I have heard a common thread running through the conversations of my mommy friends. Why is it so hard to have close friends? Why doesn’t anyone make the effort to hang out with me? I’m feeling really lonely. Why do people seem so friendly on a Sunday, but never get back with me on meeting up during the week? Good questions. All pointing to a legitimate need, especially for women – a desire for relational intimacy. These questions have run around in my own mind – constantly.
Me being who I am, I am not content with something that smells like a trap, feels hopeless or plays over and over again in my head. Those three things have been a consistent red flag for me, and, thus, compelled me to sit down with God to figure out where He is in all of it, and where I’ve left Him out of it.
When my millstone of rejection answers those questions in the first paragraph, it shouts loud and obnoxiously that I don’t have the level of reciprocation that I want (need?) because nobody likes me and never will. Through the grace of Jesus, I’ve come to hate that voice. Now for others, I don’t know what their hearts tell them. If they have damage, as most of us do, the message is probably equally as damning as my own – perhaps cursing themselves and the other party with equal measure.
So. . . what’s God’s perspective in all this. I can answer very clearly for myself. Through a series of events that would take too long to write here and would put you to sleep if I did, I have become privy to several not necessarily new, but finally understood concepts. Let me play a short scenario for you.
I meet someone new. I like them. They seem to like me. We make plans to get together and do, but, oh, no! She’s invited someone else! She didn’t really want to spend time with me like she said she did. Or. . . we make plans and she cancels more than once. Where does that leave me? On the couch, curled up, physically hurting. I need whoever reads this to know, this is embarrassing to share. To reveal to a not-often-safe public the lengths to which I have been stuck in a middle school mentality when it comes to relationships. Are there reasons? Sure. Plenty. But it doesn’t make my responses any less embarrassing.
Here’s what I have come to understand. I have been saying to practically anyone I have ever met, “You like me don’t you?” But if the response is even a little bit tepid, I allow my interpretation of their response to define me. To stamp across my forehead, “LOSER. UNLOVED.” And even if their response wasn’t tepid, it’s never enough. Never enough to fill a cup that was never meant to be filled by them.
I have failed in two ways. I have not guarded my heart. I have allowed even the hint of rejection to emotionally devastate me. The emotional devastation comes from a direct result of asking others to define me when God has already done that – several times, in amazing and intimate ways. I am asking them to usurp God in my life. Everyone knows what happens when we have idols in our lives, right? They will fail you every time. Leave you flat on your face, hurting in places you didn’t know you could hurt.
So, either I believe God about who He has proclaimed me to be – lovely, friend, beautiful, powerful and unique – or I don’t. Either I continue to be an idol worshiper or I worship the only one worth worshiping. Either I keep giving away any voice that I have by asking others to define me and shrink inside myself. Or I keep that power, allow God to define me, and start to make a real difference in the world.
So, how and where does the rubber meet the road? Oh, I have a good story for that, but it’s for another time.