Countering a Culture of Lonliness

posted by Bethel Young Adults | May 1, 2019

You have a million friends...

... but you aren’t sure if anyone really knows you.

You wonder how many people would still stand by your side if your life turned upside down.

No one seems to be intentionally pursuing a deeper relationship with you.

You don’t have many people you feel you can truly confide in.

Sound familiar?

1 in 3 young adults reports suffering from loneliness, more than any other age group. At a time in our lives when many of us are at our most social, on campuses surrounded by thousands of people just like us, involved in clubs and sports and going to classes and jobs, with social media to stay in touch with friends all across the world, without the time-consuming commitment of families, why are we at our loneliest?

Psychologists suggest that young adults are more likely than any other group to prioritize activities that achieve goals, not meaningful connections. We value and find significance in being busy, and even when we’re spending time with peers, we spend it on goal-oriented tasks: we’re studying, having meetings, working out, planning events, etc.  When we’re not spending our time with peers working, we’re likely spending it on a passive activity, like watching something on a TV or on our phones, instead of having a distraction-free conversation. And when we finally do sit down face-to-face with a friend with the intention of getting to know them better, there is still a strong tension we experience between wanting to be genuine and vulnerable so that we can feel deeply known, and wanting to be seen as whatever kind of person others will be most likely to accept. We would often rather be “cool” than be ourselves.

We obviously aren’t satisfied with the surface-level friendships we’ve been cultivating. We know we were made for deeper relationships. We feel the same desire as everyone else: to be fully known and fully loved. That’s part of what drew us to the church in the first place. But we don’t know where to find people who are selfless enough to invest in others’ lives. We don’t know how to initiate the conversations that will take our relationships deeper. Everyone else seems too caught up in their own problems to care enough to enter into someone else’s mess. Even when people do seem like they really care, we don’t want to be a burden to them, so we keep to ourselves.

If you’ve been around Bethel for any time at all, you’ve heard it over and over and over again: “Life is better together.”

That’s not just something we say. It’s something we live.

And it’s no different at Bethel Young Adults. We really believe that walking through life together – the awesome parts and the messy parts – is the greatest blessing in the world. We strive to be the community that our culture of loneliness is searching for. We’ll accept you for exactly who you are, allow you to be your most authentic, God-designed self, challenge you to be constantly learning and growing in your relationship with God, and equip you to be a world-changer. And most importantly, we won’t let you do life alone.

Whether you’re in college, started working straight out of high school, taking a gap year, in grad school, getting settled into your career, or have absolutely no idea what you’re doing – we have a seat at our table for you.

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