About 9 months ago, I realized more than normal I was alone. I had been the singles leader at my church for 2 years and had incorporated a lot of those people into my life as roommates or friends and began to see my life in a whole new way. I thought I was helping, I thought I was doing ministry, and I thought I was living with friends who were all going in the same direction.
It was only after months and months of being around these people, who seemed on a WIDE range of broken, dysfunctional, immature, self-righteous, and self-centered that I realized I was living with new eyes the time of my early 20’s. I see those times of my life as exciting and full of fun and inspiration and life shaping. But if I were to actually go to the video footage of those times I can only assume it would be way less pretty and glorious as I remember it. Rose colored glasses are GREAT, right? So as I believed that I could influence, shape, mentor, or mold these new friends into the type of person that God wants them to be OR make them into better people… somewhere that grand bold plan fell apart. Yet these were not just like my students from years before, they were my friends. OR at least they were the closest thing I had to friends. Their choices made no sense to me and I couldn’t relate to their behaviors and dysfunction. I didn’t want to be judgemental and I didn’t want to be pompous, but there was something in my that just STIRRED so strongly that I couldn’t continue to spend my every day and every prayer in and around a group of people who did not want what I wanted – Mental, spiritual, financial, social, intelligent, and professional HEALTH.
It was only after some significant moments of hurt and frustration, roommates moving out, my distancing myself from others that I realized with such sad desperation I was alone again. Alone like Seattle, Alone like college, alone like freshman year in high school. But in retrospect it was a wise decision. The season of alone is never fun, the confrontations and disconnection that happened were very painful. The doubt I experienced because I held to my beliefs and standards caused rejection and discord on some mighty painful levels. Yet I pulled away from those friendships because it was the right thing to do. I choose to be alone rather than be swimming in unhealth. I choose to detach from the things that were giving me permission to be stagnant in order to pursue greater things. It was difficult wrestling with the constant feeling that I had disowned them or that I was rejecting them out of arrogant self-righteousness. That some how it was WRONG of me to decide not to be friends any more.
I even said to a TOTAL stranger at a new church that I needed new friends. So I started praying for new friends. It didn’t happen immediately, it actually took about 9 months 🙂 and now I am in a group of diverse personalities (D’s and I’s and S’s and C’s – ALL of them). People who read the word and pray for reals. People who go to church for God and what they can get out of the teaching. People who like crafts and service and sports and laughing and the beach and music and talking and movies and games… They like to DO things with EACH OTHER.
The time I spent alone taught me to appreciate and value the good when it arrives. But it also allowed me to grieve the loss and completely disconnect from the unhealth without having to compare or complain about the previous people in my life. It has put me in a place to value the friends I do have that are close to me and really engage in friendships with these new people who I already respect and want them to actually INFLUENCE ME… that is something that is new… or at least NEW AGAIN.