Choosing Commuity

We’re back at it tomorrow, praying and fasting for God to change us, change men, and change the marital status of everyone on the list who is wanting that change!

Sometimes it’s hard to admit we are weak and need community — but learning to let others “get under” our burdens can be the path to life and strength.

One of the hardest weekends in my season of singleness was about three years ago.  I can’t remember what I did Friday night, but I spent Saturday morning as usual:  I straightened up my townhouse and then ran errands.  For some reason, this particular Saturday I felt incredibly lonely.  Maybe it was scurrying around town alone (again!) to take care of the basics of life.  Or maybe my house just felt particularly empty.  Who knows?  But that afternoon, as I lay on my bed to read a book, I ended up sobbing my eyes out, longing be married, to have a partner.  In between sobs I checked email on my blackberry about two dozen times, hoping for that magical note from someone signaling an end to this season — you know, someone saying they had a blind date to fix me up with, or some guy from the past emailing me out of the blue … anything that would give me a little hope.  A Saturday afternoon rescue.

Sunday at church I found a seat — alone — in the back.  A guy I had chatted with a few months before, but who had blown me off when I included him in my evite list to a Christmas party, sat two rows ahead of me.  A wave of rejection and awkwardness swept over me.  There was no way I wanted to bump into him at the “meet and greet” time after the service.  Couple that with the usual loneliness of Sundays (ironically, I often felt the most alone at church), and I had to fight hard to keep the tears at bay.  By now the service had started; I thought, “I don’t want to cry in front of everyone.”  I saw some girlfriends walking in late, and I knew I needed my friends.  So I grabbed all my stuff and ran over to sit with them.

After the service I broke down again, but this time in the company of friends.  What a difference!  So often it’s tempting to keep our walls up, our tears private, and our upper lip as stiff as possible.  But that’s not what God intends.  He means for us to share one another’s pain, to bear one another’s burdens.  He calls us to pray for one another, to find healing in the context of community.  He knows we need others to pull us to the Cross.

So my challenge on this snowy Sunday is for all of us to be willing to be weak and to admit that we need one another — to choose to share our lives, and our pain, rather than try to go it alone.  We need to be willing to be open and vulnerable with trusted friends, even though at times it’s easier to put on the mask of strength.  This can be as simple as being honest about our struggles and asking for prayer, or asking a family to save a seat for you on Sunday mornings so you don’t have to sit alone.  God made us for community, and if you don’t have one, pray for God to provide and look around — he means for us to share our lives.

Anne

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9 Responses to Choosing Commuity

  1. Jennifer says:

    Wondering if there is a way for kindred spirits in this post to connect? Any ideas anyone? l, I read this post and thought about how lonely church services could be. Everybody looks happy — well most people do. And even if they are faking, it at least they have someone or people in their family to fake it with 🙂 . For me, I am single and moved to this part of the world for school, It’s something I struggled with in university, because I was already about 3-4 years older than my peers. It seemed that everyone had their social circle already formed. I can relate to the poster whose initial circle of friends moved on, and the need to have wholesome, christian friendships with people of the same gender. There’s nothing wrong with us either. We know that God is near to the broken-hearted.

  2. Kristen Joy says:

    Niki, Sumera, Diva,

    I can relate to your feelings of loneliness, at least in some respects. I think we are often told to “reach out,” with the implication that then we’ll get friends. But I have been challenged lately to try to “reach out” as an act of obedience to Christ rather than as a way to fulfill my own needs. This is something I am just starting to work on, so I don’t have all the answers!

    I am excited that I found this blog, and I am praying for all of you tonight!

  3. I agree completely with this post. We weren’t made to do life alone, even if we’re single. I’ve been gifted with many, many friends, and have a huge support network between friends and family. I’ve found that when I’m brave enough to be honest and weak about my questions and fears regarding men and marriage, (I’m 37 and have never had a date) my friends tell me the words I need to hear, and tell me the truth I’ve forgotten. They’re wise and wonderful, but not so perfectly intuitive that they always know what I’m thinking/feeling, so I have to be honest and vulnerable with them.

  4. Niki says:

    What if you don’t have any friends, literally? I don’t have a family I can turn to and in as much as I like my church, besides myself and another person whos abit younger than me, everyone else is alot older than me (I’m in my twenties and everyone else is in their late thirties and over).

    My desire for marriage isn’t just about the romantic lovey dovey side of it but about my desire to just have someone to talk to as I don’t have anyone, not one friend.
    I have asked the Lord to send someone, even if its not His will for me to get married, at least a girlfriend(s) (a female friend) with whom to have a meaningful relationship with but He hasn’t answered. I really don’t know what God is doing. Its hard at times being single but even harder and lonlier when you don’t have any friends. I don’t know why God will create me to just have a relationship with thin air………

  5. Melody says:

    This blog is GREAT! I just read Connally’s book on loan from a friend and felt like she was writing to me about my life….

    Anne, this post is really relevant to me today after another attempt at starting a relationship but it just not working out for some reason…..again. I feel like with the last few posts I’ve read that you (all three) are talking about my life and I was shocked that there are so many women out there who feel the same way….

    I am blessed with a wonderful community at my church as well, people who are willing to journey with me and be with me wherever I am. So in the midst of sadness I was able to stay up with a friend last night crying and laughing and know that I can play with her kids anytime I need some love. There is the challenge of seeing those wonderful families I’m friends with at church “get on with their lives” and a wondering of why it hasn’t happened for me yet. Having hope, having faith, and letting go control of something that I really have no control over are all struggles that challenge me on a daily basis.

    So on this sad, rainy, Vancouver day, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  6. Sumera says:

    I had a ‘woah’ moment when I read your article today. For the past week I have been overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness.
    I migrated to a new country 6 years back so I dont have immediate or extended family here. I moved to a new suburb a year back so I have also joined a new church. From the get go, I got into going regularly to a small group etc. But I found that while people at my church are ok with saying hello etc no one has invited me in to thier circle of friends. In saying this, I have tried inviting people from my church to events, to my home for a house warming, but… they’ve mostly declined. After these attempts at friendships, it hurt when I’d see or hear later on about a couple of girls from my small group go out to a local event with some others from church and not asking me to it.
    Other friends, that I thought were very good friends, whose friendship meant a lot to me, did things recently which made me realise that they dont think of me as being as close a friend as I think of them (friend getting married and me not being one of the bridesmaids, another friend posting a gift to a mutual friend for thier birthday when it was my birthday too in that same month etc). A recent trip back to my home country made me realise also some friendships change, people change, and while the warmth is still there, we’ve moved on from that earlier level of friendship.
    I guess in an online forum, not knowing me in person, you are free to make assumptions about me 🙂 perhaps I am the one at fault here somewhere, perhaps people dont want to get to know me. At least that is how I am feeling about myself.

    After reading this article I am not sure what I should do. Attempt to reach out to initiate frienships with the people from my current church again? Tell them that I’d appreciate friendships as I dont have any one here?

  7. Diva says:

    I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who feels lonely sitting in church. I am blessed by having a ton of church family whom I love, though, and who love me back. I am also blessed by having a large online family who love me just as is and who strive every day to remind me that I am enough on my own with God. Oddly, my atheist friend is the one with the best outlook for this.

    I also get very frustrated by the well-meaning but flawed folks who keep telling me that God has my man for me and is preparing us. Really? Cuz He told you to tell me this? There is no Biblical precedent for a soul mate and I think we do a disservice to our singles by pretending that there is. The reality is they may not ever be married – or they may marry the wrong person in an attempt to get God to conform to their will, or because they mistakenly think “This is the one!” Maybe God has singleness in mind for them. We cannot know that. I am coming to terms with the fact that that may indeed be God’s plan for me, whether or not I like it (and right now I don’t). I’m becoming more comfortable with it, but I still don’t like it.

  8. Anne ……it’s as if you are writing about me….:))

    I can relate to all of it.

    Hmm…ya and I don’t have that trusted friend with whom I can be myself, to take off my mask, thanks fr reminder , that even for that I can pray.

    God bless you Anne

  9. Susan says:

    Well Anne…it appears you have been watching me and have decided to write about my life! :^)
    I can relate on so many levels. Right now I am tempering that loneliness with being intentional about NOT allowing it to be about finding “my” guy! I am valuable with or WITHOUT a man…

    praying that I am comforted by His love no matter what is His plan!

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