Theatre gal now working in full-time ministry. Here to encourage you as you figure out a life lived pursuing Jesus.
When I was 7-years old, I tried to run away from home.
My mom had just parked our purple van in the driveway, and everyone started to file out of the car. I had fallen asleep on the drive back and pretended to still be when we arrived, in the hopes that someone would carry me inside. They did not. They probably tried to wake me up, and when I refused to budge from my theatrics, they left me in the car and went inside.
I was livid.
No one in this family loves me, I thought. My emotions can sometimes jump from 0 to 6,000 like that. I got out of the car and decided then and there that I was running away. I had absolutely nothing with me beside the floral print clothes on my back. Still, I started to march out of the driveaway and down the long farm-lined road we lived off of.
I made it all of 50 feet before I cooled off and turned around. I went inside and my family was none the wiser of my outburst.
I wish I could say that the melodramatic girl who felt unloved in the car is completely gone, that I’ve outgrown her, but she still lives inside of me. She shows herself when weddings are planned and an invitation doesn’t arrive; when friends go out and there is no seat saved for me at the table. She’s quick to create a dialogue of conversations she never heard and associate her emotion of rejection to other’s thoughts.
She is self-conscious and often lonely. But I can’t be angry with her for feeling this way. Because behind her voice, one much more sinister is attempting to feed her lies. “You are not loved,” it says. “You are alone and forgotten.”
I share this because I think many of us are deeply struggling through loneliness and rejection, especially in the midst of this pandemic, which makes finding community so much more difficult. And, friend, if you’re hearing similar lies spoken over your life, can I just make you aware that that is the voice of the enemy? He loves it when we feel alone and isolated because that is when we are most vulnerable to his attacks.
You are wanted.
You are not alone.
You are loved.
If we were sitting together at a coffee shop table, I’d make uncomfortably strong eye contact with you and tell you to repeat those phrases out loud. If you haven’t found your place or your people yet, I get it. The process of building that community takes time and it can be messy, and sometimes painful work. But I hope for better things to come, and you should too.
In the meantime, I want to give you some practical direction on how to overcome these emotions of loneliness and rejection—because they are just temporary emotions, they are not your identity.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I’ll say it again and again. I think one of the first places we let these emotions come in is through comparing our relationship with someone to others we see online or on TV or even with someone else in their life. Every relationship is unique and it has different strengths and purposes in different seasons. Don’t lose the joy of what you have by counting what you don’t have.
If you feel lonely or rejected, do something about it! You choose whether or not you sit in those emotions. For years I would sit in my rejection and believe that the only way I would feel better is if someone came looking for me to prove that I was loved. Y’all, please don’t do this. It won’t make you feel better, and oftentimes, no one comes looking for you. It’s not because you aren’t important to them, it’s just that you’re probably not the center of their world.
If a group of friends goes out and doesn’t invite you, make plans with someone you haven’t had the chance to spend one-on-one time with! Community is something that shouldn’t be protected like the Coca-Cola recipe. It’s something to expand and invite others into. If you have it, don’t hoard it.
And if you don’t have it, choose to look for it! When I moved to Florida, I had to learn quickly to get over myself and ask people out to coffee. We can’t wait around for a wonderful community to just be handed to us. We’re often required to show up, to be vulnerable, and to put in the work. After some time, you can create something amazing.
People gathering doesn’t happen now like it used to. For a lot of us, it’s hard to be connected to people non-electronically. Don’t use that as an excuse but exercise it as a tool. Start an online bible study or book club, host virtual game nights, or take the communication offline and send postcards and letters! If you build it, they will come…that’s the line, right?
The point is, there is truth to overpower those lies and actions that can get you out of your head. This isn’t the time to run away. Press in. Get uncomfortable. Be vulnerable. This is where the magic happens.
You are wanted. You are not alone. You are loved.