I’m feeling rather melancholy today. Perhaps that is because I had to sit under a dentist drill for three hours on Wednesday and now I am going back today, or maybe its because tonight I really have to bunker down and clean my apartment, or perhaps it is something more deep- the effects of reading friend’s blogs and seeing people on face book- a place that encourages connection while at the same time encourages non-committal, pseudo community.
I’m thinking today of my friends from the past who I now rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to spend time with or hear from; because of distance or time or life. Specifically the friendships that shaped how I currently view friendship, God and the way interaction should be- mostly women and some men, who are dear to me and made a specific impact in my life from Spokane, TWU and Alaska. (Those that currently come to mind are: Jess and her family, Anne, Monica, Glenda, Joli, Shawna, Rob and his family, Brad, Amy, Angela, Sarah, Stacy, Karen, Heather, Tiff, Marina, Steve and his family, Bekah, Amos and Rebbecca).
I once had a student mentor at TWU say there are friends for a season, friends for a reason and friends for life. Placing friends in the season, reason and life boxes is not something I willing want to do, for fear of isolating later opportunities, but I do believe these wonderful people have been in my life for a reason.
I’ve struggle with separation from relationships. That, I think, is normal since our desire to be loved and love are eternally connected, and people are all a part of that. Yet, as I look back at my own friendship pattern, when friendships died, it was painful for me- perhaps more than the average person.
I think the fact that my biological father was absent for the majority of my life has had a tremendous impact on my ability to feel loved when in a relationship, but more specifically, when a relationship is strained or ending ( by the way I use relationship in a large context included boyfriend, best friend, good friend, comrade, etc) words like abandonment, unlovable, uninteresting, unworthy and unimportant, come to mind (The plan truth is that all those people in my past have other things that they are called to do by God in their lives, and the pain I experience, while some of them may have unintentionally hurt me, is primarily do to myself).
What I have been realizing over the last few years is that none of these adjectives (unimportant, unlovable, uninteresting, unworthy…etc) are me, or the way my friends may have viewed me but are the lens through which I see myself (am I getting too philosophical?). I’ve struggled with my own abilities and talents and feeling like all those things, that make me, could just as well not exist- and yes that sounds suicidal, but I’m not done.
Before I was born my mom was going to abort me- her life sucked and having another kid was not in her plan- but God revealed to her that she was indeed pregnant with twins and she decided to keep the babies because she couldn't’t bare to give up two lives. She told my sister and I this story when we were about 12 or 13 years old. Not only have I realized that my twin sister is the most amazing gift in my life, but when I become self depreciating and unloving toward myself, I realize that I’m a gift too. Without the other neither of us would exist. But even more, without God’s prompting, again neither of us would exist. God wanted me to exist. God must have a plan.
" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a hope and a future.' " (Jeremiah 29:11)
It is easy for me to say that and it seems like a simple concept. Yet wondering what I've been doing wrong is one of the foremost thoughts in my mind. I’m working what feels like a dead end job, and I’m usually frustrated at my living situation or my husband. My dreams for being creative, having a family and owning a home with a garden a dog and .75 of a cat (that's a joke) seem so far away.
I the problem, which as you read may be incredibly apparent to you, is that I have a problem trusting that God's plan for me is what it should be. I barely trust the talents and things he's given me I cast them aside, unused- fear drives my complacency. Meanwhile, I have trouble ultimately trusting God's plans for me. But where I am is where should be, right? Should I not make the most of it?
Instead of making the most of it I end up getting stuck on me and then I start sucking- at least internally. Sucking all the good God truths out and replacing them with nasty self-depreciating words ending in the Jessica isn't worth it land.
So why does thinking of friends long ago make me come back to I’m actually a gift that God loves kind of determination?
Well, I think I’m realizing that everyone has their demons (and I’m not saying cute little animal-golden-compass demon), I’m saying the evil thoughts that pierce our souls. Those thoughts and feelings that Satan (who is real and COMPLETELY evil) throws into our path which become barriers for us, when we focus on them, they keep us from trusting in God and his goodness and sovereignty. My friends throughout these last 29.5 years of my life have been sweet, those friends I listed made me feel like someone special and in turn I think of them, pray for them, sometimes yearn for the comraderie.
Yet we all have a story a place to be. My friends who are now living throughout the world, many with families are not responsible for how I see me. It isn't fair to hold on to each person because of my own fear or feeling of selfworth, just like it isn't good to hold onto a bunch of stuff, or eat food allt he time, or workout obsessively because you have an emotional hole and need something to make you feel good. My understanding of who I am, under the love and goodness of God, is how I should see me.
So, when I think of my friends, I've learned that they were gifts too, like my sister, in my life, perhaps for a reason, a season and some still, for life. God will determine that- I can rest my heart for them knowing they are being cared for by God and that my responsibility is first to love and know him.
Meanwhile, isn't it funny how I've often thought of myself as someone who is friendly or capable of great relationship, yet know my great friend, father and creator so little?