Back in May I was sharing with my small group that I felt so blessed because I just knew God was working in my heart. You see, I am normally very tempted towards anxiousness, but recently I’ve not been struggling with this at all. I had shared with them that although our family has goals and we are looking forward to the future, for the first time (maybe ever) I am perfectly content with my life and what God is doing, how he is doing it, and even okay with the time frame he’s doing it in. Whoa!
Well, I think Satan heard me boasting in the Lord and decided it was time for a little attack to shake things up. Over the past month or so I have been struggling with loneliness. This is something I’ve struggled with on and off for my whole life but within the past month, these feelings have just grown exponentially.
I wrote several posts about being busy. Some of you may have been wondering what could possibly be keeping me THAT busy. Or maybe you are wondering if I was keeping myself that busy, how in the world could I possibly be lonely.
Anyone who knows me could testify that I am pretty good at being intentional with friendships and over the past two years since I’ve been a stay at home mom I’ve been trying with much more intensity. I try to use my gift of organization to create opportunities for friendships to deepen. I’ve organized and hosted clothing swaps, busy bag parties, recipe exchanges, prayer meetings, bible studies, board game nights with other adults, birthday parties, wedding showers, baby showers, play date groups, and more that I can’t even think of right now. I’ve tried serving others through baby sitting, taking meals to others in need, hosting multiple people in our home for meals at least once a week, and running errands for others. I pray for others a lot (even when I don’t follow up with a card to let that person know). And I try being intentional in pursuing others through email, Facebook, texts, and phone calls on a regular basis for no particular reason at all except just to say hi.
I hope it’s apparent that I do all of this because I love Jesus and I love people. God calls us to love him and to love our neighbor as our self. Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of loving others greater than himself and he also promises to never leave or forsake us. He is our ultimate forever friend. However, God did not create us to live alone on this earth. His desire for us is companionship. We are not created to be independent but interdependent. No man is an island and especially for believers, we are called to live and be part of an active community not only for the glory of God but also for our sanctification. This is good news for me since I love spending time with people. I love deep relationships. I love getting to know how God has worked differently in every single individual. If you tried to find me on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, you would most likely see me dangling off the end of the extrovert side.
On the outside I may seem secure, independent, too busy to establish new relationships, or even like I have it altogether. But let me be real for a moment. Let’s peel back the onion layers and look at the inside. If I’m being truly vulnerable I must admit that in reality, I am still lonely.
How can this be?
Well, when you put this all together it does really makes sense. If we love others in the way we want to be loved it would stand to reason that I am doing all the things I listed above in hoping that others will reciprocate. You see, there’s an underlying motive (because Satan is tricky like that). For me, I plan events to meet women with similar interests as mine. I serve, pray, and pursue others to develop a deeper love and respect for them not chiefly because that’s what I am called to do but because that’s what I want someone to do for me. Can you say twisted, manipulative, and selfish?
What’s so amazing is in the midst of finally realizing this was taking place in my heart, I saw God’s grace through this simple blog post that was shared by a friend on Facebook. The entire things is about what moms can do to encourage one another so that we are not lonely. After reading this it hit me, I’m not the only lady who struggles with this!
I’m sure we all long for a friend who loves us the same way we love her.
So, with that said, let me pause here and explain something. I do have friends. I have some really good friends who are incredible blessings in my life not because of what they do for me but because of who they are and who God has created them to be. I have friends from high school, college, and each of the places I’ve ever lived, worked, or gone to church. For the most part, I do try and keep in touch with many of them, even if it’s only on Facebook. I have friends living on six different continents. I have friends who live in over half of the United States. I have close girl friends that I can talk girl stuff with. I have friends from church who understand my convictions. I have friends who like the same hobbies I do. I have friends who are moms and even some who are grandmoms. I have my husband, who is my very best friend. So how can someone whose identity is rooted in Christ, with many good friends, and even with several really deep friendships ever feel lonely?
S. I. N. Yep, yet again- sin is the culprit. After much though, I figure it really just boils down to my sin. Discontentment. Unmet expectations. Greed. Whatever you want to call it, the fact of the matter is that I am grumbling and complaining about an aspect of my life that I have no control over. I am basically looking for someone to pour into ME and help ME so I don’t always feel so weary from pouring into others.
I am looking for a woman who passionately loves the Lord and see how he is working in every aspect of life. Someone who wants to talk more about what He is doing instead of the weather, the latest trends in books, clothes, or movies, or the shortcomings of others.
I am looking for a woman who respects her husband, speaks in a positive way about him, is real about struggles they have but never slandering him when seeking counsel. Someone who values spending time with her husband but does not make it an idol so much so that she can’t sacrifice time with him to invest in others.
I’m looking for a woman who has children and can understand the struggles and joys of motherhood. Someone who has similar thoughts about discipline, education, health, etc. No two sets of parents are going to raise their children exactly the same, but having some common beliefs about childrearing would be helpful when I need advice.
I am looking a woman who loves other people. Someone who is thoughtful and intentional about serving others and putting their love into action. This includes their family, their church, their friends, and the lost people around them. Someone who also strives to make sure others are included and will sacrifice comfort even if that means a few extra people join in what ever activity they are doing.
I am looking for someone who will reciprocate efforts to maintain and deepen friendship. Someone who will pray for me, text me, call me, or just stop by to see me without needing something (to do these things just because they want to spend time with me or are thinking about me). Someone who will answer her phone (even it’s just to tell me it’s a bad time). Someone who will occasionally sacrifice “husband time” for “girlfriend time.” Someone who won’t forget that my kids and I would like to be invited to play dates too (or goodness gracious, even over to someone else’s house to play).
Basically, I’m looking for someone who doesn’t exist. This is a reality for everyone of us. But here’s what we all need to realize: Although none of our friends will ever be able to meet every single criteria we have on our list of expectations, we have Christ who will never leave us or forsake us and who will NEVER let us down. In addition, we need to look at the friends we DO have and be thankful for each of their strengths and giftings. We need to stop giving Satan the small victories, we must push aside any self-pity we may be feeling, and delight in the Lord who loves us and is working ALL things for the good of those who love him!