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? 🙂

(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.

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Day 8: Rest right where you are

penguin_Omaha_ZooLast year, during the 31 Days challenge, I wrote a post on Rest. You’re welcome to read it, of course, but I’m going to share the meat of it here.

In that post, I talked about how some days of October 2012 were hard. There were days I didn’t have the emotional strength or energy to share anything else, especially a prayer for hurting people.  And I realized that I, too, was hurting, much like the people I was trying to pray for.

It’s another blessing of community. We hurt together. We cry together. We sit in mourning together. We wrestle through the hard stuff together.

If you feel alone reading this, with no one else understanding your pain, please pause a moment. Take off the blinders that keep you from seeing the hurting people right next to you.  If you don’t have anyone right next to you, if you have been isolated from the fellowship of community with believers who know and love God, go find them. We are not meant to live alone. We are not meant to hurt alone.

penguins_Omaha_ZooThankfully, God is calling us to rest. To stop trying to overcome our hurts on our own strength. Rest in these things:

One: God is strength when we are weak.

Two: God has put us in community to help one another.

Three: God meets us where we are, in the middle of our hurting and pain.

The lyrics of this song give me such peace. God the Father whispers to your heart and mine:

Hush my child. Fall into My arms.
I’ll give you rest right where you are.
Yes, I know, you feel lost and alone.
Let me hold you. How I love you.

If you’re reading this in an email, click through to listen to and view the video of this song by Derri Daughtery and Ellie Bannister:

31Days_Rest_thumb  ← Click to find links to each day in the series.

  • 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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