Over the last four years it has been quiet in this corner of the (blog) world. In an effort to spend more time with my family and focus on what matters, I left blogging behind. In August 2017 I started my masters in instructional design (think e-learning and the curriculum/set up of online learning) and it forced me to return back to the online world through blogging and other mediums of technology. I’ve enjoyed the quiet space and feel like it is more intimate and less publicized. It feels more like you and I are sitting in my living room with the fire on, cozy blankets, having tea and warm chocolate chip cookies.

Isn’t that what we all long for in friendship and community? To know and be known in an intimate, quiet way? Life can feel so desolate and cold without community and friendship. Over time, as I have traveled for work, I’ve begun to realize a lot about community, how critical it is, and how we all desperately need it. I confess it takes a lot of effort for me to maintain community while being in and out of the country. The effort is worthwhile, but even still, there are plenty of days I struggle with feeling alone, unknown and unloved. Whether at home or in a hotel, I can find myself feeling lonely and without community-even if I know that isn’t the truth.  My neighbors, whom I love, are steps away, close friends a text or facetime away, no matter where I am, yet I still struggle to reject the lie that I lack community, have none, and am all alone.

In the quiet warmth of the fire, I’d lean in an tell you I’ve found the secret to no longer feeling lonely. What is the secret to staving off the gaping hole that can haunt us? The secret is choosing to believe Truth over believing a lie. The secret to feeling loved is not leaning on others to feel it, but leaning into the One who gives it and who whispers Truth to you. The secret to no longer feeling lonely is found in no longer believing the lie or anything that whispers like it, but instead, repeating the Truth that you are loved, valued, treasured, and yes, appreciated for who YOU are and what YOU are created for. Combating loneliness can be done by ensuring the words you read, the music you listen to, and the conversations you have, all reinforce Truth: that you are loved, treasured, and valued. When the words we read, the conversations we have, and the music we listen to speaks otherwise, we begin to believe the lie that we are alone, unknown and unloved.

This has been a learning process for me and one I am still working on it. Daily. Learning to surround myself in all ways with truth until it is solid in me (and the only voice in my head) is one of my goals for 2018. Email me if you want to join me this year. We’ll hold each other accountable and encourage each other in Truth!