This afternoon, a single text from one of my friends touched my very soul and woke me up in an incredibly profound way. It’s the kind of moment that only God can orchestrate because the other person at the time had no idea my state because I didn’t let on… so he had no idea that what he was saying would impact me the way it did.
I’ve been carrying around a deep loneliness for quite a while. I just realized it recently that this is what it was and mostly, I’ve put myself here because of circumstances and the challenge I have with letting anyone outside of my family into the deeper chambers of my heart. It’s the kind of loneliness that doesn’t go away no matter how many quality people you’re around. Notice, I even said quality people… so I’m not just talking about the amount of people…
Not to mention that “deferred hope” bit I mentioned earlier compounding on top of that… needless to say, I have definitely been feeling sorry for myself a lot lately.
Let me elaborate for a second, because I’m no longer wallowing at this point… thanks to that text, which I will still get to later. I want my mask to come off though (I’ve been thinking about masks and facades a lot the past few days). So bear with me as I express some more of what my attitude has been like and the thoughts that have been crossing my mind on a regular basis. I was in the mode with stuff rolling through my head like:
- “What is wrong with me?”
- “I’m such a freak of nature”
- “Why did my family have to face so much adversity in my developmental years, now I’m so behind in life”
- “I carry around so much baggage from that stuff I can’t even function properly in society”
- “I wish I didn’t have to worry so often about my family. Why can’t life be easy for once?”
- “No one understands what my family went through, therefore no one gets me and cannot understand. I am completely alone.”
- “I’m afraid to trust You, Lord, because so often it’s mainly disappointments that occur in my life when I do trust you. I’m used to that pattern now.” <- Honest, this was an actual statement I made to God this morning…
- “This is such a dry season. I still can’t hear You. I don’t know if I can handle the desert and wilderness anymore. I don’t know if I want that grain of sand to irritate me anymore… no matter what the size or value of the pearl may be. Can my heart even survive this much longer?” <- Another thing I said to Him this morning.
My embittered attitude toward God was becoming increasingly apparent with each new thought. I had started listening to lies again, doubting, taking my life into my own hands to try to avoid more pain and adversity, chasing after stuff and striving to mask over the wounds with activities/achievements. Sum it all up with a nice “woe is me!” and that about describes my outlook.
Sounds like a pleasant person to be around, don’t it?!
My heart HAD taken beatings even greater than my adolescent times in the past couple of years. I miss my great-grandfather and didn’t really get to mourn his death because my heart was mangled that same day by another personal situation attached to a friend. I actually felt the physical strain on my heart (the organ) in December 2012 and January 2013 when this all happened. It felt like it was tearing in two.
The Lord pulled me through though, and a few months later I had a glimmer of hope for something I thought was impossible… a relationship with a person I’d been interested in for 3 years. That realistic hope lasted for a couple of months, only until I screwed it up last summer in person by getting so nervous when we finally had face-to-face time. All hope postponed after that when my issues surfaced at the most inopportune moments and then I just made the situation worse over the phone trying to protect and explain myself. Then I kept stringing myself along though this past year, believing “just maybe”… so my heart gets sicker and sicker.
Another friend who I’d bawled with and prayed with over losing a loved one back in that December ’12/January ’13 time, and who I’d invested years of love and emotional life into… only a year later decides to cut off all relationship. January 2014, the message hits out of nowhere and I DON’T understand! A part of my heart felt like it died that day and it was another time of deep weeping and pain. I still love that friend, he was like my little brother, and I miss him all the time. I am at a loss for why this happened.
Loss after loss, blow after blow… my sensitive heart that yearns for meaningful connectedness and deeper relationship has been torn to shreds and has barely hung on for almost 2 years. It may not sound like much, but I am leaving out a lot of details and other situations. And when you love deep and you finally connect close, it is painful when it is taken away.
If the Lord hadn’t blessed me with new friends for healing and old friends and family for encouragement, I would really be in serious and deeper pain than I am now. I would fall into even deeper loneliness and wallow longer. Yet I have learned much, and I can see now why True Unconditional Love brought a Man to die on a Cross. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). It’s painful and beautiful.
So back to the text message I received today from a good friend the Lord put in my life this past summer…
I’d jokingly asked him how he could possibly make so many new friends and told him he needed to train me with his new friend making skillz (yes, I had put the “z” because it’s more dorky that way). His response to my whole message was this:
“What do we take to heaven but each other? There’s a psyche living within each of us that is self-absorbed. That psyche must be smothered! btw I didn’t get all your message”
The key things that hit me… “What do we take to heaven but each other?” and the word “self-absorbed”. BAM! It hit me like a ton of bricks.
My insecurities are self-absorbed. My wallowing in self-pity from my “adversity” and heart-shredings = self-absorbed. My believing that in no way could anyone understand me due to my background or that I just don’t know how to function socially because of ‘all I’ve been through’ = self-absorbed. And it was preventing me from the opportunity to love on people. It was blinding me from remembering the things of the Kingdom and the importance of relationship, no matter who it is with and during what amount of “time” on this planet.
During dinner this evening, I wasn’t in the conversation but I overheard an acquaintance say to someone else referencing time and relationships: “It’s hard to remember that people are temporary treasures”.
What do we take to heaven but each other? What else matters on this planet besides this, besides relationships and pointing others through healthy, loving relationship to the most important One so they can be with Him and us in heaven?… the roller coaster of my life, the adversity, the losses, should not prevent me from being a better servant of the Most High God, a better daughter, a better sister, or a better friend to the people around me. It should not stop me from smothering my “self” and loving people deeply from the heart.
Bring on the dry irritating sand, bring on the wilderness… if it teaches me thirst or desperation for intimacy and a deeper relationship with You… if it shows me how to love more broadly and more intensely… if it strips me of my self-absorption and trains me to reach out and up, rather than in and down.
Maybe this makes sense… maybe it doesn’t. Hopefully some part of it does, even if the verbal composition is a little strange. I just want to give glory to God again for who He is and how He moves.
Father, restore my attitude so it can please You alone. Help me let go of all pain and baggage, to walk in peace, freedom, and to love on everyone around me as You love on us. And make my desire undividedly for One, Jesus, and to be satisfied having Your attention only. Teach me to trust again and take away all my bitterness. I’m sorry for doubting you, for not trusting you. Please forgive me and make me new. Help me to remember that time and people are precious, so wasting time wallowing in self-pity does not honor You and hinders relationship. Send revival. In Jesus’ name. Amen.