God is continuing to help me work out this struggle with loneliness. I have felt that others do not fully understand what I have been trying to express about loneliness. I do not find it difficult gathering people together but am familiar with the truth that it is possible to be lonely in a crowd. My deeper desire is to belong and to feel known and that doesn’t result from a bunch of surface relationships. My other frustration has been in not receiving many invitations from others. But God has recently helped me to understand and admit that I have been focusing on the minor annoyances rather than on the many blessings he has provided for me.
When I was in church on Sunday I felt that God was asking me to just let go of my frustrations, give him the whole situation, trust him to do what is best, and turn my focus toward the blessings and express gratitude for what I do have (rather than lament on what I feel I am lacking).
It is a blessing that so many people accept my invitations. Most of the time people are willing to get together with me or my family and I should not discount that. It is a blessing that there are a few people who do extend invitations to me and my family. I don’t know why I want more people to do that as I would then be overwhelmed and not be able to focus on growing deeper in a few special relationships. I do have several good friends who are dependable and invested and I am remorseful that I have not seemed more appreciative.
I also think I have been expecting too much from various situations, having unrealistic expectations as a matter of fact. I did enjoy the party I hosted recently but I went into it knowing I would not be able to have any really deep conversations with anyone because my focus would be on everyone feeling welcomed, comfortable and enjoying themselves. We went to a community gathering for church over the weekend and I knew it would be another evening of short, not-too-personal conversations and I was able to enjoy it for what it was. I cannot expect every gathering to fulfill my need to be known.
I am continuing to learn that I can only be completely fulfilled and known in Jesus. I am working on being transparent with Jesus in meaningful time with him daily (because he already knows it all, why bother trying to cover anything up). I do believe that a large part of my struggle has been in trying to get people to meet a need only Jesus can fill.
I know the struggle is not over, but I have hope and confidence that I will be victorious in Jesus. I recognize the truth in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I have believed the enemy’s lies but have recently recognized them as being lies and have spoken truth to myself in these areas to refute the lies. The enemy is hard at work but I am becoming wise to his schemes and fighting back through prayer and God’s word. Sunday's sermon at church had a quote from John Piper about being “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37) meaning that not only do we defeat our enemy (as conquerors do), but our enemy actually serves and helps us. So our weaknesses and mistakes can be redeemed and become beneficial. I know the truth in that and was appreciative of the reminder.
I have struggled throughout the past few years but am seeing some hope and purpose in it. I know I have not always been wise or grace-filled in how I have handled everything but I know that I am covered by grace and pray for forgiveness from anyone I have hurt during this process. I am as flawed and fumbling as the next person. I pray that others would see the hope and God's faithfulness in my story. God has the power to redeem any and every circumstance and story.