Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Blessing of Loneliness

God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways.

2 Corinthians 9:9 (MSG)

I am surrounded by amazing women. Smart, funny, beautiful, deep-thinking, willing to feel, to love, to give whatever God asks, women who seek God's voice, who believe life without Him unthinkable, who trust Him even when His instructions make no sense.

It's easy to be intimidated.

And honestly, often I am.

Yet God, in His impeccable, unpredictable style, uses these women to encourage me, to strengthen me, to make me better. They touch me, teach me, love me and give me a good kick in the pants when necessary. I am blessed beyond measure in my relationships.

But years ago I lamented to God about feeling alone. He didn't answer my prayers in what I considered a timely manner. No phone calls, no invitations to lunch came flooding in. Nothing changed. Outside of the actual service, I dreaded my time at church, feeling awkward, standing around, talking with no one. I was glad to have small children to occupy my time to make my aloneness less obvious.

What made the difference between then and now?

God showed me people needed a reason to care. If I revealed nothing about myself, if I stayed safe in my interactions, limiting conversations to chit-chat, there was nothing to connect me. God began to answer my prayer in MY humility, in my venturing out of my comfort zone. When I admitted to my weakness or uttered the questions swimming around in my head, others related. We found a common tie beyond having kids the same ages or having grown up in the same area. When I ignored my pounding heart to approach someone and ask a personal question, I saw they appreciated the attention and sought me out another time.

God didn't send friends to me. He sent me to be a friend. He taught me to be a person who trusts others with her real thoughts and feelings, giving others a reason to care. He showed me it was okay to need and rely on others, for in doing so, relationships grow.

I imagine people who meet me for the first time now would be surprised to know I'm really an introvert who felt very alone her first few years in this community. But God gave my loneliness as a blessing, teaching me how to cultivate real relationships.

To see how others' interpreted this quote, visit Deborah at Chocolate & Coffee.


Rachelle said...

Love it !!! : )

Jaime Kubik said...

Oh how God uses our low times to teach us!!! Can I hear an AMEN, sister?! Wonderful post. Wonderful words. Wonderful woman.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

"God didn't send friends to me. He sent me to be a friend." He always knows and bestows the greater blessing. Great post!

Betsy Markman said...

I can so relate! It's much easier to type on the internet than to go up and talk to people that I don't already know. But you're right, when you decide to be a friend, it gets easier!

Esthermay said...

...proving that the FATHER know His children -- He knows what we need. This is a very special story. I have a deep sense of how you felt. I was very much an introvert for most of my adult life. Everything changed when I got married. I was forty and felt I’d lost my “best” years, but now I laugh because it was all those years of loneliness that have given me the heart for ministry that I have today.

How true that things that the world sees as a detriment or even a psychological issue, GOD can use to teach us where He wants us. He does have astonishing ways of making His will clear. All part of the Kingdom plan.

Wonderful post, Tami!


MiPa said...

I am sure they that we were supposed to be twins! Oh, how this post resonates with me. And it is most definitely part of the lessons I am learning in this year of *connecting* (and it is only week 3). My loneliness has definitely been a blessing in the past to teach me to minister and to trust God.

Bless you my friend for sharing your heart.