"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted..." [Psalm 25:16] ~~~
I used to be a “nice to meet you!” girl. A “let’s get coffee!” and “be there in five minutes!” kind of woman. My life was largely about firm handshakes, long conversations over cups of warm coffee, and share-everything-all-the-time relationships. I always had a friend to talk to, to laugh with, to simply just be with.
I discovered parts of God’s personality through my friends. His humor and his joy, his compassion and excitement, his depth and his honesty. I discovered the tangible heights of his availability – it was easy to find someone I could eat lunch with or go for a walk with. I couldn’t get enough of friendship; something insatiable within me cried out for companionship and at my small private school, I was met with exactly that. When I felt lonely, I could send a text message or dial a phone number and all of a sudden I wasn’t alone anymore. Solitude was never an obstacle; I was surrounded. I was constantly meeting new people and seeking out new relationships. A room of strangers equaled a room full of best friends I hadn’t met yet. Handshake after handshake, coffee after coffee, I fed the extrovert within me.
When God asked me to go on an adventure to a state where I knew no one, I didn’t really realize how deserted I would feel there. So I said goodbye to my friends and my comfort, and to the “nice to meet you” chapter of my life.
At first I was under the spell of this new beginning and fresh start. I ate up every single moment. But the dust has settled and the music has slowed, and I miss those deep conversations over coffee and those midnight drives to the beach. I miss my friends. And I don’t want new friends; I want my friends.
I think I am in a “goodbye” stage of my life now. I talk to friends on the phone who live in other states, and I say goodbye. I eat lunch with friends when I am in town for a visit, and then I say goodbye. I spend hours on Skype with friends all over the world, and then I say goodbye.
I'm saying goodbye a lot these days.
This extroverted flesh of mine wants to feel alone.
The people-person within me wants to run back to those friendships, that comfort, those midnight drives.
The easily-lonely girl that I am constantly reaches for the phone, thinking, “Who can I call? Who can I talk to? Who can fill this loneliness?”
And a still, strong voice says, “Me. No one else but Me.”
God calls us to community, yes. But God first calls us to himself.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” [Jeremiah 29:12-14]
God longs to see us expressing love to each other through intimacy and companionship. But God first calls us to intimacy and companionship with him.
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” [John 17:3]
I am (slowly) learning how to put down the phone, turn off Netflix, and dive right in to companionship with Jesus. Can I be honest with you? I am awful at it sometimes. I am used to the distraction of people – I am gregarious through and through. But for now, God has removed those from my life.
I have said goodbye to my friends, for now. I choose to say goodbye to distractions and goodbye to noises.
He gives, and he takes away. And both are a blessing.