“The Lord your God is in your midst; a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud signing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
I wished the small room would open up and swallow me whole. Just envelop me into an abyss that would simultaneously hide me and remove me …..
It’s painful to be in a crowded room and feel all alone …..
Everyone had someone. Their chatting and laughing lilted in a symphony of connection. I looked around, and there wasn’t a soul I recognized, nor any eye that looked at me ….
My brain demanded I just walk up and introduce myself to someone — to anyone. But my heart sensed they were all knee-deep in conversations that would be super awkward for me to break into, and besides, no one even really noticed my entrance or my existence ….
Isn’t it strange how you can literally rub shoulders with lots of people but feel utterly alone? You could miss a single touch. Proximity and activity don’t always equal connectivity …..
On the surface, connectivity seems to require that I connect with other people, and they connect back with me. Of course that gathering was an extreme example of being alone in a crowded room, but that feeling isn’t sequestered to that one incident, not in the least …..
I can get it when things grow cold and too quiet with a family member. And deep down inside of me, I may want to ask for forgiveness, but my pride is holding all my kind words hostage. So the silent treatment continues. Has continued. And even though we’ve loved, lost, and even lived in the same house before, we’re nowhere near connecting …..
Or that feeling can happen when I’m with a group of women, and I can’t quite seem to break into the conversation. I mentally beat myself up for not being more brilliant, or caught up on the world’s current events and fashion trends. They all seem so effortlessly on top of everything ….
In each of these situations I’m with people. But I’m so very alone ….
And I secretly ponder how the events of that day clearly point out other people’s issues: their self-focus, their past problems, their insensitivity. But the problem wasn’t the people at that place. The problem isn’t my family or that group of women. It was me not being prepared in advance with a fullness that can only come from God ….
It was as if I walked into each of these situations suddenly feeling like I wouldn’t be able to breathe unless someone else invited me in. The whole room was full of completely breathable air, but since I refused to take it in, I suffered ….
I can’t expect any other person to be my soul oxygen. I can’t live as if my next breath depends on whether or not they give me enough air for my lungs not to be screaming in pain. And it seems like its been this way for a very long time ….
No, it’s not wrong to need people. But some of our biggest disappointments in life are the result of expectations we have for others, which they can’t ever possibly meet. In some circles, that’s called a need for validation. Regardless, that’s when the desire to connect becomes an unrealistic need ….
Here’s the secret shift I’m learning that I must make:
Do I walk into situations prepared with the fullness of God in me, free to look for ways to bless others?
Do I walk into situations empty and dependent on others to look for ways to bless me?
People prepared with the fullness of God in them are not super-people with pixie dust sparkles of confidence. No, the fullness of God is tucked into the sacred places within them. The full taking in of God is their ‘soul oxygen’. It’s not that they don’t need people. They do. God created them for community. But the way they love is from a full place, not from an empty desperation. They live loved.
And this is how I want to live, too. To know I am valued, loved, and my soul matters regardless of who I am, what I’ve done or failed to do, and just simply because God loves me I am lovable ……
Being full of God’s love settles, empowers and brings out the best of who we are. His love quiets us deep within, just like our key verse (Zephaniah 3:17) reminds us ….
And when we live from the abundant place that we are loved, we won’t find ourselves begging others for scraps of love. We’ll be ready to walk into a room and share the love we already know is ours, each and every time. We can hold our heads high and walk in proudly instead of skulking in looking for a backrow seat …..
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:17-18)
This debacle I’m speaking of was my entrance into a church yesterday seeking out someone to speak with. I saw a sign for a bible study and my soul sickness was driving me for interaction with someone, so I entered ….. and the whole 20 minutes sent me back out into the darkness gasping for air. Obviously not ready for any more church interactions quite yet, and it’s sad ….
I can’t remember when I last felt this alone, but I believe I was drugged. However, I have enough of the Word in me to know that though that excursion experiment failed, there is one place that I have yet to feel alone or rejected; and that was at my Master’s feet. No matter how fragmented I am, He still is there for me lovingly reaching. He has never failed me, and of more importance, never abandoned me when I’ve failed Him ….
As I knelt down there and began to pour out my sorrow, the Comforter arrived and as I wept, I found scriptures filling my mind of how much Jesus loves me and I was quieted ….
“God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” (Psalm 46:5).
When was the last time you sat quietly and simply meditated on how much God loves you? Perhaps today might be a good day to spend some time letting Him love on you and remind you of just how precious you are to Him ….
Let us pray ~
Oh Lord, each year as my birthday comes around again, it brings to the surface of my heart such painful memories for me. Lord Jesus I thank You that You understand. Thank You that You care; and I thank You that You are always with me and have promised never to leave me or forsake me; and that You will be with me, no matter what sadnesses or difficulties arise in my life ….
Heal my heart and give me beauty for ashes I pray. Help me not to focus on past pain or hurts, but rather look to the promise of Your blessed hope and the life everlasting that You have prepared for me in heaven.
Thank You for all of the good times I have had in my life, but more importantly, I thank You for bringing me through the bad times as well. Please help me Lord to face this birthday anniversary without any bitterness, resentment, or feelings of isolation, but rather may the sweetness of Your love surround me all throughout this day …..
Fill me Lord with Your comfort and peace, and use me Lord to be comfort to others who may have to experience some of the pain that I have gone through. I trust Lord that in Your strength I will be able to face the future with hope in my heart that only comes from You ….
Thank You most of all for sending Your precious Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to come to earth as a little baby, so that He could live His life as an example to us all on how to live a life that is pleasing to You my Lord; but I thank You especially Lord, that He came as my Saviour, who laid down His life for me, and became the finished sacrifice for the sin of the whole world, which He paid for in full with His own life-blood. Oh Lord, thank You. However can I possibly grumble and complain over my feeble emotions considering Your sacrifice and emotions that You experienced for me to have this life and more abundantly …..
Lord as I face another year, I ask that You would be with me to lead and guide me. Give me the strength and wisdom I need as I pass through the inevitable challenges that this year will bring. And I pray that day be day You would draw me ever closer into Your loving arms so that I may know You more and love You better, in Jesus name I pray, Amen …