Almost 50% of adults in the United States struggle with loneliness. I believe when we talk about loneliness it loses some of its power. I also believe it helps when we put real names and faces with real examples of loneliness. Many thanks to Dr. Gordon Bals for participating in the Hope for the Lonely On the Record Q&A.
Gordon founded Daymark Pastoral Counseling in 1997. He counsels in a variety of areas but especially focuses on issues related to marriage and family, grief, loss and trauma or religious and spiritual issues (trouble integrating faith from day to day). Gordon has a unique way of helping the Scriptures come alive in everyday situations and pointing others through difficulty or confusion toward reconciliation with God. He is an adjunct faculty member at Beeson Divinity School and author of Common Ground: Discovering God’s Redemption in Your Marriage. Prior to founding Daymark Pastoral Counseling, Gordon worked as an adolescent and family counselor and as an Assistant Pastor at a local church. Gordon has been married since 1990 and has three daughters.
1. How do you define loneliness?
An acute awareness that disconnection, selfishness and powerlessness are an everyday reality in this world.
2. What are some of your loneliness triggers?
I am often with people (I go from counseling where I meet with people to being at home with family or out with others) so I normally don't get much time alone and when I have it I usually feel it. After I speak to a large group I often feel alone. When I have been wounded in relationship.
3. Over the course of your life, when have you felt the loneliest?
The period between leaving college and getting married was a lonely period. When my wife and I moved to Alabama it felt every lonely looking at the prospect of trying to build a life here. As I think about it other life transitions having children, changing a church seemed to have brought periods of loneliness.
4. How do you define hope?
A sense that I am not forgotten and that there is a teleos or direction of this universe toward an ultimate good.
5. What gives you hope in your loneliness?
Connection. When I feel connected to the better parts of myself or to others. Time outdoors seems to help me as well.
6. Please share any thoughts about loneliness and/or hope that you’d like to add.
I do think there is profound good in loneliness. It helps us to reflect, make changes, seek more, and make space for God.
More from Hope for the Lonely On the Record Q&A:
And learn more about the Hope for the Lonely Podcast here.