When I was 20 years old, I volunteered for one year to serve as a health educator and missionary in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea (PNG). During much of my time in PNG, I lived by myself in a remote Dowa village called Hundavi. Even though I enjoyed learning a new culture, hiking to remote villages, and eating unique foods offered to me by the native villagers, I noticed that I began to feel incredibly lonely in the first few months of my stay. I was home-sick and, initially, it was difficult to communicate with the villagers. As a result of my isolation, I began to feel depressed and started to eat compulsively to cope with my loneliness.
After 3-4 months, I started to spend more time alone with God reading my Bible and journaling. I found some encouraging promises from God in the Bible, such as Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Eventually, I learned the local trade language fairly well and I was able to communicate with the villagers. I began to develop some great friendships with the villagers. Over time I felt less lonely and depressed. I ate in a more temperate manner. Although, the villagers did try to stuff me with food (I’m just glad it was genuine hospitality and not to fatten me up for other purposes!).
Most of us have experienced some type of loneliness. Whether it’s being in isolation from Covid or being in a room full of people yet feeling isolated, disconnected, or alone. To fill this void, some turn to find relief in television, internet, shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, or food (like me).
If this describes your current experience, don’t be discouraged. Don’t accept the feelings as facts. Don’t believe the lies that pound away inside your head. There is freedom, there is a healing solution. The truth will heal. The truth will set you free. And what is the truth?
You are loved! You are loved for who you are. You are a child of God! Our worth, our value, is not determined by what we have done or what we will do, but by who we are. We are children of God, created by Him to love and to be loved.
“See what great love the Father (God) has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” -1 John 3:1
May you enjoy abundant health,
Rick Christman, MPH