The secret about loneliness is…

I’m lonely by choice.

Yup, for all my whining and complaining about feeling isolated, it’s

All.

My.

Fault.

When invited to attend this new bible study or that event, my default response is, “No.” There’s always an excuse or reason to justify my exclusion, but the reality of the situation is that I’m not trying very hard. If I really wanted to, I’d be there.

::

And that’s not the extent of my crazy.

When I’m talking to someone, I watch them for signs that they’re tired of the conversation, and usually end up abruptly cutting it short. In my friendships, I assume that any reluctance to get together is actually evidence that they don’t like me anymore, so I cool off towards them. If people don’t read my blog posts or comment on what I’ve written, I want to shut the whole thing down because, obviously, I have no talent for it and no one cares.

I will reject you before you can reject me.

Past experiences with relationships have left me scarred and nervous. What’s worse than being betrayed is being surprised by the betrayal. I don’t want to be caught off guard again, I don’t like being tricked. So, I will now be on the lookout for your ultimate rejection of me.

Or, I will create unrealistic expectations for our relationship.

You should call me out-of-the-blue to see how I’m doing. Regardless of the fact that I haven’t called you in three months, I need you to check on me. You should always assume that any offense I give you is unintentional, and instead of getting upset, you should ask me how I’m doing. You should care for me unconditionally, and if you don’t it means we’re not as good of friends as I thought we were.

Past hurts. Unrealistic expectations. Insecurities in my own mind. These swirl together to form a vacuum where relationships go to die.

::

For eighteen years, she had been weighed down in spirit. The oppression of it doubled her over inside herself, the sickness keeping her from walking erect. Then she encountered Jesus.

A touch of His hand. A word from His mouth. A promise from heaven. And she was free.

Woman, you are freed from your sickness. Luke 13:12

::

Satan would choose for us to remain doubled over by our past hurts. He would keep us chained up by unrealistic expectations. Our spirits oppressed. Our minds sick with worry, fear, insecurity. For in this state, we are ineffective. Our ability to minister to others is thwarted by our focus on ourselves. The furthering of the kingdom is halted as we hide in our cave.

Jesus calls us to more. Jesus sets us free. Jesus heals our sickness of spirit and calls us forth into freedom.

What does this freedom look like? Check back tomorrow to see how our faith affects our relationship personality.

Miss Part 1 or Part 2 in the series. There’s still time to catch up!

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24 thoughts on “The secret about loneliness is…

  1. I love this series. I encounter lonliness too. I am often shy in social situations and think that this is interpreted as being snobbish. I have been working hard to change that and putting myself in situations to challenge me in this way but still feel the panic and insecurity creep up. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment.

    • I’ve heard that before about shyness being interpreted as snobbery. I think that goes back to the insecurities within us all. We assume that any slight or coolness towards ourselves is a rejection, instead of recognizing that others might feel insecure as well.

  2. Wow. I think so many of us deal with loneliness on some level, but it takes wisdom and insight to see that sometimes we do it to ourselves. This is such a good reminder of how much we need to be aware of it in our lives because Satan would like nothing more than to keep us stuck there. Thank you for sharing :) I can’t wait to read tomorrows post!

  3. I know what you mean about the default response. I do the same thing if I’m not careful, but I’m thankful for my wife who helps me along (sometimes kicking and screaming). I almost always find an excuse or protest in some way, but I also 98% of the time enjoy myself or receive some value out of being with other people. Good thoughts!

    Thanks Melissa.

    • That’s the funniest part of the whole thing. I find that almost always I’m happy I went. My husband will ask me why I’m not going, and forces me to recognize that I have no legitimate reason not to. :) Haha!

  4. gosh. . .i am so guilty of the “reject them before the reject me” mentality. i get really afraid in relationships because i have experienced an immense amount of rejecting in my lifetime. i am quick to put up my walls if i feel like someone may threaten me in that way. . .

    i think in my current circumstance the Lord is really teaching me to trust — Him first and foremost and a few trusted friends/family in the Body of Christ as well.

    sometimes my cave feels much safer than allowing someone in, but i am learning by taking a great risk you often set yourself up for an incredible blessing. not perfection in relationships with others on this earth, but blessings in being real and authentic — in a way experiencing freedom in being known and loved. . .

    i have learned that at the end of the day, we cannot place our trust in others on this earth. . .it has to be in the Lord alone. . .and He will take care of the rest. . .

    ((okay, so i took a rabbit trail i think. . .forgive me :) )). . .

    • In your current circumstances, I think it’s perfectly fine to take some time sitting in a cave. You have some healing to do, and that’s not an easy process. And, once we’ve learned that we can trust Him, we realize that we can trust Him with our relationships. If someone hurts you, He can be trusted to hold the pieces together. I think you’re learning a valuable lessons through all of this, one that I think can only truly be learned as we navigate through rejection and brokenness. Thanks for putting this out there! :)

  5. When I read this I couldn’t stop thinking over and over, “This. is. me.” To a ‘T.’

    I’ve never put it in words before, so I am astounded that you were able to. I’ve just had this heavy feeling of knowing there’s a burden, but never knowing how to deal with whatever it is. This just makes sense.

    I like when you said, “I will reject you before you can reject me.” I have been hurt and rejected in so many friendships and relationships. I’m so afraid now of putting myself out there and of being hurt again. I want to control it so badly so that I know what’s coming, but it just leaves me more alone than I was to begin with.

    • I think you hit on a key word there: control. I have given in to the belief that if I’m in control I can’t get hurt. This is a lie, because I can’t control other people. All we can do is control our response to others and how much of an influence we allow them to have in our life. And you said it, “it just leaves me more alone than I was to begin with.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  7. You are so brave! Thank you for sharing your heart on this topic. What you say is so true, and yet so hard. I know your words will bring healing… to me, and others!

    Keri

    • Thanks for that, Keri! I really appreciate it. It’s nice to know that what you’re putting out there might be for more than yourself. :)

  8. i participate in the crazy too sometimes…

    God always reminds me of the scripture that says “He sets the lonely in families” .. i love that

    • Families…that’s a whole nother level of craziness. Haha! Just kidding. That is a great verse, and I’ve seen Him do that with my family. Josh & I are here thousands of miles from our actual family, and God has created a family here for us.

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