I have discovered (subconsciously) over the last couple of years how “God” God is. How He makes things come together so masterfully, even though you thought you would never make it through your storm. It’s happened to me again. The first time, I had developed a crush on a new friend and though it seemed like a lifetime, only about a month and a half passed before I realized that I was creating something where it didn’t exist. The last day of it, I was finding it impossible to focus on my work, so focused (though trying not to be) on the object of my affections. I felt such pressure within, such a frenzy in my spirit that I forced myself to leave the room. I took a walk outside to the front of my school, sat on the low wall outside, listened to music, sang to myself, talked to myself…and I prayed. I asked the Lord to take the feelings away from me. I believe that I told Him that there was nothing for me in that situation. Ever since, I have been struck by the speed with which I got over it after calling on my Lord. That day was a bit awkward, but I think that as soon as the next day, I felt free. I continued to do so for the next couple of months, which was a major blessing, since I couldn’t remember the last time I had been free of an infatuation with attention. I say attention because while I like the guys I have crushes on, mostly I like the attention that they give me. Nothing necessarily sexual, but attention that makes me feel special and like I am someone worth paying attention to. I say all of this to say that at the time, I was not faithful to the will of God, but He showed up for me and I was aware of that.
Since then, I have become a Christian, and have also been involved in another infatuation with attention that I tried to turn into something that was actually romantic. In my mind. That thing, boy! The mind is a curious instrument. So amazing what it comes up with when you allow it. In this new situation, I again called on God, especially when it started changing. When the attention that I wanted shifted, lessened, I began questioning everything about my relationship with my friend. I went through ups and downs with it, I prayed on it. I got mad at God because it had worked so well the first time, and He wouldn’t take this away from me. What I came to realize is that I couldn’t relinquish this so easily. I couldn’t categorically, and truthfully, tell Him that I didn’t want to have romantic feelings for my friend. I was holding onto how the attention made me feel. Don’t get me wrong: I have had to separate my affection for my friend from my other feelings, and while I do like him as a person, I can’t say I genuinely had romantic feelings for him. As I’m writing this, I realize that I don’t know how to separate my need for attention from genuine attraction. Hmmmm. Anyway, to The Breakthrough.
I read the Bible every day, guided by Sarah Young. She gets on my nerves. For those who don’t know, she writes the Jesus Calling devotional, and every single day that the good Lord sends, she has the unmitigated gall to know exactly what is plaguing me that day. Without fail, she strikes spiritual gold, whether with the message for the day, or embedded in the scripture, but usually both. She is irritating. But I love her, and the inspiration she gets from God (Jesus) to write in His voice exactly what I need to read. Through my bible study, I have paid special attention to verses that talk about peace, joy, anything that sounds happy or talks about what will make me happy, what will make me good. So, all along this journey, I have been picking up comforting nuggets. Just last Monday, after having come down really hard on my friend a few days before and finding out (from another source) that it really got to him, I’m reading about friendship and realizing that I can hardly call myself that lately. I have been so angry with others for not making me feel cared about and secure, but have forgiven my own withdrawal from others. After reading verse 17 of Proverbs 17:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity”
I was immediately struck by the concept of loving at all times. I didn’t understand parts of the rest of the chapter, so I read a commentary by Matthew Henry, which illuminated more about the verse. It talked about how friends love no matter what (are constant), that they aren’t fair weather, and that a friend who does these things will be there for you when the chips are down. Before, when reading these things, I would see myself, my situation in them, and would use them as a way to find fault with others, while superficially acknowledging where I could improve. However, after my run-in on Friday, and reading that scripture, I finally had to face the fact that regardless of the actions of others, I have no legs to stand on because I haven’t been holding up my end of friendship. I don’t get to be so angry about not hearing from people when I’m not keeping in touch either. It sounds small, but I launched a full on campaign against my guy friend in my mind, casting him as the villain in this situation and contemplating severing our friendship. To that end, since I have had this revelation (fun with bible puns), I also realize that it shouldn’t be so difficult, so I probably won’t be holding on so hard anymore, but in those dark moments, I was trying to find the end and doing it through the wrong lens. I was operating from my sense of abandonment and extreme aloneness and loneliness, which stems from my low sense of self-worth. I have been depending on the attention of others to boost me up and when that wasn’t there, I was left to love myself, and I don’t have adequate tools for that job right now; I fell completely apart. Realizing all of that, through the bible and through a conversation with another friend, made me feel so much lighter and freer than I have in months that it is insane!
My faith, though not yet unshakeable, is reinforced by this experience. I am so grateful to the Lord for what He is doing in my life. I still can’t believe how much my mindset has changed in so little time. But that’s just God being God, I guess. I hope that this is not that garbled mess I think it is and that my readers will get something meaningful from it.