Being Alone is a Choice

Five years ago, I penned these words, I hope I can get to 30 and be okay.

I was concerned at that time by life.  I was concerned about things turning out the way that I thought they would.  30 seemed so far away.  It seemed like an ancient age.  It seem like something that wasnt going to happen.  More than that I was concerned about still being single at 30 and that I would be alone.
However, one of the biggest lessons I have learned in the last 5 years.
Being alone is a choice. 
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We live in a world with so many people.  We live in big and small cities.  We encounter people on the subway, in the grocery stores.  We have waiters, and flight attendants.  Most people work with other people. 
There are plenty of people around, so being alone is something you choose.
We choose to look at the ground when we pass by someone.  We choose to put headphones in when in a coffee shop.  We choose not to say hi to someone.  We shut our front doors and avoid our neighbors.  We keep company with Netflix.
We choose to be alone.
Friends, I made a choice in my 20s that I will only be alone if I choose it.  I will have people around if I make a choice to let them be around me.  I make a choice to live with a roommate.  I make a choice to respond to a text or an email from a friend.  I make choice whether to call my mom back.
I make a choice to answer the questions How are you?with more than Fine. I make a choice whether or not to engage in a conversation with the barista or just ignore them and stay on my phone.
Because of those choices, I find myself surrounded by people.  I find myself surrounded by friends who bless me every day.
At one point in my life I had this huge fear that when people figured out who I really am, they wouldnt want to be my friend.  So I would pretend to be someone else.  I would try to tone down who I was.  I tried to be other people.  It didnt work.  It was only frustrating and would lead to a lot of anxiety. 
When I let those walls down and let people in, I found that my friends really did love me for me.  They really did care about me.  I let them love me in the way they know how and I loved them in my own way.  When that freedom happened, I didnt feel so alone.
I felt apart of something. I felt like I belonged.  And isnt that what we all long for, to be apart of something, to belong. 
Now at my 30th birthday, I am struck how amazing my life is. More than I could have asked for, or imagined.  Exactly in the style of the Lord. 

What started with me inviting people over for dinner on a weekly basis has turned into some of my most rewarding friendships. Some have moved away and moved back, but it provided an opportunity to let each other into our lives. 
Friends, we live in a culture filled with ways to form connections with people.  You can be physically alone but be connected to people 24/7.  It isnt hard to connect on the surface with people.
There are so many excuses for this. 
Work is crazy these days.
I am exhausted all the time.
I live in a big city and it is so hard to get connected.
No one has similar interests as me.
“No one really understands me.”
These are excuses. These are things we say to ourselves because we making finding our people hard.
IT can be hard and sometimes scary.  Let me tell you.  Sometimes I want to give it up because people are complicated and they can hurt you and have messy dramatic lives.  But what is the alternative.  To be alone forever.  What sort of life do you want to lead?  
So many people are craving it,  I want community.  I want to find people that really know me and I them.
Then do it.  Then make the choice to be involved in peoples lives. Make connecting a priority.   Be brave and introduce yourself to someone, ask them to get some coffee, beer or pizza.  (Most people like pizza.)  Yep it might be super scary and they might say no.  But they might say yes. 
In the end though, letting people in your life and letting yourself be known and loved by friends and family is a part of the human experience that I wouldn’t give up.  Because when life’s storms hit and they will, those are the people that will be your life raft. Don’t give up on people after hard times, that is usually when it gets good.  The depth of connection increases after the storm. 
Friends, what is holding you back from finding those people to live life with? If you don’t already have a community of people, what could you do to start to form it?

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You Don’t Know My Life!


We all have that friend, that posts the millions of baby pictures on Instagram or FB!  Or that couple who is constantly taking cute couple-ly pictures and sharing them with the world. Can you say unsubscribe?
 
For those of us, who perhaps are waiting on God to intervene in our life in dramatic ways, those people are our worst enemies.   
They don’t mean to be,  but that is the way it seems.  
So are the people that ask you those awkward and slightly personal questions.  For some reason, some people think it is okay to ask people personal questions, like about when a married couple is going to have kids, and if I am dating someone or “Don’t you WANT to get married?”.  (Okay, maybe I might be talking about my Grandma!) 
For those of us that are waiting on God to act in our lives in a big way, these questions are hard to swallow.   

We avoid family functions or people in the grocery stores, just so we don’t have to answer those hard questions.  We easily become cynical and bitter about those people in our lives. 
People mean well, I know this.  People are curious……people are nosy.  People don’t always know what is going on in our lives.  They are interested.  Maybe because they care, maybe because they are gossips.  Who knows, but they don’t always know what their questions do to us. 
However, we cannot deny that it hurts. Sometimes like a punch in the gut.   It could hurt like a slow tumor, spreading throughout our heart and soul, causing anger and weeping. 
People don’t know that the woman looking at baby clothes Target is actually just looking for chocolate and comfort food, because she just started her cycle again and she isn’t pregnant, again. The baby clothes are tempting but as she looks at bows and little shoes, she is broken on the inside.
They don’t know that all the weight you have lost, wasn’t actually intentional but from a disease that is destroying your body, and you can’t help it.  
They don’t know that the girl showing up to the wedding by herself, spent 20 minutes crying in her car before walking in, bravely facing the reminder that she is still single.  She still came because she wants to be happy for her friends.
They don’t know the guy in the coffeeshop day after day isn’t writing the great American novel, but is continue to job search, even though he hasn’t found anything in 2 months. The questions about his job search, now are beginning to hurt and make him feel like a failure. 
They don’t know that the million baby pictures they post on the Facebook and Instagram actually make you cry, and make you delete them as a friend.  Those pictures are further reminder of what they have that you don’t. 
People don’t know, so they ask.  They ask those seemingly harmless questions, not knowing that you already have been asked about this 4 times already this week.  The questions sting as dart of a reminder of this thing you try not to think about every hour, every day.
We are skilled at hiding these facts, these thoughts, these feelings.  We try to remain strong, and not let ourselves jump on the bitterness train.  We fight hard to be happy for those people.   
We want to share in their joy, but sometimes it is just too painful.
But….doesn’t the enemy make that difficult.  The enemy wants us to remain in pain, in isolation, trying to fight this on our own. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” (Eph. 6:12) 

It isn’t our grandmas, and well meaning neighbors we are fighting against.  It is the one, who is working to draw us into the darkness.  He wants us to hide the pain, the torture, because we can easily blame others for our pain, we can harbor that bitterness and anger towards others because they don’t know our lives.  We can easily do that.   
We can hide away from the world and keep our pain close, letting it fester and grow. 
But thankfully we have another option…..we can share it with others like ourselves.  We can find those that have experienced this pain at one time and gotten past it. We can find those that are still in it and lock arms with each other, speaking words of life and light. 
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:17)
More than anything, we should be pushing each other toward the one who has our days written in his book. The Creator of life, the Provider, the Sustainer, the Redeemer and the Light.  We need to be holding fast to this truth together.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  (Isah 40:31)
Even in hard days, we have not lost hope that our worth and future do not lie with our ability to procreate, marry, or even find the perfect job or have the perfect family.   
Our worth and hope abides with the one who gave us life in the first place.   
When we have this in mind, those questions do not have the power to control us, destroy us or push into darkness. We can look those that ask in the eyes, and answer honestly and either chose to let them in or simply answer with truth and move on. 

To saying "YES"


My life is very different than it used to be. If you don’t believe in change…we should have a conversation, because my life is changed, its transformed, its altered, its been made over by one thing.

There wasn’t some magic moment or something tramatic or dramatic that changed things. I made a decision (admission perhaps) that I wasn’t happy with how things were going and life needed to be different. Some of it was spiritual and some of it was my own decision to separate myself from others.
Isn’t that what life comes down, a decision. A moment that you go one way or the other….the fork in the road….we choose Christ or not….we take the path that is well worn or the road not taken….we follow others or we go on our own….we says “YES” or “NO”.

I am declaring this year to be my “YES” year, the year when I say Yes more often than saying NO.
(Disclaimer: this does not mean, I don’t need to learn to stop people pleasing and say yes to every new responsibility that comes my way…..we will have that convo later.)

You are probably asking yourself, does she mean like that movie with Jim Carrey, Yes Man….sort of, but not.

The meaning or reason behind my “Yes” decisions speaks more volume about my relationships with people and God than it does my work or my career. This is prompted by the realization that I spent a lot of time alone last winter, last year in general. I could chalk it up to being really busy with working out all the time, or living with a busy accountant or all the snow we had. However, I know….I KNOW…that I did not do my best not to be alone.

Many Friday and Saturday nights, I spent in my sweat pants on my couch with my computer and watched movies or TV. (It is okay to do this once in a while, but when it becomes all you do, then you might be a hermit….it’s okay, I am not ashamed to admit that I was.) Not to say I was alone all the time, but my close friends and I didn’t make that effort to take advantage of our age or our city to enjoy life and be social. Tired or worn out, was always my excuse, but it’s amazing how much energy I have found inside these times with friends so far this year.

So, this year, I am not making it a resolution or making it a goal, I am say “Heck yeah” to saying “Yes” and making a decision to live my life around other people and in community.

I read this post on (in)courage and it prompted me to think differently about my friendships and community. If want those things, I can’t wait for them to happen to me, I have to take charge.

That’s what I am doing. And so far this month has proved to be one of surprises and crazy opportunities.
-Do you want to hang out in a Executive Suite at the Sprint Center……YES
-Do you want to eat Korean food with your awesome coworkers….YES
-Do you want to go dancing…..YES
-Do you want to have dinner with friends every Thursday Night….YES
-Do you want to watch a football game (I know…so out of character for me)….YES

What is ironic about all these instances, is that each has prompted more opportunities to be around people and acquire new friends. Proving that saying “Yes” has a bit of a domino effect on your life.

So what do you need to say “YES” to more often than saying “NO”? What are the ways you make being in community with others a priority?Link