Friends moving, siblings going to college, family that lives far away, deployed parents… These are things a lot of us have to deal with. Some, like me, experience or have experienced all of them. And its not easy. It IS easy to fall into damaging patterns and habits though, so I thought I’d share a few tips that have been beneficial to me!
When you can’t seem to get that person off your mind, try doing a productive activity like re-organizing or re-decorating your room, starting a big art project, gardening, or things like volunteering at your church to help in childcare or paint sets for VBS. Group projects are even better, because you can have other people to keep you company and keep your mind occupied! When my brother left for college I moved into his room and it was extremely bittersweet. It made me a lot less sad when my mom and I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and got some things to turn the teenage boy room into a bright and girly room for me.
Get out of the house!
Get together with a friend for coffee. Go see a movie with your family. Take a picnic to the park. Go bowling with a big group of friends. Go to your local farmers market every weekend. Have a Treat Yo Self day at your favorite store. Buy yourself flowers and chocolate from Trader Joes. Whatever sounds fun! When my dad was deployed in 2014, I made new friends that I did things several times a week with. It gave me something to look forward to and helped the time go by faster!
Invite people over for a movie or game night. Host a dinner party or a spa night. Have sleepovers or throw birthday parties! Hospitality can be as simple as having a friend over for tea or as extravagant as planning a huge surprise party. It makes you think about others and motivates you to keep your house in order!
Pray for the person you’re missing!
When you think about them, pray for them! They’re probably missing you just as much as you’re missing them. They may be going through a hard time as well. Pray that God would comfort them and lead them, and give them wise and loving new friends to lift them up and encourage them. Thank Him for whatever plans He has in separating you! I remember asking God, almost angrily, why He was sending my dad almost 10,000 miles away for over half a year. But then I immediately realized that God had a plan beyond my understanding, and I needed to trust in that and keep my dad in prayer.
Send them mail!
Everyone likes getting mail, right? A simple “I’m thinking about you!” note could really make someones day. A long letter telling them all your goings-on would probably be well appreciated! If you have the means, care packages are also really nice. Send them a box of their favorite things! There are so many creative and fun mail ideas online that you couldn’t run out of ideas.
And now, one thing you SHOULD NOT do…
Don’t dwell on negative thoughts!
I, being the worrier I am, can go very quickly to extreme and negative thinking. This led to disturbing dreams when my dad was deployed. Trust me, you don’t want to go there! Don’t allow your mind to trick you into thinking you are isolated and devastatingly lonely. Instead, set your mind on things that are good and true.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, thing about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)
If we keep our minds God-focused, He promises to give us His peace, something all the chocolate and hanging out with friends can’t give us.
I hope this blesses you all, in whatever season you’re in and whatever hardship you’re going through! To read my post about friendlessness on Crown of Beauty Magazine, click here.