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Friday, February 8, 2013

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I am a loner.  Give me a quiet empty space and some time to accomplish tasks, and I feel happy.  I will emerge from my cocoon refreshed, energized, and ready to spend time with another human being that just a little bit ago threatened to suck my soul right out of my body.  Sometimes.  Other times, that time spent by myself has been so refreshing that I don’t want it to end, and I become a hermit.  Don’t bother me!

It’s a struggle for me, being a loner.  I have alienated people in the past.  I don’t spend tons of time with others because I like having time to recharge, and others might think that I am aloof.  It takes a long time to make friends because of this.  It was tough when I was young, because the quiet girl almost always gets labeled as stuck-up.

As an adult, it’s fine.  Most adults are busy enough themselves that they don’t miss my prolonged absence from their lives.  But some do.  Family members and good friends, my children and my husband all fall victim to my “not now” attitude.  It hurts them.

It hurts me too.  Relationships suffer when time together is thwarted by my quest for isolation.  I have spent so much time trying to get away that I often miss out what is happening during the treasured time spent together, and my frequent timeouts allow others to drift elsewhere for more constant companionship.

Recently I have been more aware of how much time I spend by myself, and how much of that me time is not actually good for me, due to the many roles I have taken in my current life.  I realized that my me time often borders on sin.

Sin pounces when we are not looking.  We turn around too late and realize that even though we haven’t done anything terrible, our behavior has caused hurt in others.  We did not give ourselves to them.  And when we keep ourselves to ourselves, we do not give anything to God.

God has shown me that I need to spend more time with others.  He has shown me, through hearing other people’s testimonies, taking the time to have conversations, and finding extra time to spend with others, that I need to spend more time with people and less time with me.  He has shown me that by listening to others share their faith, my faith grows.  He has shown me that we are not meant to be alone; the consequences of my neglect pull at my heart.

Each encounter with another person reinforces this.  Each opportunity to spend time with God’s family of believers enriches my life and builds my faith.  Each of God’s words that I read further embed themselves in my heart when I am doing his will. 

God provides us with everything we need, and he has provided me with a family, friends, a community of love.  With God’s help, I know I will grow within that community.

Lord, thank you for all your provisions, including the loved ones who accompany us through life.  May we nurture these relationships with your help and bring us all closer to you.  Amen.

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This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.   If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  1 John 1: 5-7 (NIV)

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