Monday, July 28, 2014

Loneliness, friendships and hope

I have noticed a cycle within my friendships. I start out really excited about hanging out with others and send emails, texts, FB messages, etc to the people I would like to get together with. Often it’s for a playdate because, let’s face it, I’m a SAHM and most of my time includes my two kids. I have a period of time when I am seeing other adults on a regular basis (which means once or twice a week, which probably seems like a pitifully small amount of adult interaction to non-SAHMs - obviously I see my husband much more frequently, but there’s something different about girl time).
Eventually I hit the other half of the cycle where I feel worn out from doing most/all of the inviting and stop with the hope that someone will invite me (and probably the kids) to do something. While waiting for this to happen, I tend to throw myself a little pity party. I don’t quite know how I get back into the inviting mode or how long this part of the cycle usually lasts. I think several things happen. First, I decide that I’ve had enough loneliness and would rather suggest gatherings than continue to go without other adults. Second, I choose to believe that the people really do want to hang out but they are very busy with their families and just need someone to ask them to make time to hang out.
I feel like I can’t be the only one who deals with this. I certainly can’t be the only SAHM who needs to have conversations with non-children. Part of my problem seems to be that most of the other SAHMs I know live 30+ minutes away from me or are already part of an established group. It probably wouldn’t be so pronounced if I had family around. It kind of feels like our family is a little island when we really want to be part of a community. Maybe we aren't showing our vulnerability so others don’t know that we are in need.
Well, here is my confession. I’m lonely. I need others. I’m tired of feeling like I have to always be the one to reach out in order to connect. I want to know that someone cares and enjoys spending time with me.
We, as people, were created for community (Genesis 2:18). The devil likes to isolate us - especially from God and other believers - because then we are more vulnerable to his lies and schemes. God’s word says that he works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Since I know these things and have just reminded myself of these truths, my next step is to end my pity party and figure out what God might be teaching me or trying to develop in me through this.
I have struggled with sharing my deeper thoughts and feelings with my husband. I have been praying to be bolder in opening up with him. Perhaps God is answering this prayer by temporarily removing other outlets so that I can improve my communication with him. For this, I am grateful.
It may also be to help me see my need for others. I tend to live fairly independent and self-sufficient. Feeling loneliness is a good reminder that I do need others and that it’s okay to not be able to do it all alone.
This experience has caused me to ask again, Do I trust God? (Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5) Yes, I do. I trust him to provide me with the things I need when I need them, including friendships (And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19). I am so thankful for the encouragement his word provides and the ability to recall applicable verses during times of personal struggle. Having reminded myself of God’s love for me, his provision and perfect timing, I am refreshed with hope and courage.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
 “Where is your God?”
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
~Psalm 42:1-3,5~
You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.
~Psalm 59:17~

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