For in Him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
– 1 Corinthians 1:5-7 (NIV)~
The sooner I allow this principle to live on the inside of me, the better. I tend to forget sometimes that it was God and God alone who brought me through all of the treacherous times. While I was going through them, I tended to lean on others and then find myself disappointed when they didn’t live up to my expectations. Getting it through my head that God is the only constant and true friend I will ever have or need makes a huge difference in my ability and desire to do what He has called me to do.
In my life, I’ve called many people friend. And there are different degrees of friendship that we experience based on the amount of time and energy we have. I enjoy such wonderful relationships with people that I rarely see thanks to the internet and our ability to connect online. So, it isn’t these individuals that I’m referring to when I talk about people who haven’t been available or who have been disappointing. Please understand that before reading on. The people I’m referring to are those who step into your life and suck up all of your energy while it is convenient for them and then disappear when you need their support.
For example, I spent my birthday weekend pretty much alone. Aside from having a very nice dinner with my mom and her husband, I had no big plans. My daughter was with her dad and they were camping with his new family. My sisters were busy living their own lives either here or elsewhere. My father lives in another state, so I couldn’t spend time with him either. These are just things I have come to accept as a normal part of getting older. Most of my friends no longer live near me or are too busy in their own lives to take time out for lunch or coffee. This is perfectly understandable given the fact that I’ve rarely had time to spend with anyone myself in past years. But there are those who claim to care about you who only check on you to make sure you would still be around if they happened to need you. Of course, I had a few of those get in touch and again, felt sorely disappointed that they couldn’t just leave things alone if they weren’t serious about wanting to see me. Still playing games long after being declared the loser.
Last year was a perfect example of how spending time with the wrong person can completely destroy any plans you have for doing something useful. But coming full circle to another birthday where I had the option to re-engage with the wrong someone just to keep from being alone, I’m happy to say that I prayed through it and felt very much at peace with being in my own space, living comfortably in my own skin, and not allowing loneliness to make me feel unloved, unwanted, or unnecessary. What a difference a year makes! Instead of feeling the need to give someone another chance to hurt me, I felt relieved to find out that they were still the same old dud that they had always been.
As I pondered this notion, I figured out that I am really not as lonely as I would have been years ago had I been confronted with this very same issue. If being with someone means that I have to let them abuse me or degrade me or devalue me or take advantage of me or somehow become someone else in order to please them, then I’m glad that it really has come down to just me and my God. As He has been trying to show me, I make poor choices because I do tend to love some people more than they even like me. And so, as He reinforces the notion in me that I do not need the validation of others in order to be His child and to be the apple of His eye, I have broken free from a few entanglements recently that were doing nothing but damage. Looking back, I can see that these relationships were constructed by the devil to keep me pre-occupied and prevent me from doing what God has called me to do.
I must tell myself each and every day that God has rescued me in order to better understand my connection to Him. He rescued me because He has a purpose for me that is far greater than anything those who have hurt me would have been able to provide. And so, when it looks like others have moved on and are happy and I’m still standing here with my heart broken over another person’s inability to care, I need to know that God has given me what they will never be able to have as long as they live their lives in a way that seeks to glorify themselves and not Him. If they are still hurting others, then they haven’t learned yet that God loves them and that He really has forgiven them. They are still running away from grace and in doing so, cheating themselves out of the true blessing of knowing His love in their lives. The same thing goes for those who are still allowing others to hurt them. If you feel like you’ve been walking around the same desert year after year, waiting for someone to make you feel like you’re worth something, you are also cheating yourself out of the happiness that a relationship with God can bring you. Don’t trade His love for something that has no value. No matter how much you want to be able to create it for yourself, He is the only one who can give you the real thing.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not see you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
~1 Peter 1:6-8 (NKJV)~