“You can do this. You have a good reason to be here,” I assured myself as I walked over to our new neighbor’s house. My family was new in town and my brother Nick, who has the social anxiety of Spongebob, had already made friends with the kids next door. My mom sent me to get him for dinner. Nervous, I practiced looking cool and unimpressed. If they caught a whiff of my loneliness, there was no way I’d become part of the crew.

You may have similar memories of feeling lonely as a kid. The crazy thing about loneliness is it doesn’t go away as an adult. In fact, our world is currently in a loneliness epidemic, with Gen Z suffering especially. Psychology Today reported that 73% of them say “they feel alone sometimes or always,” making them the loneliest generation.1 They’re anxious to be part of a crew but missing the connections.

Scripture gives us a solution to loneliness, but it’s not merely to look for friends. In John 15:15, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have called you friends.” Why are they friends? “For everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you…I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit” (NIV). The disciples are friends because they know Jesus’ plans. His mission is their mission. Their friendship comes, in a sense, from that shared mission.

Scripture gives us a solution to loneliness, but it’s not merely to look for friends.

C.S. Lewis says that every friendship is built this way: on a common purpose outside the friendship itself, down to the simplest connections, like two people who both love spaghetti. Without it, friendship is impossible. This “is why those pathetic people who simply ‘want friends’ can never make any. The very condition of having friends is that we should want something else besides friends…friendship must be about something.”2

If purpose is a necessary ingredient of friendship, then pursuing your purpose will likely attract friendship. Perhaps that’s why God gives humanity an active role in spreading the gospel: we not only share the gospel but we also find the most fulfilling connections through the most glorious purpose.

If you’re struggling with loneliness, try pursuing your gospel purpose: take a leadership position in your church, spearhead an outreach activity, preach a sermon, teach Sabbath School, or start your own small group. You might find, like I did when I talked with the girls next door about gymnastics, you have a whole new crew.

  1. Ryan Jenkins, “3 Things Making Gen Z the Loneliest Generation,” Psychology Today, August 16, 2022, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-case-connection/202208/3-things-making-gen-z-the-loneliest-generation.
  2. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 1960, pg. 98, https://www.allsaintswandsworth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/the-four-loves.pdf.
Anneliese Wahlman
Creative Writer at Light Bearers

Allie is a 2012 ARISE graduate and on-staff writer and communications assistant for Light Bearers. She is fascinated by the intersection of faith and the creative process and enjoys poetry. When she’s not watching a good movie with her friends, she enjoys narrating life with mediocre accents.