3 in 4 Americans Struggle with Loneliness. Pastors are Not Immune
There's a study shows that nearly 75% of people struggle with loneliness in their lives. And don’t kid yourselves… pastors and church leaders struggle with loneliness as well.
In fact, I would reckon that the percentage of church leaders that deal with loneliness is higher than that.
The study, conducted by the University of California, showed that loneliness shows up more in certain stages of life:
- late 20s
- mid 50s
- late 80s
According to Dr. Dilip Jeste, here’s what loneliness is:
“There's a misperception that loneliness means social isolation," Jeste said. "Loneliness is subjective. It is what you feel. The definition of loneliness is distress because of a discrepancy between actual social relationships and desired social relationships. There's a discrepancy between what I want and what I have."
Church leaders… our identity comes from Christ, and I’m a firm believer that He gives us everything we need to do what He has asked us to do.
But that doesn’t mean that we are susceptible to loneliness.
If you’re feeling depressed, have problems with anxiety, or feel highly stressed, it may all lead back to loneliness.
Be pro-active. Seek some help before things proceed too far.
Reach out. Talk things through. Determine a course of action for your personal health before you get too far down the road.
If you don’t, horrible things happen. Burnout. Moral Failure. Spiritual hardness.
Soul care is what we do for a living. But you can’t care for others if you aren’t caring for yourself.
There are many great organizations out there that can help church leaders. If you need to reach out and don’t know what to do, please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m glad to help get you started.
I think we’ve all been lonely at times, especially in ministry. We just have to do all we can to make these seasons as short as possible, and make each one a personal learning as to how we got there, what our triggers are, and how we pulled through.
Let’s get to it… Todd