I told Brittany today that I’m ashamed of this fact, but that I make a much better pen-pal than a friend. The heart is there, the desire to be a good friend, the willingness to listen and love from afar, but when it comes time to actually making time to see people face-to-face? I’m not very good at it.
I have been really working on being more present in the lives of my loved ones. I’m not sure why I am so quick to lose energy and so eager to be alone, but I know that God can do more with me in relationship with others than He can do with me when I’m letting my desire for solitude guide my decisions.
Also, I’m not sure how much of my desire for solitude is even really me. Certainly some of it is, but I know that Satan would also love to have me check out of relationship with others. He knows I am more vulnerable and less impactful to the Kingdom of God when I am consistently alone.
Additionally, when I follow through and show up to the events I said I was going to and don’t back out on plans with friends at the last minute, I always feel glad. I walk away feeling more alive. I feel grateful for life. And, often, I feel more connected to God.
I think there is a balance. I think there’s time to be alone, and there’s time to step into the role of Friend.
It’s also important to allow yourself time to receive from others. My friends need me, yes, but I also need them.
I was reading today about the wedding Jesus attended where He performed His first miracle- turning the water into wine.
The commentary about that scene was:
“…The wedding date caught Jesus at a critically busy time, just as His Father was launching His ministry. For Him to be intentional enough to attend this wedding tells us He had relationships and divine purpose there.”
What God spoke to me through that was as follows:
1. If ever there was a good excuse to cancel plans with loved ones, Jesus had one. “Sorry, but I am the Son of God, and I’m really busy right now trying to bring salvation and freedom to the world.” But He didn’t say that. He didn’t back out. He said He would attend, and He did.
2. The word “intentional” stood out to me. Lord, help me to live every aspect of my life intentionally- aware of what You have for me. Help me not commit to be somewhere or do something if it’s not what You have for me, and help me to keep my word when I say I am going to be somewhere. I think that’s why I feel more connected to You after keeping my plans with my loved ones- I did what it was You asked of me. Prayer and Bible reading are well and good, they are important, but it’s more important to You that I love You and love others. If I say I want to live for You, I cannot minimize or discount how imporant it is to You that I love the people You’ve placed in my life. Help me remember, Lord, that even if I think I am good at loving people, love is an action. Help me to not just feel love for the people in my life, but to wear love. To radiate it. To be so full of You that I can’t help but act in love. After all, that is how people are to know we’ve been set apart, that we’ve come into contact with the Creator and are now changed. Help me not be a hypocrite, professing love but not living as if people are truly important to me. Help me not live as if You aren’t real. Help my life, the things I say and do, to be a testament to the fact that You are alive and present and moving.
3. Jesus prioritized His relationships with the people in His life. He is my example of how to live, and when I try to convince myself that He doesn’t care whether or not I spend most of my time alone, I’m not being honest with myself. He does care.
4. He sensed that He had “divine purpose” at that wedding. God was going to use Him right there, smack-dab in the middle of an everyday event. Help me to remember, Lord, that there are no ordinary moments. No moments too “worldly” for You not to use me or show up. Help me to know that I am not walking away from quality time with You when I leave my home and spend time with the people I care about. There’s nowhere I’d rather be than with You, in Your presence, speaking with You and hearing from You, and so that often contributes to my lack of willingness to leave my home. But, Lord, I know that You go with me wherever I go. Help me to live out my day in constant awareness that I am here for a purpose. Help me to know that in every moment, with every breath I’m given, You are with me. You want to use me. You want to show up through me. Help me, Lord, not to “hide my light”- the light of You in me.
Thank You, Jesus, that You made us relational beings. Thank You that there are no insignificant moments. Thank You that Love matters most. And Lord, help me get better at loving people- not just from a distance, not just in words, but face-to-face. Help me to love them in a hugging, laughing with them, crying with them, hand-holding, eye contact, meaningful conversation sort of way. Help me to remember, Lord, that Love shows up. It is present. Just as You are.