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“Was just talking to God and I realize I get bored and lonely when not collaborating in some way. I have wonderful stuff I’m doing. I like my editing work. And I’m enjoying writing content for The Mom Mentor. So I’m thinking…do I just need to get over myself or is there something I’m missing that I’m made for? Just a minor question for a Tuesday…”
This was a text I sent to Kimberly Amici, one of the co-hosts on our Slices of Life podcast. I was relieved to hear that she also struggled with working alone. She had already been talking to another member of the Slices of Life team, Noelle Rhodes, about the same thing.Sometimes, while pursuing my God-sized dreams, I feel lonely and alone in my work.Click To Tweet
I think there are a number of reasons why this is so, some of which you just might identify with.
- We live in a digital world – So while the Slices of Life podcast, for example, is collaborative because it’s at least three people having a conversation about real faith, real life, real community – we can do the work of taping over Skype. The upside is we can be in our own homes in sweats with no makeup on. The downside is we are not really in the company of one another. We do catch up a little, pray, tape, and chat for a few more minutes every time we tape, but there’s just no substitute for being in a room together.
- Some of us just don’t like being alone so often – Most of my work as a writer and editor requires me to be quiet (obviously not the case when I’m life coaching). I’m also easily distracted. So I need to be by myself. I’m likely to get the most done most efficiently alone in my own home office. No music. No talking. Just me and my computer. But after days and days of that, I’ve got to get out. I’ve got to engage with other people. I am an extrovert and being alone can drain me after a while.
- Isolation can lead to “stinkin’ thinkin’” – When I’m alone for too long, I can start to feel discouraged. Is this really what I’m called to? My imagination can get the best of me. Comparison can creep in. In my boredom, I can start to look for ways to fill my loneliness – like eating things that aren’t good for me but feel like comfort, or going off on a social media bender for an hour…anybody?
- We can feel like we’re in a vacuum – I’m an idea person, many dreamers are! We just can’t help ourselves. An entrepreneurial spirit is often part of the makeup of a God-sized dreamer. So we have ideas…All. The. Time. And by talking to others we can figure out if the idea might be worth pursuing. We process verbally. Sometimes writing can help, but sometimes we just need to share ideas with an understanding or like-minded friend out loud.
Here are a few ideas:
- Meet regularly with a friend or two – Since Kimberly and Noelle were feeling similarly, the three of us are going to meet together in one of our homes on a regular basis. We’ll be intentional about our time with an agenda that includes collaborative talk time, a lunch break, independent work with headphones on, then we’ll end our time together with a little additional sharing.
- Consider a Meetup – You can join a Meetup group, start your own through Meetup, or gather a like-minded group regularly on your own, much like a book group. What’s Meetup? According to their About, “Getting together with real people in real life makes powerful things happen. Side hustles become careers, ideas become movements, and chance encounters become lifelong connections. Meetup brings people together to create thriving communities.” Groups of people are getting together to share writing, cooking, decluttering, and so much more through Meetup all over the world.
- Try Coworking – Yes…it’s a real thing. Ideal for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, these are flexible shared office spaces. There are at least two spaces I know of right in my own town. You can agree to meet with friends a few times a week. You can buy a Day Pass, Monthly Pass, even a Monthly Dedicated Desk that allows you to use this space with a desk reserved just for you every day if you wish.
As Holley Gerth says in You Were Made for a God-Sized Dream, “Sometimes we feel alone not because we need to be with others but because God wants to be with us…Sometimes the feeling that we are alone is actually an invitation to stop and recognize his presence with us.”
You’ll definitely want to discern the difference between when you’re called to be alone so God can meet you in the quiet…and when you’re feeling lonely and need to connect with others.
When you need to step out and be with others…go ahead and find a way to do it. I’m cheering you on!
Shared by Elise Daly Parker