A note from Kelly King: It’s often said that leadership is lonely. But, as Kaye Hurta describes in today’s article, there are different kinds of loneliness. Whether you are experiencing loneliness or you are ministering to someone who is going through a season of feeling unseen, what Kaye shares will encourage you to truly love and listen to others.
Part of my story from my family of origin involves feeling unseen (invisible) along with some abandonment and rejection. With those wounds came a deep sense of loneliness. The kind of loneliness I’m talking about isn’t the kind where you need someone to go to a movie with or have over for dinner. It goes much deeper than that for me, and I bet it does for you too. The kind of loneliness I experience as pain and hear in the stories of the women I talk to, can be described as feeling unknown. This is the “lonely in a crowd” kind of lonely. I get the sense, as I speak with hurting women, that I am not alone in this (no pun intended).
Not only are we lonely in our pain, we are lonely as a culture. There is research that shows with all our attempts to be connected through social media, we are becoming increasingly lonely and disconnected. What is at the root of our loneliness, and how do we overcome it? I’m not a scientist and have not engaged in an official study, but from where I sit, anecdotally, the answer to that is…story. Story is the one word that has the power to overcome loneliness.
Knowing someone’s story and telling your story to someone else is the first step in overcoming our growing sense of loneliness. Sorry Twitter, but telling our stories is pretty hard to do with a word limit! The invitation to all of us who minister to hurting women is to create space, moments, or events where we can safely tell our stories—one-to-one. Psalm 68:6a says, “God sets the lonely in families…” (NIV). Originally, families were intended to be a safe place to know and be known. Sadly, that is not the case. Additionally, the church—the family of God—should also be a safe place to know and be known. All too often, that is not the case either. In fact, for some, family is the place of deep, deep pain and wounding. The church as well. If that is you—wounded by or in your family or church—I am so sorry.
My challenge to all of us who minister to women…no, my challenge to all of us as human beings is to commit to two things with the “one anothers” in our lives:
- Love well
- Listen well
We love well by creating space and time in our calendars to invite people to sit and tell us their stories. We listen well by suspending judgment, by not trying to solve or fix or preach. We simply ask and listen.
Something tells me that as you were reading this, the Spirit placed the name of someone on your heart who needs an invitation to tell her story. Please follow that prompt!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.