Altogether Separate

fall leavesI always thought that growing up meant you no longer felt left out, the misfit, alone.

Altogether Separate.

That’s the phrase my husband and some friends used to tell the waitstaff when 20 or so of us would go out to eat. Are we together or separate? Altogether separate.

That’s how I feel today. Right or wrong (and I almost didn’t post because it feels wrong).

I had dinner with a group of gals from church. From my Missional Community. The name implies we should be best of buds.

I felt altogether separate from them most of the evening.

The FMFparty was delayed. Because a huge group of fmf-ers are at Allume and were having a FMF live party. I sat altogether alone in my dining room, refreshing Twitter for the prompt. Altogether separate.

I always thought that growing up meant you no longer felt left out.

Some of this is my fault. I’m not an outgoing person. It’s hard for me to engage someone in conversation when I don’t know them or feel comfortable with them.

Some of the fault is mine. I withdraw because I’m comparing myself to the beautiful faces around the table, representing young, talented, thin, pregnant, motherly, energetic, creative, outgoing, strong, successful women.

I can’t compete with that. The same as I can’t afford a conference ticket and even if I could, would I dare to walk up to a stranger and welcome her? If I had been in that live party tonight would I have felt a part of the togetherness that I saw in twitpics and instagram photos?

This post doesn’t have the cutesy wrap-up, the illustration that makes you leave with a smile. Growing up only brings out new ways to feel alone that I never could have imagined as a child. In some ways they hurt more because there’s no promise of rosy tomorrows to brighten today’s clouds.

Nope, tonight there’s no cheery ending. Tomorrow, I may not compare myself to others. I may be content, trusting in who God has made me to be and resting in his plan for my life. But I might still feel alone come Sunday morning, when once again I can’t quite figure out how to break into a circle of girls laughing together.

Fall trees

To publish or to trash? That is the question.

I picture different people I know who might read this. What would their reactions be? My mom, my pastor, a friend… This is a peek into me. But it’s the one that we’re not supposed to show – especially in church. It’s the one that people say they want to see, but when it comes down to it, that’s not really what they meant. There are a few people who most likely will avoid me after reading this. I can picture them. I can also see a few similarly lonely people like myself. This might be encouraging to them.

Ah, it’s only the internet. Why not? ๐Ÿ™‚

(This post is part of Five Minute Friday, hosted by Lisa Jo Baker. This week’s prompt is “together.”)

Update: I added a follow-up post of truths we should rest upon.

Leave a comment


  1. I am glad you published it, because, I think you will find MANY women who can relate. I just recently told one of my daughters who is now married with a baby, sometimes that I can be SO lonely at home – with still 6 kids and my husband at home. I’ve felt like that at times with all ten of my children at home. Do they really understand me as a mom, as a person, who has faults and loses it at times? I too cannot afford the trips and tickets to things like Allume. I am just hoping to be able to put enough $$ together to see my 88 year old daddy I’ve not seen in over 9 years. And then, a friend encouraged me with “God is enough” always. Even when I am lonely – I am not alone. It’s hard to grasp at times, isn’t it? I think there’s lots of lonely people in church too. So, I am glad you wrote. I am glad I was ahead of you to specifically read your FMF. I hope others learn from this and maybe we all can somehow be better encouragements! {{{hugs}}}

    • I’m glad you added the reminder that God is always with us because it’s true. I decided not to add that to my post to keep the starkness of the loneliness. But it’s true – oh, so true!

  2. Rachelle Cox

     /  October 24, 2013

    I totally understand your post here. My Missional Community is hard too, I think I’m supposed to be totally tight with the ladies there, but it really doesn’t work that way. I’m the only woman there who isn’t super fit, super adorable or super talented in some way. Literally, the only one. It’s awkward, and I literally have to make myself go to events.

    It’s not always helpful, but it is important to remember that while we are comparing ourselves to others and feeling left out…that there is probably somebody comparing themselves to you in some way and feeling inadequate too. I’ve looked at you while you were singing at church and thought to myself “why can’t I sing like that?”. I’ve seen you giving somebody a kind word at church and thought “why is it so hard for me to be kind to other people? Janice can do it.”

    What is that saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Seems appropriate somehow. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Anyway, I for one am glad you didn’t trash this post. Because it is encouraging to see other people feeling a bit left-of-center in church. Not that I WANT anybody to feel lonely, but oddly enough I feel less lonely knowing I’m not the only one. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • To butcher a line from Rudolph – “Let’s be lonely together!” ๐Ÿ˜› In my head, I know that many women feel lonely at times; but my heart tries to tell me there is no one who understands. That’s why the Psalmist says, The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?
      You’re right about comparison. It’s one of those root idols that goes down deep.

  3. altogether separate – like that phrase. its poignant. sometimes i love being in that position. sometimes it is the loneliest place in the world.

    thanks for sharing so vulnerably tonight.

    • Good point that sometimes it’s good to be quiet and alone. I forget that sometimes, when it’s been hours since I’ve spoken to anyone. There are people (I think of busy moms) who would love 15 minutes of silence.

  4. I am so glad you published this! This was BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. {Hugs} to you.

  5. I love that you published this because vulnerability opens us up to deeper friendships- the kind that go beyond the surface. I guarantee that every single person around that table has some deep loneliness or less than feeling to them- every single one. I have never met a woman who doesn’t have some part of her that is longing for something different. Sometimes we need to be willing to open ourselves up so that others will be comfortable opening themselves up to us. That is what you did today!
    I was at the FMF party last night- in my own bed, in my home and so many of my dearest friends were in that room together. Two years ago, I was jealous, but God has done a work in my heart and last night there was only rejoicing! Our loneliness and jealousy and feelings of discontent must drive us to the feet of Jesus. That is why we have them, because we need to be reminded that this life is not all that there is. And we so desperately need our Savior at work in us!
    Oh, I could write so much more, but just know that I am thankful for you and that we have “met” in this online community. My heart is open to you and my arms are open. Come over any time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My heart is to be more transparent on the blog, which is why I posted. It’s funny, though, I’d much rather be transparent with the easy things, not the hard, ugly ones.
      It’s so cool to hear where you grown in grace over the past two years. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh, I understand your feelings of inferiority and being unacceptable. I used to suffer greatly with them too. But, dear one, I don’t think it has anything to do with how you look or how thin you are. Neither do I think that being a success in the world’s eyes will make us feel any better. I think this is a matter of having ingrained roads of lies in our minds that only our Lord Jesus can help us to overcome with His unconditional love, unmeasurable mercy, total acceptance just as you are and unending grace!
    Blessings XX

  7. Ethel Mller

     /  October 25, 2013

    My dear sweet Janice,

    Here I am again just amazed at how you write about the things that hurt so much. The fact that often the hurts come from our “community” when what we look for is acceptance and love. Well, at least friendship. We’ve learned to live on the surface, unable to share the real ME under this ‘thin-skin’. That’s when we tend to look at others with envy who seem to have it all together. That’s when Jesus’ words like “forgiven”, “accepted in the Beloved” and “dearly beloved” have become precious to me. Tearing down those wall is tough, and I am amazed that the ones the Lord has shown me already — those bricks that form the wall that keeps me in and others out. Safe is lonely and the world is scary. But I know without a doubt that the Lord made you exactly who you are and He makes no mistakes. I, for one ,see you as a very competent young woman. shining for Jesus. Wherever you are., just let your light shine like you did fearlessly when you were a little girl. When the Lord formed you He was satisfied and threw the mold away — you are the unique person Gd intended you to be. HUGS !!

  8. I appreciate this blog. It seems like we usually want to nicely wrap up our pain and loneliness and frustration in a package with a bow and act like it isn’t real and doesn’t exist. Yet to actually acknowledge the difficulties and let things be unresolved is needful sometimes, so that we can face reality and let G-d be G-d right there, in the hardest places. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Day 26: Nothing is Wasted | Claygirlsings

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  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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