Let me tell you a little about myself.
I used to be extremely reserved and quiet (‘used to be’ because I’m becoming more outgoing). I preferred my solitude to human company and interaction.
Some weeks ago, I felt so lonely- more than I’ve ever felt in my life. Let me tell you what exactly happened.
Last month, I went for a mini vacation in Lagos. But while there, I spent most of my time in my room, either spending time with God, writing, working on my laptop, sleeping or on social media. My relatives would complain about how I spent most of my time in my room and how I rarely interacted with them, but then, I cared less.
One day, my aunt asked me if I don’t think my phone is a source of distraction- preventing me from interacting with people physically. Her words sank deep into me the next day when my friend whom I shared a room with travelled. She is a friendly, lively and outgoing person. She is one person that brings me out of my shell while in Lagos. It is only when she was around that I would go out to interact with others.
So when she travelled, there was this vacuum that was left. I felt so lonely and bored – words can’t describe how lonely I was. The day she travelled, I willingly sat down to watch TV for the first time during my mini vacation. I had a large variety of channels to choose from but I was still bored and feeling lonely. I wrote, I chatted with people online, spent time on social media but none of these filled that vacuum.
The next day was worse. Almost everyone went out and so I was left with the TV, constant light, my laptop, phone, internet subscription, food, books and my Bible. I was comfortable- I had almost everything I wanted but I was still feeling very lonely. None of these things was a suitable companion to me.
It was then I learnt two of the most valuable lessons in my life:
- Money is good but it cannot buy happiness. It can only add to your happiness but it’s not a main source of happiness. If money is all you have, you can never be happy. Happiness comes first from God, and then from family and friends before money.
Your life will be empty if you get consumed in your pursuit of money and don’t make friends or spend time with your family and friends,
- You need friends- you need human companionship. You need people you can interact with not only on phone or through the internet but in person.
Ultimately, we need God- we cannot live or survive without him. But after God, we need human companionship. In the beginning, God saw that Adam was alone; God saw that Adam needed human companionship- not only the companionship of animals. God was there with Adam but God saw that man needs human companionship in addition to His presence.
I do have my quiet time and spend time with God but in addition to God’s presence; I need human companionship- not only the ones online but the ones I can interact with physically.
I was so humbled by this realization and I felt terrible about my life of solitude and misplaced priorities. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make it up to my family in Lagos because I only came to this realization about 2 days before I travelled back to where I stay. But I know I will still have an opportunity to go back there and I’ve made up my mind to make it up to them
I’ve also set a goal to spend less time on social media and interact more with people physically. I’ve also reprioritized my life – God first, my family and friends second and then my work [which will yield income for me].
That’s my story.
What about you? Are you extremely reserved? Have you shut out the world from your life? Do you feel you are better off alone for whatever reason (maybe you were hurt in the past or you just enjoy your solitude)? Are you consumed in your work and in the pursuit of money that you don’t create time to spend with your family and friends? Are you busy with your online friends that you rarely interact with people physically? Here’s a reminder for you today to set your priorities right.
I’ll conclude with Proverbs 27:9
“Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” (MSG).
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 (NIV)
“Good people are careful about choosing their friends. But evil people always choose the wrong ones.” Proverbs 12:26 (ERV)
“As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion]” Proverbs 27:17 (AMP)
“A friendly discussion is as stimulating as the sparks that fly when iron strikes the iron.” Proverbs 27:17 (TLB)
“Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (TLB)
“Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)