Where I’ve Been & Where I’m Going * Thoughts on Loneliness & Friendship

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For a week I’ve been “under the weather” as they say . . . and currently kicking at the Southern snowy weather (and any rising fears) with my faith.

Having spent hours yesterday rearranging flights due to cancellation of my connecting flight in North Carolina, I have three hours to wait here at MSP this morning. Then a 45 mn slot in Chicago to catch my new connecting flight.

Prayers appreciated. πŸ™‚

I paid an extra $22. for a seat closer to the front of the plane, but I’m not wearing my running shoes.

In getting ready to go, taking down the crispy tree and all, I haven’t had the chance to blog, so I’m blogging from my phone for the first time. If you read this, it worked!

2016 closed for me with a heavy heart. Not for anything weight-worthy, like a death or a loss, but from a deep sense of greif from loneliness.

And I had one of the sweetest Christmas celebrations ever. Our family gatherings – all three – were full of joy (and food) and celebration. And, no one was sick!

So why?

Monday and Tuesday this week -“I lost.”

I was sucker punched with self-pity. Β Because I was fixated on … my feelings. Blah!

I had three days of work between Christmas and New Year. Working as a home hostess means I greet home-lookers with a smile and a cup of coffee, a cookie and as much information as I can when they ask.

But in three days, I had one looker.

The time without lookers is mine. If the welcome-center is tidy and the fridge stocked with water bottles, I can read or write or pray – even do jumping-jacks if I want to. [haven’t tried that yet]

So, long about Wednesday, I realized I was under attack by the self-pity demon and remembered I had the power to resist. (I blame my stuffy head on the brain-lapse.) So I looked up, remembered my identity as a daughter of the King who has EVERYTHING I need, and realized that this time of aloneness must be of His arranging and that I should seek to be totally satisfied in His presence.

And if I wasn’t, I was looking at my soul thirst to be filled by the wrong thing. Hence, the test.

Moving to a new location as an empty nester has proven more difficult with no children’s activities & needs to connect me to other moms.

After having served at our former Church on Sunday mornings, driving separate forever and ever, and able to stay after as long as I wanted, I’m now riding with my husband, and we linger less. But even when I go alone, I feel . . . alone and sad. And then I don’t feel like talking to anyone.

In saying that, I realize it’s only here and there. I’ve not been dwelling in the feelings much until this week.

So, glory-be! The Lord Jesus intercepted my pity party. When I looked up and acknowledged Him and His unfailing love, I knew that this season was given to me for the express purpose of drawing closer to Him.

This song has been playing.Β True Intimacy by Rend CollectiveΒ in my car.

And then, upon seeing a friend’s Flipagram, I went and made my own.Β Our 2016 Flipagram, which reminded me of my blessings and my full life. Ashamed to admit my failure at first, but then remembered: mercy is fresh and free, and I rest there again.

How precious is the flow!

And just this morning, sitting here, I read Oswald Chambers words for January 7th:

True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know Him?
Jesus said, β€œIt is to your advantage that I go away…” (John 16:7). He left that relationship to lead them even closer. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (see John 15:1-4).

You can read the whole thing here.
My word for 2016 was ENOUGH. Countless times I was reminded in loss and loneliness that He is enough. And because of that, I HAVE enough and I am enough.

No fear, no guilt, no shame or blame.

Just trust.

And the word for this new year, it doesn’t hold promise for a lot of company with human beings, though I will seek that out and seek to live balanced, as always. My word is DIG.

Dive Into God.

Because I am writing a Bible Study, and writing means studying and praying and . . . being alone. So, His peace is with me as I shift my mind on to His sufficiency and rest . . . abide more deeply in His love.

And when I land in North Carolina, I look forward to an entire weekend with 40 other Jesus-sisters, many who write and speak, so I’ll be in good company. Fourty friends for this not-so-lonely girl.

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6 Comments

  1. Jane/mom

    This word has hit me and lifted me, I don’t always recognize “self pity” with loneliness and so it is, my time to DIG . And I have so much time alone yet much time with friends and family, but at the end of the day I am alone; yet not alone!
    Thank you Kathy
    I will DIG

  2. Kelley Jo Hayes

    He knows what we need and when we need it. Sometimes we know we need it and struggle, I’ve been navigating that water myself this weekend. Thank you for your transparency. Blessings on your weekend!

  3. I needed this reminder today. I’m having the same connection struggles at church, for different reasons. I’m just generally frustrated. I read an article last night that basically said, “You’ll never find a church that meets all *your* needs because the church should be focused on the lost.” Oh. Right. There is that. As one of the not-lost, I need to be praying for those who come in who may be lost, who may need Jesus. I don’t need a big ministry (I don’t want it either), I don’t need to be connected (well, not much anyway), I just need to pray for those who may need what I already have – a relationship with Jesus.
    There are other areas in my life where your post is so applicable, but that really jumped out at me based on my ponderings and readings this week. Happy new year, dear friend! I appreciate you!

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Rebekah,
      Thank you for reading and telling me so. πŸ™‚

      I actually disagree a bit with the statement that you read about the church being focused on the lost. The church should be focused on growing the Kingdom, which includes [and I believe even more foundationally important] the building up of / the edification of the Body. It seems to be a modern church error that we exist exclusively for the lost, which has led, I believe, to a weak church.

      All of our personal challenges are really our training ground, aren’t they? Our need for community is valid, but it also points us to other’s needs, and ultimately an impetus to practice the golden rule. πŸ™‚

      I have to remind myself all the time that I have what other people need [Jesus.] But I also have to acknowledge my needs are valid, but instead of self pity, I need to ask God for what I need. God means for us to be in relationship/community [Hebrews 10:24-25] and if we are not, we are weak. And I’ve been feeling a bit weak, in need of fortification, and upon returning from the retreat, am feeling invigorated and renewed.

      Saying a prayer for you friend. I am thankful for you!

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