There has been a pattern with whatever subject I am asked to write about over the past year here to be something I am having a deep, internal struggle with in that same moment. So here we are talking about connecting when I’ve distanced myself from others the most at this point in my life.
For awhile now I have become skilled in strong arming or disappearing when I need help more than ever. The blanket of loneliness I cover myself in somehow comforts my pain yet cuts it deeper at the same time.
I don’t want people to know, don’t want to bother them, tell myself I’ll get over it, it’s not a big deal or it’s better to suffer in silence because who really cares anyways. I continue through life convincing myself I’m only self preserving and this just isn’t a season for thriving.
Sometimes I end up verbally vomiting way too much information at the worst times in response to “Hi, how are you?” (ie. happy celebrations like childrens birthday parties...yeah, that’s happened more than I’d like to admit).
For me it really started when I became a mom. Before motherhood I loved being around people. It actually energized me. But the moment my firstborn came into this world, every ounce of confidence I had in myself was blown to bits, the community I thought I had disappeared, I was drowning in lies of being a failure and being around people became exhausting. God placed random souls in my life to show up and speak truth over me. That’s where it has broken, but it’s still an internal struggle I deal with today.
I know I’m not alone in finding loneliness a little like a security blanket and it seems almost like a common theme in passing your thirties (a.k.a. disappearing in the life of your kids or work, putting self health on the back burner, Netflix and chill, enter your own form of numbness and I could probably add it to my list of distractions from facing pain in the mirror).
I’m convinced I am prepared for midlife, but third life crisis is a real problem no one warned me about. You’re not a young adult anymore, you’re not exactly a grown-up either but you have all the adult life responsibilities. You lift your head up one day and realize the things you enjoyed in your twenties (hobbies that energized you...even people who you wanted to be around) have changed.
But then what? WHO ARE YOU? What do you enjoy? What relationships fill your cup? Who is going to walk with you into this new chapter of awareness?
I have realized the importance of relationships and how God has used so many people to show up at the right time in my life but also the necessity of the RIGHT relationships. The kind of people who are easy to be with and breathe life back into you.
Real connection is a discipline. Loneliness is easy.
Sounds weird, but think about it. Connecting with God or others on a deep level takes intentionality. It usually takes self discipline and work. It requires us to step outside of ourselves, our comfort zones and leave our selfish bubbles of thought. It forces us to face pain.
It is easy to hide, become numb and disappear in the busyness of life. You can have hundreds of “friends” and be surrounded by people all the time but feel like the loneliest person in the world.
How many people know your heart and when you are really hurting? Not after the fact. (Some of you have wonderful communities and this is not where you struggle...I honestly applaud you).
I think some of us can forget though that other people have that other piece of the puzzle we have been lost without or searching for. God provides us with resources (and that includes humans) for a reason. Look at Adam and Eve. He created Eve because “It is not good that the man should be alone...” (Genesis 2:18). Correct me if I’m wrong, but in reading the chapter it almost seems like Adam had been created for only an hour before God then decided that he needed a “helper fit for him”.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV
Adulthood has taught me so far that I only have so much energy to give, it is important to be aware of that energy level, to set boundaries, there is such a thing as necessary endings and that it is OKAY TO SAY NO.
But, I am reminding myself (in this moment) that you must challenge yourself in order to grow (and who actually wants to stop growing). That is why they call them growing pains. It is confusing at times and uncomfortable, but necessary.
Humans are dynamic, not static. In this, it is important to find connection through every stage of life (and reassess at every season). People to get you through the day or a decade.
We were created to not be alone in this world from the very beginning and most importantly, we were all created to love.
— Laura Hignight