Friday, December 20, 2013

Craving Connection

This is a cathartic post for me. I have needed to write it for a long time. It is likely to bite me in the proverbial butt making it public, but there's something about being "out there" that feels necessary for me. I am sure I can talk this over with my counselor, Eliza, at our next visit. :)

My heart is breaking today. This season of transition harkens back to one of the first major life transitions I made after my father passed away and my mom re-married, all within a year's time.  And it seems to always evoke a melancholy response rather than an adventurer's spirit. Nevertheless, I consider myself adventurous, relatively speaking.  I actually like change. I like 'new'. I like the idea of adventure. What I do not like is the transition period from old to new. THAT period of time is undefined and challenging for me.

Relationships shift, and this is what becomes so problematic for me. "Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other, gold," keeps replaying itself in my head. And, I'm stuck. I love making new friends. I think it comes naturally to me. I love "jumping right in" to friendship, both feet first. And my "old" friends, well they have a permanent place in my heart if not anymore on my calendar. And, this is the rub for me. I don't enjoy being on either side of this real life dynamic.

I am craving connection today big time. Tears stream down my face even as I write this. I am not entirely sure why. I have talked long with Lawrence about this dynamic of my heart. I have prayed. I have rehearsed the truth that Jesus plus nothing is more than all I need, more than all I could want, my greatest desire satisfied.

We will have been in our new home for six months on Christmas Day. It has been just a little longer since we left our previous church. I have spent that time evaluating, praying, watching, waiting on the Lord, seeking to be faithful to serve, to be a giver and not a taker in friendship and in my family, seeking to once again ignite that passion that once burned so brightly for God's purposes of using me to advance His kingdom.

There have been people we so much wanted to have to our home, with whom we wanted to maintain relationship. It has not happened. I do not know that it will. I have "been around the block". I know how this works. There is only 24 hours in everyone's day, and life is FULL...bursting at the seams for most of us.

And reality is, we can only keep up and intimately pursue very, very few people, especially when in the season of raising a family.

I want to be pursued, truth be told. I crave connection. I know the value of community. I have lived there. It is good for us to be needed. It is good for us to need and receive from others. This is how God designed us to operate at our best, in community. I believe it. I live it. I want to continue to live it.

But, there is a shedding at times that happens in life. Friends move on. You move on, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. Paradigms shift and along with that so go friendships.  It is okay when I am on the end that moves away. It is much harder to be the one away from whom someone else has moved.  It draws out great insecurity for me and far too much introspection.

Did I do something to offend?  Have they finally had enough of me (because I know I am among the high maintenance type of people on this spinning globe)?  Am I just too serious for them? too uptight? not enough fun? not relaxed enough about life? too thoughtful? too much or not enough....and so I am sent down the path of self destructive thinking, self absorption.

Oh my goodness, how I hate this place!

The emotional energy I must expend to think my way out of this pit is exhausting. God is kind. His Word is sufficient. He tells me that in Him, I am enough. I have been creating in HIS image.  He has prepared good works for me to walk in. I have purpose, and He promises to fulfill those purposes in my life. I cannot mess it up! Praise Jesus!

I was bought at a price. I am not my own. I do not live for my own pleasures or to be made much of. I was made for God's pleasure and to make much of HIM. God draws near to the lowly in spirit, the humble in heart.

So, I ask for forgiveness and seek to bow lower, be made lower. I plead, "Jesus, be enough. be enough, truly, not just in my head but in my affections, in the depth of my heart where I FEEL."  And, I confess my addiction to feeling good feelings and I affirm again, "Lord, I will live for you alone. I will live to walk in the good works you have established for me before the beginning of time."

I take a deep breath.
I look over at my three kids playing so well in cardboard boxes. WOW! What blessings I have. I know this. Why do I always want more?

So, hear I am again, Lord-- this really flawed, cracked vessel asking you to fill it and fill it again because your love seems to run out of the cracks, and my cracks are LARGE, more like gaping holes!

And, I have chocolate covered pretzels on my counter waiting to be packaged up to hand out to our new neighbors today.  You put this in my heart to do. Will you somehow bless someone else by our efforts?
Will you fill me with your love afresh so as I interact with my children and new neighbors today, they will feel the love of Christ oozing out of my 'cracks'?

And, these relational shifts that are happening? Will you hold me tight, be enough while the dust settles from all the movement?


krista said...

Thank you. :)

You just articulated what has been the cry of my heart the last few years since our move. I so want to be known and to know my place among the women in my various spheres. To know who I can count on and say, "we are close friends". More than that, to lean more heavily on my closest Friend...with Him I am truly known.

I've always struggled with "friend shifts"--the questions and desires that accompany even the most natural and obvious reasons for change. And I think we as women can be especially hard on ourselves (and catty). Yes, even Christian women.

I don't have much counsel to offer other than to persevere. God is faithful. There is a reason for this season, no matter how lonely. God is preparing sisters for you. Be faithful in pursuing those God leads you to, and practice contentment.

Contentment: that's always the hardest part for me. I'm saying these things to you but I need to hear it too. And I know it is nothing new. ;)

Love ya friend!

Briana Almengor said...

You say it well, too, maybe even more straight to the point than I did, Krista. Sometimes I do feel catty, like I'm back in elementary school and want something written on paper that so and so is my best friend. There is an emotional maturity that is lacking, I feel, on my part to crave that, but I do. And I fight it by God's persevering grace to me. And like I said in the post, I bow lower and ask God to make me the friend to someone else that I'm so longing to have. And that's where I'm at right now, recognizing that what I crave is common to "woman." And i am asking God to reveal to me who He wants me to press into relationally.

Where I'm stuck lately is what to do with the hurt (or anger or bitterness depending on how long I allow myself to meditate on it) that rises when something triggers the reminder that I've been "dumped" or " replaced" in a friendship. The friendship is intact and a always will be dear but the priority I have in the person's life has changed. I think there's some kind of grief happening in my heart. And grief is not bad; it's what I do with that grief that can get me in trouble.

Zoanna said...

I have been meditating on this very thing today, Bri--relationships that come and go with the passage of time, with where I "rank" in the pecking order of 'friends,' with how much I can (or want) to put into certain people, with petty jealousies and insecurities that make me wonder if I've ever moved on from junior high. I think what has helped me is to really try not to think of myself as important to others 'forever' but to be what they need 'now.' If someone needs my service or my friendship for six months, I am trying to give it without reservation. The minute i start feeling entitled to anything or anyone , that's when I implode.
If I have realized one thing this year, it's that I am truly not that important to as many people as I wish I was . Very few people will grieve me long when I'm gone, but many people may be glad I was here if I am a friend when they need me, not when i need them.