I was asked to share this past Tuesday morning at a women's group about feeling alone in a crowd and the art of friendship... I must say it was terrifying.
The morning began well.
I was up in time.
I had organized the points I had hoped to make and my flow of thoughts were written down. I had highlighted and underlined and asterisked all that I felt God was showing me was important for the ladies that morning.
I left my home ready.
Then, lost in my thoughts, I missed my turn.
Then, everyone's phones are out of whack, including mine.
Finally I get in touch with my friends. (Just one of the many reasons I am thankful for my friends and that I do not travel this road of life alone)
So I make it to my destination with a little help from my friends... but now I am frazzled, unfocused, and terrified. All the old gut wrenching emotions of standing in front of others hits like a ton of bricks in the pit of my stomach.
Oh I was so disappointed in me. Confidence diminished, boldness gone, feelings of unworthiness crashing on the shores of my soul with unrelenting pounding... who in the world did I think I was to be standing up and speaking to anyone?
I thought God had moved me past this... but alas, here I was again in a cold nauseous sweat trying to smile with the best faked confidence I could muster. Contemplating on how could I turn around and run out the door without humiliating myself or the dear friend who believed in me enough to ask me to come and share.
Fear is now rushing over me, not that I will embarrass me...
I am used to that...
But that I will be an embarrassment to my friend.
What if I let her down? What if I make a fool of her? I mean for goodness sake, I am already coming in late... again.
Thoughts of faking an emergency phone call from home emerge... hey it could happen, right?
I thought I would be so well prepared, had hoped I would be so well prepared, had hoped that I would eloquently share all the wonderful things God had showed me as I researched all this stuff on friendship.
I stood up to share in my state of flusteration and absolutely forgot everything.
I even forgot to pray... which I am sure would have calmed me at least a little.
Here I was feeling utterly alone and foolish in a crowd as I stood to share about feeling alone in a crowd.
I have spent the time since my sharing trying to go back over the morning and trying to remember what I shared. Did I make any sense? And then the oh my's, why did I share that's?
I sent a text to another friend and shared my sick to my stomachness and my fear of how I felt I was a blubbering train wreck and she was so kind as to remind me that God used a donkey so she was sure he was able to use whatever I did (well at the moment I most certainly felt like a donkey in the King James translation)
It never ceases to amaze me how often God has to remind me that it is not about my capability but my availability. The power is not in me but in Him and in His Word. I am just a jar of clay with a treasure within it to share with whoever God chooses to bring into my path and with whomever I run into as I go in His commission command.
So now I have to remind myself of the same points I planned to share with others.
1) God said in the beginning that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18). We need help from each other (Eccles 4:11-12).
2) We cannot bear our burdens alone (Ex 18:18, Deut 1:9-12, Rom 15:1, Gal 6:1-2) even Christ had help when it came to the burden of carrying the cross (Luke 23:26)
3) We are not alone in feeling alone (1 Kings 18:22, Jer 15:17, Ezek 9:8)
4) Sometimes we must be alone in order to discover where we are in life, in our hearts, in our minds, sometimes we must be removed from the distractions of life and others to hear God. (Gen 32:24, 2 Chron 32:31, Daniel 10:8, John 6:15)
5) When we feel alone is when the enemy will attack the hardest (Gen 3:1-5, Luke 4:1-13, 2 Chon 32:31)
6) If we belong to Christ we are never really alone, no matter how we "feel" (John 8:29, John 14:17-18, John 16:32, Psalm 9:10, Psalm 27:9, Heb 13:5)
7) Whenever we "feel" alone we must remember that our feelings will lie to us. Our heart will deceive us and our emotions will confuse us. We must be guided by our renewed minds, renewed by the Word of God, not our hearts, for God is greater than our hearts (Prov 28:26, 1 John 3:20)
8) Many times when we "feel" alone we have chosen to put ourselves in solitary confinement (1 Kings 19:3) either by running away from others or by putting up walls around us by lies we tell so that others, even hopefully God, will not discover who we really are (Isaiah 59:1-6). We weave an outfit of flesh that we think others want to see and we hide ourselves from our own flesh (Isaiah 58:7) and then we live in the darkness of the prison of our own making simply because we fear how others might receive our real authentic selves.
9) We must be honest with ourselves, others, and God (1 John 1:9-10). The biggest lie spoken in our churches today is "I'm fine."
10) We must not fear each other or fear revealing ourselves to one another. Let us never forget that our Savior revealed Himself on the cross, He laid Himself bare in order to become our friend (John 15:15). A true friend loves at all times (Prov 17:17) and perfect love is supposed to cast out fear (1 John 4:18-19) because we can know that we are loved by our Creator God whether anyone else loves us or not.
11) We must love in truth. Our actions must match our words. We can't just say we love, we must show we love (1 John 3:18-20) We cannot love with hypocrisy (Rom 12:9) and experience true fellowship and friendship
Bottom line is we need each other. I need people in my life who know me. I need my friends to help me on this journey called life. God said it was not good for us to be alone and being in a crowd does not make you "not alone".
Not being alone comes when someone shares your heart, it comes from friendships that are formed from commitment and complete trust. It comes from being willing to let someone see you for you, from being willing to allow them to see your very soul. It also comes from being willing to hear and receive the hard things from those you know love you unconditionally...
So I don't know about you, but I get by with a little help from my friends :-)