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Feelings of loneliness and longing.
  • Hi there chaps, I'm sorry it's been quite a while, am very busy with work these days. If you would be so kind, I need your words of advice.

    For those of you who don't know me, I'm 18, in my first year at university away from home. Lately, I've been having feelings of loneliness and longing for someone to free me from my isolation I suppose. It's not that I am a complete loner; I am quite sociable and am well known amongst my peers, but I because of my faith I am unable to fully delve and integrate amongst everybody there. I don't go to clubs for example, and (as you may or may not know), a vast amount of partying (and hence socialising) happens in such places. I don't go, so I don't socialise that way.

    Don't get me wrong, I know that keeping myself away from such places is for my own good. I understand that being a son of God means that you are not of this world, but seek the things which are above it. But I guess I just need to vent: I feel quite lonely sometimes, particularly when the work is piling up (as it is indeed doing right now.) 

    These feelings of loneliness are further exacerbated when observing my fellows around me having relationships, dating etc. I feel as though I am restricted: I can only date when serious about marriage, which is years down the line, and even then it will have to be to a Coptic girl; it's somewhat depressing realising that not one of the girls amongst my peers fulfils this criteria, and therefore cannot possibly be my wife one day. There are many great girls (in my opinion) who I am loathe to befriend, purely because of these predetermined criteria for marriage: I think to myself "there is no possibility for a future together, so why make the effort of getting close to them" (I know that may sound as if I base my friendships purely on the expectation of marriage, but this is obviously not the case). And this only serves to make me feel even more lonely.

    I can guess some of the feedback I will likely receive, along the lines of the importance of being satisfied with God, and the weakness of my relationship with Him making me feel unsatisfied. And this is the feedback I would probably give to myself.

    I feel like I've talked myself into a circle.
  • Dude.  You totally said everything I was just thinking about :D literally, almost word for word...I actually cannot offer any advice since I have the same issue...I love living away from home, it's the best thing that's happened to me but I also feel lonely, not family-wise (I see them every week, which is great because I wouldn't be able to handle more than a couple weeks of not seeing them) but intimate relationship-wise...my FOC told me not to think about it...EXTREMELY HARD TO DO.
  • [quote author=GODlovesme link=topic=11458.msg138114#msg138114 date=1305668469]
    Dude.  You totally said everything I was just thinking about :D literally, almost word for word...I actually cannot offer any advice since I have the same issue...I love living away from home, it's the best thing that's happened to me but I also feel lonely, not family-wise (I see them every week, which is great because I wouldn't be able to handle more than a couple weeks of not seeing them) but intimate relationship-wise...my FOC told me not to think about it...EXTREMELY HARD TO DO.
    [/quote]

    Hey GODlovesme, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one thinking about this! I haven't yet had a chance to talk to my FOC about it (I only go home a couple of times every 10 week term), but I expect he would likely give me the same advice that your FOC gave you.
  • Instead of going to clubs why not join some clubs to meet people with a serious interest.
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=11458.msg138116#msg138116 date=1305669086]
    Instead of going to clubs why not join some clubs to meet people with a serious interest.
    [/quote]

    I am a member of several clubs, and participate in a few sports. Could you please clarify what you mean by "serious interest" Father?
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=11458.msg138116#msg138116 date=1305669086]
    Instead of going to clubs why not join some clubs to meet people with a serious interest.
    [/quote]

    Well...I've never been to a club and I don't intend to.  I know that JG mentioned that he is a sociable individual; this is where we differ.  I used to be sociable but I am slowly going towards being antisocial.  I am the busiest I've ever been this quarter but I still feel lonely, no matter how many things I have to do.
  • [quote author=GODlovesme link=topic=11458.msg138119#msg138119 date=1305669340]
    [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=11458.msg138116#msg138116 date=1305669086]
    Instead of going to clubs why not join some clubs to meet people with a serious interest.
    [/quote]

    Well...I've never been to a club and I don't intend to.  I know that JG mentioned that he is a sociable individual; this is where we differ.  I used to be sociable but I am slowly going towards being antisocial.  I am the busiest I've ever been this quarter but I still feel lonely, no matter how many things I have to do.
    [/quote]

    I am reasonably social, and am known by just about everyone in my year, but I don't really allow myself to interact with people properly. Sometimes I am loathe to start conversations, but would rather sit quietly alone. I may stand with a group of my peers who are all discussing the happenings of the previous night's revelries, which I cannot share with them as I was absent, and so feel distant. And I feel that this is making me appear less approachable to others: it's only a few good friends who have got to know me slowly over time who I can open up to more completely.
  • [quote author=JG link=topic=11458.msg138121#msg138121 date=1305669769]
    [quote author=GODlovesme link=topic=11458.msg138119#msg138119 date=1305669340]
    [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=11458.msg138116#msg138116 date=1305669086]
    Instead of going to clubs why not join some clubs to meet people with a serious interest.
    [/quote]

    Well...I've never been to a club and I don't intend to.  I know that JG mentioned that he is a sociable individual; this is where we differ.  I used to be sociable but I am slowly going towards being antisocial.  I am the busiest I've ever been this quarter but I still feel lonely, no matter how many things I have to do.
    [/quote]

    I am reasonably social, and am known by just about everyone in my year, but I don't really allow myself to interact with people properly. Sometimes I am loathe to start conversations, but would rather sit quietly alone. I may stand with a group of my peers who are all discussing the happenings of the previous night's revelries, which I cannot share with them as I was absent, and so feel distant. And I feel that this is making me appear less approachable to others: it's only a few good friends who have got to know me slowly over time who I can open up to more completely.
    [/quote]

    Totally know what you feel like...go through that on a weekly basis.
  • JG and GODLovesme, I feel your pain. It's one of those things that no one else will understand unless they've lived away from home for study/work. I've lived away from home for 5 years now and I moved out at your age JG. I too avoided nightclubs, and BELIEVE ME, it's a good job we don't go! Things get real messy as I'm sure you've heard before. We suffer for the sake of Christ and for the sanctity of His temple, suffering could also be social unfortunately.

    Firstly, for those who think that loneliness can be cured by being satisfied with God - this is wrong. Fr Anthony Messeh once said that Adam was lonely even though God was all his. It's normal to feel lonely guys, we're human and we need human company - simple! These feelings of isolation come and go, and you'll be glad to know they get less frequent with time. You learn not to focus on this void by things that involve you meeting people such as sports and that help you build your character because when you start working and get involved in relationships, time literally disappears. It's all a matter of getting used to a completely different lifestyle.

    As for your girl issues, these are slightly different than your loneliness and isolation, but you DEFINITELY feel them more when you live alone. Think of it this way, when you finally meet that person who God wants you to be with (AND YOU WILL, I PROMISE!!) you will appreciate them SO much more, knowing how rare they were to find. You just have to have hope buddy. Romans 4:17 "...God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did." We have to believe and have hope that God has the best things prepared for those who first trust and secondly have patience. Think of your future wife and try and improve yourself from now for her who God has prepared for you "as though she exists." That my friend is faith and hope, and God appreciates it so much, and he rewards it! Just look at Abraham, when there was no hope, then there was hope!

    I've gone on too long, I hope this helps. If it doesn't, let me know.
    Hold strong guys, we're not alone!
  • Dear GMAN, thank you so much for your post, I really feel so much happier having read it. God bless you and remember us in your prayers  :D
  • You're very welcome. I'm in need of your prayers more.
    God bless
  • [quote author=GMAN link=topic=11458.msg138126#msg138126 date=1305670041]
    Firstly, for those who think that loneliness can be cured by being satisfied with God - this is wrong. Fr Anthony Messeh once said that Adam was lonely even though God was all his. It's normal to feel lonely guys, we're human and we need human company - simple! These feelings of isolation come and go, and you'll be glad to know they get less frequent with time. You learn not to focus on this void by things that involve you meeting people such as sports and that help you build your character because when you start working and get involved in relationships, time literally disappears. It's all a matter of getting used to a completely different lifestyle.
    [/quote]

    I am not sure I agree, GMAN. Although this is just my opinion and I have not researched into the Fathers, my intuition really doubts the statement that loneliness cannot be satisfied by God. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can be satisfied by God. This is why He is God, because He is complete and completes us. You make an interesting point, namely, Adam was alone before the fall of man. How do we explain this? Well, loneliness presupposes some type of longing. Thus God must have created Adam with this capacity for loneliness. Now why would God do that? So that man can desire a woman? I think not. But so that man could desire and long after God. The all-knowing God was well aware that man would sin and fall from grace. But He instilled in Him this loneliness that could not be filled by anything on earth so that man would return to God.

    Think of monks who live in isolation. Sure, some of them begin with a strong feeling loneliness - but this is because they are beginners and have not yet reached the spiritual perfection. Those who do cannot be pried from their cells to see or speak to anyone for they are wholly focused on God.

    However, God, not granting all of us five talents but most of us just one does give us partners on earth to help us. But only God can complete us.

    (Again, this is just my interpretation. Please correct me if I have erred).
  • Unworthy, what are the five talents?
  • I am referring to the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30). Some are given more gifts - each according to his ability. It is safe to assume that I have only received one talent and as long as I do not bury it in the ground but work with God will show me mercy. St. Antony and others, one can assume, have received five talents so more is expected of them.
  • i didn't see this thread till today, have been so busy/tired with work i didn't keep up my main hobby (this site!).

    looking back, i remember i felt very nearly the same in my 1st year at university.
    the first 2 terms were fine, i was just enjoying the freedom (for me this went going out cycling without telling anyone when i was due back, going to Christian meetings and not having to leave when the person driving me wanted to etc. etc.) then in the summer term (april to june, for those of u 'down under') everything crashed and i was terribly lonely.
    sometimes i would cry for nearly an hour, and i couldn't tell my family how bad i felt or they would have been terribly worried about me.
    i think this is not so unusual. at around age 18, whether u are away studying, living with your parents who didn't notice you have grown up, or even if you are newly married or living with flatmates, most people find that a lot of things they thought they understood no longer make sense, and also a lot of new, exciting things turned out to be paper dreams (especially for those who went further and went to night-clubs, JG you did well not to have this additional heart ache).

    as you grow up, either you don't want your parents' opinion, can't get it (they are far away), or it is readily available but demonstrates the growing difference between you and your parents, as you see the world in your own eyes, and maybe have different opinions on politics, religion, marriage etc. so what you thought was your 'base', a certainty of things that will always be true is now not so stable and not so true.

    so you look around at your newly adult friends and see what they/how are doing. you may be in the situation like i was at age 18 when it seemed like they all fitted in with each other, but i didn't fit in with them. i was (so it seemed), the only one who was like me. even my Christian friends were a different social class, or easily swayed by the world, or different in some other way, so i could not rely on them. i, too, went through the marriage worry. i knew only a few Christian guys, and only 1 had strict enough views, and he was a really quiet contemplative type, so i figured it would be really bad for him to marry someone like me! i began to hatch a plan to do some traveling to check out other countries...

    as i got over my mini-crisis (i will tell you how, don't worry!), and became more confident, i found people started opening up to me with their problems. friends would weep recalling the events of the night before, and share how insecure they felt and how alone, despite the superficial appearance of them being terribly popular and really 'mainstream' (relationships, alcohol, drugs etc).
    so not even those who seem to 'fit in' are really comfortable with themselves. they are usually terrible self-conscious and do anything to look like they fit in, including spending borrowed money on expensive clothes, trainers (sneakers for those in n america), gadgets etc. and doing really harmful things to their bodies and minds with alcohol etc. etc.
    those who, like me, found an inner confidence, ended university (college) with a much smaller debt and no hangover. ok, i did drink, but it was around 2 bottles of wine a year, so nothing in comparison with the 'norm'.

    so, there are several components to getting the peace and confidence you need.
    i will post it in the next box, otherwise this might get too long!
  • ^ communion doesnt count, for the wine part :P haha
  • to continue...
    1. (you guessed this one) sort out your relationship with God. ask all the difficult questions (does God exist? why can't i drink my brains out and party 24 hours a day? why is it useful to go to church?) and don't rest until you really know the answers. if you can just recite sunday school answers that you don't live or that you don't really believe, you have not understood this. if this is hard, keep reading the Bible, praying (prayer book and personal prayers) and attending church and listening to good preaching and honestly ask God to show you the way and He will.

    2. accept that you are different from your parents, your old friends and your new friends. you are unique. God only made one person like you. you are designed to love and care for other people, but not to follow them without understanding. use your mind, and carefully consider everything before you do it.

    (a)your parents are probably quite wise, but they often don't know how to explain this wisdom. accept what they say, but don't feel bad if you don't agree. this stage in your life is also NOT the time to explain to your parents where they went wrong all their lives, as tempting as this might be  ;)

    (b)you probably made friends with your old friends coz you lived in the same street, went to the same church, or your mums were friends. you may not have so much in common any more.

    this is not the end of the world.

    if you end up as 'just friends' instead of 'best friends', this is ok. people change as they get older and they will also be making new friends too. don't get jealous. they are not doing it deliberately to hurt you. maybe they like to go fishing and you like to ride you bike as fishing is boring. they will eventually find friends to go fishing with. be happy for them and enjoy seeing them at church or in the neighbourhood.

    (c)your new friends were probably desperately happy to meet you because they assume that because you like the same music, you must love (eg.) going fishing too. the things you thought you had in common are not so many. but in a new town in a new situation (eg. studying), people automatically see people as more similar when they first meet them coz they are so desperate to make friends they didn't realise you didn't have that much in common after all.

    3. sometimes you meet people in order to help them. some of your friends will take your time and give nothing in return.
    you are not living where you are living in order to sleep while the world goes by.
    God has appointed you to share His word and show the love of Jesus to other people.
    this involves being hurt, being isolated and giving lots to those who will give nothing in return.
    you are, actually a missionary to your street, your corner shop, your college and your family/flatmates.
    when someone takes advantage or seems to listen to you and then ignores you the next time, be happy that God has given you the honour of sharing His love with those around you.
    i am not suggesting you give all your parents' money to some idiot, what i mean is look after yourself, but be willing to give half an hour of your time to some hungover depressive (it could be you next time...) who forgets the conversation afterwards or to buy a sandwich for your class mate who never pays you back.
    the more you get close to God and pray, the more this will get easier.

    i will end here as most of you don't have time to read so much, but the first term of the second year of university was much easier for me! keep going, and definitely check out the orthodox sermons site as it is seriously cool.
    :)
  • i wasn't in a church that used proper Communion wine in those days...  ;)
    God has shown me the way since  :)
    i was going to reply to your thread separately, but i think/hope this may help here.
  • Hi,

    I just read through all the posts in this old thread as the title felt very familiar. I was wondering if any of you would share an update on whether things have changed? Because for me, I have been suffering with loneliness for a few years now and it is not looking good.
  •  You therefore must endure[a] hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 

    Easier said than done, I mean not going to clubs or wasting our time on worldly things. It all depends if going to clubs can make others lost by destroying our witness. Besides if we believe in Jesus Christ and maintain a personal relationship with Him we are saved but as there are wood clay and jewels in a great house, So some will be honored more.





  • Therefore today choose life or death or whom you will serve God or the world. Those who believe in Jesus have the Holy Spirit and those who have the Holy Spirit as Paul says will be led to do good works. Loving all strangers is a must. Satan has asked for us that he may sift us as wheat so we will be tempted. In the world we will have tribulation. What He says He says to all Watch that you may stand before the Son of Man. Not everyone who says to Him Lord Lord shall enter the kingdom but he who does His will and He has warned that He comes as a thief in the night and the destruction will be eternal because that person intended to do many sins even rejecting strangers. That is why He destroyed the giants in Noah's generation
    d

    And He said to me, “It is done![c] I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things,[d] and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving,[e] abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
  • Hi Mnc,

     

    Well, I too used to suffer from lonliness when I was in my youth. My options were either being alone, or having friends who abused me, or friends who liked me, but encouraged me to live in sin. Hence I found myself alone.

    I then prayed for good Christian friends, and was blessed to meet 10000000000's of them. They are all catholic, but the many I did meet, young like myself, their lives are a living testimony to God's Grace in your life.

    I could see clearly God's Grace and Peace , not only on their faces, but in their behaviour, their language etc. It was a friendship and encounter that I needed at the time.

    Everyone complains on tasbeha.og at me for talking about how bad the Coptic Church is with respect to it being a cultural centre more than a Church. This is precisely why: what unites us in the Church isn't holiness, or the love for holiness. Its Egypt. The spirit of those whom I met (who were Catholic though) impacted me & changed me: their joy made me joyful, their peace gave me peace, their friendship was so sincere and welcoming.

    Likewise, the spirit of those I met in the Coptic Church impacted me: not to say that they are bad Christians, or good Christians. I'm not judging anyone. But all I can tell you is that being with them, I felt short changed. I felt lonely even more. Copts are very ambitious and perhaps may only care to know you if you can give them anything. Girls may not even want to say "hello" because they may think that saying hello to you is a sign that they are interested in you.

    You find yourself alone in a Coptic Church outside Egypt. Look at Tasbeha.org. Are people here "nice" to you even?

    The worst period of my life is in a Coptic Church, with Copts.

    Im not suggesting that you leave the Church; but I can definitely understand your feelings.

  • Zoxasi, what you're saying is so true, but I think its a little too extreme to say that the worst time in your life was with copts in the church. Actually, Im thinking about it and I think you're fully right but just a little too extreme.

    I like how you prayed for friends, though :)
    I did that once and god sent me two really good friends: one came from egypt and another came from a different state, but both in the same year. So I think that always works. Maybe God just wants us to pray for it and ask. I dont think he'll say no if it'll be for our well-being. I think if he sees us in need of a friend, and we pray for it, he'll answer in the perfect time

    Anyway, Mnc_Hnn
    I have a friend who's a freshman at a university and she was telling me how she joined the christian club which consists of mostly catholic and protestants. Thing is, we also have a coptic orthodox club at that university, because everyone from church goes there...
    But she decided to befriend them and now she's good friends with those girls enough to share an apartment with them next year. I think its a "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find" sort of thing.

    I just hope Ill get as lucky as her when i go to college this year
  • Sir,

    The WORST period of my life was in the Coptic Church and with Coptic Christians. Why do you think its an extreme? 

    Mnc, 
    Pray for Christian friends.. don't limit yourself to the Coptic Church.
  • O_O

    SIR?!?!
    Do I not already enough say that I'm a female?!

    And because you were born Coptic. You're insulting your own kind
  • Lady,

    how is this an insult? its a fact: the worst period of my life has been in a coptic church with coptic people.

    that's a fact.

    anyway, the point was that being lonely and coptic doesn't really help: it adds to the problem.
  • hi dear lonely friends,
    sorry i am too busy to go on the forums more, but i pray for you and ask God to help you in your difficult times.

    i struggled a lot in this area, but it was worse when i was young. after the age of 20, it got better and after 30 much better.
    then a few years later, i found some very dear people who showed me God's love (and they were egyptians and one of them even speaks hardly any english) and i found the orthodox church.

    i learnt that all difficult times can help you to grow spiritually, but i understand that being in a toxic environment can make this really, really hard.

    i, personally have been really fine the last few years, and you can be too.
    don't give up, keep reading the Bible and praying, go to church when there are few people (like early morning) if you have trouble with crowds and read the stories of the saints.
    feel free to send any personal messages; i try to log in every few days.
    may God lead you and bless your fast.
  • Zoxasi, I get what you are saying but while you are correct in some respects, you also fail to realize that in all likelihood you are fulfilling an Egyptian stereotype as well. The inability to speak up. Forgive me if this is not the case and perhaps I am assuming too much but I as a non-Egyptian convert have seen this behavior amongst many in the church. Because of their inability to speak up and make a change, they remain silent. Again forgive me if I am wrong on this in respect to your situation. While I have experienced the cultural problem within the church I have also experienced a love that has surpassed the negative within the church. So while you may take issue with some problems, please use your voice and speak up. Perhaps it is that I am intimidating to people to the point that they dont argue with me too much and maybe it is different for Egyptians but if this is the case YOU need to make a change.

    Copticstrength, do not get upset at words as you are attaching meaning to them and therefore you are only upsetting yourself. 
  • Dear Ionnes,

    Thanks for your feedback. I'm just curious, what exactly do you think I should do? or should have done?

    For me, I'm blessed right now as I go to a Church that is quite small, cosy and very organised. I pray, I eat a few sandwiches, and I leave. No problems.

    The problems happen with people generally after the Church. But I just try and leave asap now.
  • +Christ is risen!

    Dear Joeg,

    I remember going through something similar to what you are describing. It's also unreasonable to think that you in one day are suddenly content to be solo with God. On the one hand, God created us as social beings to live in community, and on the other, to suggest that wanting company as a sign of weakness is also wrong.

    There's a story from the desert fathers that I love. There's a story about a monk who was called to be a Bishop. When he was a hermit he had so many consolations directly from God, and visitations of saints etc... When he became a bishop it all stopped, and he thought that God was punishing him for being a bishop. Instead, God told him that he was no longer getting those graces because now he had the comforts of the people! He said when you were alone you had only me, but now you have the people to show love as well. Even a new monk in a monastery is forbidden from being a hermit, how much more so for those in the world?!

    So what's the point? We're supposed to be Christ to one another, not pretend that we have a solo relationship with God alone. Whoever says he loves God and not his neighbour is a liar (says St. John). So that takes you back to your original question, and unfortunately, you might need to be much more proactive about it than previous generations, because you're right, it can be different to socialise properly. Look very hard for people with common ground that you can fill enough time with, see what other Christians are out there, if any other Orthodox people from your school are around ,and try and find common things to do. At the same time, do try and grow in your solo time, use it to read books, to write songs, to excel in whatever gifts He has given you. 

    I know not that helpful, but I wanted to point out that it's more wrong to think you can be solo all the time than it is to desire companionship.

    pray for me,
    ap



  • dear father ap,
    joe g also had some advice here, which shows how he coped with the problem since he posted the original question:


    basically he spent more time getting close to God.

    *** there is some kind of a bug on the site which means we can't cut and paste anything bigger than size 7!***

    i tried to 'fix' your story by making it bigger, but could not, sorry!


  • +Christ is risen!

    Thanks, mabsoota, my bad!!!

    pray for me,
    ap


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