This Friday night I had nothing to do. I waited for a text. From anyone. To do anything. None came. I waited for a call. None came. Couldn’t my mom even call me? Nope. I had nothing to do with anyone. I sat on my couch and tried to relax but my thoughts turned dark like they do when I’m suddenly aware of my alone-ness.
I begin to wonder if I have any friends. I start to count them and then find reasons that none of them are actually my friends. I mean, if I had friends, wouldn’t I have plans on a Friday night? I have no friends, I never have and never will. I wish I could say I’m exaggerating about my thoughts but I’m not. They actually go there. They actually get that dark and desperate.
I’ve been this way ever since a “social life” becomes possible in middle school. I always had plans. Friday night, Saturday night—I wanted to be out with people and doing things and I didn’t want to come home until curfew, which I consistently broke. Having plans and being invited to things is what made me feel a part. I belonged if others thought to include me. Feeling lonely and being left out were barely tolerable for me in school and in college and even in the few years after college, when your social life can change so drastically that not having friends may actually be the reality and not an exaggeration.
My family teases me for being a social butterfly.
You wouldn’t think it if you met me. I’m on the quiet side, I can be shy, I’m not exactly the life of the party. But I am always at the party. And I’ve always felt more secure if I knew the right people that would get me to the party. And I’ve always felt hopeless if I didn’t. It comes down to one adolescent and sad thing, really: popularity.
I’ve come a very long way in my pursuits of popularity, but I relapse on occasion, like this past Friday night. I sink into the alone-ness and I forget why I feel alone. The reason is because I’m seeking acceptance from people around me in order to fill my acceptance void. And we all know what happens when we try to force people to fill our voids, right? We get let down, every single time. I’m holding others to too high a standard: “Include me always! Call me! Don’t forget about me! INVITE ME TO ALL OF YOUR PARTIES SO I CAN MEET MY QUOTA FOR THE MONTH.” I’m annoying myself even writing this.
For me, the only way to begin to move past this need for others’ inclusion, was to recognize the existing acceptance of God.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is basic, Gospel truth, but without it, popularity would continue to determine my worth.
I know it’s not always helpful on a Friday night alone, sitting on your couch to remember that God loves you. It’s almost too big of a concept to be able to grasp and find comfort in in the moment.
That’s why this understanding of God’s acceptance must be a slow, conscious and consistent realization. (Tweet This)
You have to study it, pray about it and practice the awareness of it: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16,21). This is the stuff that equips you for the dark moments, making them a little less dark each time.