Monday, July 20, 2009

Only the Lonely

This is probably one of the most honest and vulnerable blogs I've written, so we'll see if it stays up until tomorrow...

I have never wanted to be the stereotypical anything. So when it comes to being the stereotypical 20-something single, this applies at least doubly.

But lately I feel the Lord has been pressing me to pray about the fact that- despite my fervent denial- I am lonely.

I live alone. My closest family is 5 hours away by car, in another state. I have good friends, but most of them have their own families and all of them have their own lives to be concerned with. More often than not, between the time I leave work and go back to work the next day, I haven't talked to anyone. And most of this is by choice- I am an introvert and that both serves me well and is a stumbling block.

I probably have less of a problem than most when it comes to going places alone. I have always been independent, but at the same time it is painful still to sit alone in a sea of families of many sorts. There's also a healthy dose of pride hurting there as well, I can't deny. I hate to feel like people pity me, although it's probably more my paranoia than reality.

Please understand, my family loves me dearly and I have more amazing friends than I could ever deserve, but it's the small things that make up life no one really knows.

My coworkers have heard more useless anecdotes of my life than they can probably count, simply because when I come to work, there are people- really the only people I see interact with regularly. I have things I want to share with someone, and they are my friends and they are there. And graciously they haven't told me to shut up yet. :)

Life is made up of the little things. Our victories are primarily small victories, and those small victories often have stories behind them, so if no one knows the stories, how can they share my victories? The same with defeats.

I think that the recent, ongoing issues at my church have contributed to this feeling and realization.

And perhaps through partly this urge to remain un-typical and greater part due to God's work in me, I refuse to wallow or make myself comfortable in this feeling of loneliness.

Instead it becomes a call to prayer. And not the formulated, Sunday school prayers, but the honest cries of a child to her Father. I believe that when we talk with our Father honestly, he is thrilled to be invited into our hearts and begin his work in us.

And I realize that this is certainly not a issue that singles alone face. In fact I think in many ways it is a much deeper pain to feel lonely in a marriage or in a family, and there are sadly many who feel that way.

But God is both good and faithful, and I will trust him alone to fill the loneliness I feel rather than trusting in the counterfeit company the world suggests or provides.

Title blatantly ripped off from a wonderful, highly recommended sermon series at The Village Church in Denton, Texas by Paul Matthies, which can be heard here.


Anonymous said...

And Paul Matthies borrowed the title from a song by Roy Orbison.

laura said...

Today I came across your blog through Mike Cope's. I'm glad I hopped over to read your "Only the Lonely" and your thoughts from Easter. Thank you for giving voice to many of my feelings and thoughts. Know you are not alone in your struggles. If no one else understands, someone in Abilene, Texas does.

Alyson said...

Hey Ann. I'm sure you know that you are very loved, but it doesn't hurt to reiterate. You're loved! I may be married, but I TOTALLY understand the 'you-must-be-married-by-age-19-or-you're-an-old-maid' syndrome that is predominant in the church. I know that God has something wonderful in store for you and for his wise-beyond-measure reasons he's making you wait a bit for it. I'll pray that you have peace during this time, though because sometimes peace is difficult to find.

Rachel O said...

My dear, I can relate totally. I did not marry Dirk until I was 25, and the years after college and before meeting him were exactly as you describe. My family was in Kansas and I lived alone with my cat.

I don't really have an answer or a remedy, but I do know that I did the same thing as you, I turned to God. He was all I had. I prayed, a lot.. and I wrote it all down. I was at a miserable job, in a city with a few friends and no family, and I was lonely. I wrote down all of my prayers, yearnings, sadness, etc. I told God what I wanted... I described WHO I wanted, and it took two years, but he answered.

And I treasure that book now, because I can go back and read it and SEE how he answered my prayers.

I know it's really hard. So I write all of this to tell you that God does answer prayer, and you should just tell him alllllll of that.

You are not alone. :)

ann said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. It probably wouldn't have stayed up today if no one had commented. :)

Tim Jinkerson said...

I was knocking on the door of 30 before I met the right person, so I know where you are at; but I totally understand that women feel more pressured than men in this respect, and churches often don't help with this.

It's vital that we live in communities; searching for, and eventually finding, that one special person is seldom enough. That way every startup relationship becomes a pressure-cooker.

We need cross-generational relationships, and genuine relationships with good friends, that accept and love us when when are single, and support us when we are in relationships. It's the same for couples that find they can't have children, they can be equally as isolated.

Anonymous said...

Ann, these are very comforting thoughts. Comforting because I needs reminders that I am not the only one who often feels lonely.

Even though I agree with the commenters above, I have to reiterate your point that I don't think feelings of loneliness go away with marriage. Marriage does provide wonderful companionship, but in another sense it isolates you into your little family unit. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I could go back to those college days of being able to drop by other people's rooms at whim or have a good late night conversation. Now that we've all "grown up" and moved into our own spaces, that kind of fellowship will probably never occur again.

I think God made us to know and be known. He's the only one who can truly fill that need, but I'm not sure it can be fully met in this life. Probably loneliness is one of those "homesick" feelings we have to remind us we're not home yet. Can't wait for the fellowship in Heaven!


Anonymous said...

I can't say anything I have not already said about this...except you are so great at expressing in writing the heart of the matter about the many emotions and spiritual phases we all go through. I accept with regret your decision to not write on facebook for a while, but please never decide not to blog. Both of these means of communication are beautiful ways that the Lord has provided for you to reach and teach others who share your feelings, but are not able to articulate in such an insigthful way. Your sharing through the internet is God's special use of you and your talents to encourage, comfort, edify, and bond with people. Please call and know that I am always available and in need of friendship also. Love ya! Dorothy

Have I said this before...I am kind of remembering that I have.