Hello, my name is Adam and I live alone. Lockdown has made this an interesting experience. Below is some wisdom primarily aimed at Christians, but I hope those who don’t know Jesus as Lord will also find it helpful.
#1 You live by yourself, but you are not alone.
Somedays it is just me. I wake up. I roll out of bed. I eat my breakfast. I shower. I read the Bible. I start work. I go for a run. I have lunch. I do more work. I make dinner. I watch TV. I pray. I go to bed. I can go through a whole day seeing no one. And yet, since living in this flat I have never spent a day by myself. God is present in all situations, and to those who call Jesus Lord he is present as a friend.
#2 God has put you here
I’ve had two potential housemates since August but in the end neither of them has decided to move to Sidcup. Even though living alone was not my plan, it is God’s. He has put all of us who live alone in these situations for a reason. What is that reason you ask? I think we will each have to work that out by ourselves. Maybe he wants me to get to know my neighbors. Maybe he just wants me to learn to live with myself. I think only time will tell. .
#3 People need people
God did not make us to dwell in isolation. He made us for relationships. Primarily with him, but also with others. When the first Adam lived alone God said that this was not good and he made him a companion. Introverts and extroverts all need people. If we can bubble we should bubble, if we can walk then we should go for walks with others. We should arrange weekly Zooms and phone calls. We should do whatever the law allows so that we can see people.
#4 Choose love.
At Christmas time I read a BBC article giving tips to those living alone during the holidays. The article was well written and yet something was missing. It took me a few days to work it out. Every single bit of advice I was given was about ‘self-care’ and at no point did they encourage me to think about other people. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Even though we live alone, we need to make sure we are fighting our own selfish desires and seeking to serve those around us. So, whether it includes volunteering your time or calling someone up, choose love.
#5 This time is spiritually significant
When you live by yourself it is easy to kid yourself that you are in some kind of hibernation from the world and this time alone has no real significance. No one sees what we do or what we don’t do. But with God, there is no moment that is spiritually neutral. We are either leaning in towards him, or we are leaning away from him. We are either growing in our knowledge and love of Christ, or we are growing in our disobedience. Remember, the world may be asleep, but the devil is still at work.
#1 Work out who is good for you and who you are good for.
We all need people who are going to lift us up. People who encourage us and make us laugh. So, work out who is good for your soul and make time for them. But we are not here simply to serve ourselves. Who in your life needs you? Maybe it is a friend who is in need? Maybe it is someone with a smaller social circle? Maybe there is someone isolated in Church? Maybe you do not know, and you need to take time asking the Lord for guidance.
#2 Delight in the small things
Our worlds are exceedingly small at the moment, and yet they’re filled with tiny little gifts from God. Everything that you own and possess has been given to you from his hand. So, no matter how small it is, if it gives you joy then delight in it and give him thanks for it. I think that as we cultivate thankfulness our eyes will be opened to all the other good gifts that the Lord has given us and gratitude to Him will come to fill our hearts.
#3 Reach out
I don’t know about you, but often when I’m feeling low I shut myself away, and in the end make the whole thing so much worse. In those moments when we feel down, we need to reach out. Because we live alone no one else will know how we are feeling, so we need to be pro-active and tell them. Remember, the Church is a family, we are each other’s brothers and sisters. We can tell each other when things are not ok.
#4 Be intentional
I have written up on my wall “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” and I think it is so true. In these times spontaneous social events or sporting activities are not going to happen. So, we need to be intentional and make them happen. Write a list of who you are going to call and plan when you’re going to do it. Plan your days off and who you will go for a walk with. Set yourself exercise goals and challenges. Arrange to read a book with a friend and chat about it each week. Establish when you’re going to do your daily Bible time and stick to it.
#5 Preach the gospel to yourself
Many times over lockdown I have failed, and yet I am not a failure. Not because I pick myself up or decide to “be true to myself” or other rubbish like that, but because my identity is not found in my actions but is rooted in Christ. Lockdown has given me plenty of time to dwell on my failings and past mistakes, to feed my selfishness and to revel in my sin. Yet because I believe in Jesus, I am clean and forgiven. This liberating truth we all need to hear and so daily we all need to preach the gospel to ourselves.
Many thanks to Helen, Kristi, Anthea, Chris, Pamela, Sam, Ellie, Michael, Jenny, and Sophia for sharing their wisdom with me. And to all those who commented on my Facebook post. I thank you for your observations, I hope I did them justice, and I’m sorry for not including them all.