroad, and I knew it.
Sharing my heart with a friend from home, I realized one of the biggest roots to my problem. My loneliness wasn’t the fault of my friends, nor the fault of those whom I no longer called friend. It was mine.
Every day I spent without the company of a tangible friend felt wasted to me. In reality, the only thing I had wasted was the knowledge that Jesus was walking right beside me the whole time. My friend helped me realize my fear of being alone with God. With the absence of human affection, there is only me and Christ. Because I didn’t value the time I could spend with Him 1-on-1, it translated into an impending feeling of isolation.
Looking back, it seems so ridiculous that I didn’t understand spending time with Jesus is the most valuable use of our time, no matter where we are in the world or what season we’re in. To conquer this fear, I began to go on what I like to call Jesus Dates. In Italy, that usually consisted of grabbing a cappuccino at a bar and reading for a while, then roaming the streets thinking and admiring with no set direction until my tired legs brought me home. Maybe a date with Jesus looks a little different for you. Maybe its getting some brunch by yourself and then getting your nails done. Maybe it’s going for a hike, or having a picnic by the lake. No matter what it looks like, don’t be afraid to do things by yourself, because at the end of the day, you’re never really alone.