If you find yourself alone...


" I dont think I realized it then, but I'm a bit of a functional hermit."

I say it jokingly to my husband as he comes in 30 minutes before the kids bedtime. We scarf down food together-an attempt at keeping up with each other in the hustle- and meander over to herd our kids to their beds.

After we've made a good attempt at talking with weary mouths and tired eyes, we sit in silence and read. Reiterating our comfortability with silence. It's been a quiet and crazy season.

I preached my first sermon last Sunday. It's sort of a weird thing to imagine or admit. I'm typically not the best public speaker. Prone to bad jokes, or forgetting to breath, or shaking so badly other people get nervous for me. If you get me on a topic that I actually care about, then you're almost guarenteed my eyes will burst with liquid at you and I'll try to, cherry-faced, make my way through. I'm a weird looking cryer too. It's all about as fun as it sounds.

And yet, when I'm in my kitchen stirring dinner alone, my inner dialogue often sounds much more akin to a speech- more like a sermon-than what I assume everyone elses inner dialogues sound like. I find myself preaching to my soul.  Those southern roots I was brought up in weave in deep and I get passionate in my sermons to self.  My soul needs a regular dose of saving grace.

So, to then be sitting in front of real live people rather than at a stovetop alone, AND to be sharing my heart on a passage. Goodness. When I've already decided to avoid such things at high cost...well, it was all surprising. More surprising was to see the little preacher daughter rise out of me and get so caught up in the urgency of the message.... it actually felt a bit otherwordly for me. I asked one of the pastors after, "did that even make ANY sense?" Because that little fire that started up? It kept words tumbling and made some tears come too. But all I felt was peace. But did it make any sense? Luckily, she assured me, it did.

Living here, in the reality that we've gotten to live in, has caused my heart to learn the value of audable silence. At first, it was all about just getting used to the quiet. The Finnish way.

Since, I've grown to learn that when there's a tug on my heart-when Jesus is starting to softly challenge my way of thinking-I myself should silence my own voice. If I run and start preaching about the changes my heart is stirring towards when it hasn't yet had a chance to gain all of its flavor, hasn't had a chance to sink down into my soul, hasn't had a chance to make me into a walking aroma of the changer....It's just not ready yet.  We all miss out.

I used to view this lonely season as something to bear through. And as winter comes and I see my neighbors less and less, I catch myself reaching for safety mechanisms.

But this past sunday something in my heart stunned me. Because over the past two years I have looked up at my ceiling and cried out to God. "God, I feel so deeply alone." My insecurities laid bare so often before me, to be aware of them so intensely and yet find myself front and center speaking....Wild, I tell you.

But I'm learning, that perhaps all those minutes and hours alone have lead me to this point....

in that aloneness God began to chip away what I often held on to simply because the crowds liked those bits.

in that aloneness God began to nurture in me a heart and a tenderness to not be so sure I know a solution for everyones problem.

in that aloneness God began to challenge the way I move towards my children, and my husband, my friends.

in that aloneness God began to make me realize that  looking like a fool is much less a worry than people I love not hearing truth.

in that aloneness God began to point out how many of his people have journeys that include seasons of being alone.

in that aloneness God began to allow me to see that I'm right where I'm supposed to be in this narrative.

in that aloneness I reached a point where I could joke about being a hermit and it not actually be a deperate plea for help.

In the aloneness I've found rest.

I  know many won't get the opportunity to live a similar path that I have, but I know God is a creative God who is delightfully genius in the way he brings us closer to himself. I know that everyone gets to have their story and that's what makes us so uniquely beautiful and God glorifying. To have a million paths all leading to the foot of Jesus. To retell the ways he persued.

But I know a few, a few are familiar with the 'alone'.

And I want to whisper  something to you. I know it aches-that loneliness. I know that it feels like no one sees. I know that it can literally be hard to breath sometimes. And I know it would be easy for me to tell you that you aren't alone, "that Jesus is there and that he sees." And that is true. But I know it doesn't feel that way.

I want to tell you something else.

Sometimes it's not just aloneness, and we actually are needing someone to come in and turn the light on. But sometimes, we don't. Sometimes we enter lonely seasons and we know it isn't 'off' but it just is the season we're in.

If that's the case. If it isn't depression, if it isn't unhealthy relationships, if it isn't a whole host of things that should make us reach out for community (and if you aren't sure, thats a sure sign to reach outside of ourselves)....

If it isn't those things.

Then perhaps, don't push away being alone.

There's rest in the absense of busy. There's comfort in the quiet prescense of the all encompassing God. If we allow ourselves to lay down the life we wished we were living, He's faithful to fill in the hole it leaves.

In time, perhaps you too will be standing in front of people you love, and you might get to share about the Jesus who loved you deeply even when you thought you were alone. And perhaps in that, something will stir in you and it'll click in your heart. When you were alone? He was weaving himself into your very soul so deeply that there are now seasons where the memories are just the two of you. Where 'telling people about Jesus" would be as easy as telling them what you made for dinner. Why? Because he was the one making dinner with you.  In those deeply alone seasons, there are Holy Spirit conversations that will challenge you in a way that you know can't be your own clever thinking. When there's no one tangible to cling to, the often intangible Jesus becomes the very thing we cling to.

So, as we begin to walk into a season marked with quiet days and cozy, often lonely nights, I want to propose, that perhaps this season, while everyone else slumbers, is the almighty God's most active of all. If you find yourself alone this winter, I hope you find the peace that often comes with it. If you find yourself alone, I hope you lay bare your sins and your self infront of the one who speaks to souls in places quiet and still. If you find yourself alone I hope you dont push away, but you look up and just wait and see what will come of it.

You might be surprised, if you find yourself alone.

As always, thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment