Merry Christmas for the Lonely Soul
Merry Christmas to those who are spending this Christmas alone. &Happy holidays to those who don't celebrate...?
I thought pretty long and hard about how to write this post. As a Christian, Christmas should be a time of remembrance, thanksgiving, and reflection. However, to be honest, the secular portrayal of what Christmas should be has been a huge stumbling block for me, for years. I'm pretty sure that it is pretty objective that all the Christmas lights, chilly weather, and mistletoe is the perfect romantic atmosphere. As I'm growing older (I know, I'm still relatively young), I find myself in this infinite loop of asking myself: why can't I be successful in relationships?
Something that has bothered me for a really long time was this bitterness I held during this time of year. Especially during the Christmas season, it seems like everyone pairs off, whereas I feel like a scrooge, all alone during the holidays. During college was probably the worst; I felt like I had nowhere to go. Home was not very inviting, and church service could only last for so long. All my housemates were back to their respective home, celebrating with family, or celebrating with significant others; I was all alone. I remember senior year, I broke down and cried because of how lonely I felt. I had attended church service that morning, and then asked the pastor's daughter for the key to her San Diego apartment. Though the conference (held in San Diego) I was attending did not begin until December 26th night, I honestly felt like I had nowhere else to be and nothing else to do, anyways. I drove myself down there. It hadn't really hit me how upset I was until I went into the apartment, collapsed on my knees and just cried in her living room, broken. I felt unwanted, unloved, and unnecessary to the world. I remember asking God: Why can't my family love You? Why can't I celebrate with them, even if as just a secular holiday? Why can't I have a special someone to share this joyous day with?
At the time, I did find peace in Scripture:
"Wait for the LORD, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" - Psalm 27:14
I knew that if I had a special someone to celebrate Christmas with, I might end up just celebrating its secular meaning, rather than the reminder of Jesus' birth. At the time, I was just newly returned to the States, and I needed to have healing from the brutal year overseas. I had been alone, and this was the time for me to build upon community and really delve into the church family, not date.
As I first began working after graduation, I honestly didn't have time to even think about anything like romance, probably up until the Christmas season (again). I was always too busy dealing with kids. Then too tired from driving. Too invested in my community of pageant girls. Then... I moved away again.
For whatever reason, from the other side of the nation, I decided it would be a great time to fall in love with someone whom I could not even physically be with during the holiday season. And yet... my heart was full. I let that person fill up any crevice of free time I had away from work. It made me feel wanted, and as though I was no longer lonely. I tried to fill up the hole I had in my life with his false promises and my delusion of romance. As the whirlwind of that relationship swept me off my feet, reality hit me. Hard. As I walked away, stumbling and limping and crying out for help from God, friends, and temporary cures, I found myself longing for a deeper relationship. I needed Jesus. I needed to love myself and let His love flow into me, deeper still. It sounds super cheesy, I'm sure.
As I waved goodbye to the romance that never came to fruition, a lot of things began to happen. It all came in huge waves, crashing over me, one after another. I no longer could focus on romance; though my heart pounded with warm hurt and passion, I had duties to fulfill. God wrenched me away from the toxic infinite loop of wondering why and feeling jaded, and chucked me into a larger, boiling pot of molten lava. I tried to resist. I did. I wanted to cling onto earthly things and other feelings to bring me out of the sadness I felt towards losing a temporary, broken romance. For two years, I wrestled with God, trying to avoid the refiner's fire. I wanted the world. I wanted love, affirmation, and hope the way I wanted. I wanted things to go my way. I wanted circumstances to change, and God made that change happen. He knew what needed to happen for me to become desperate for Him. He knew what would make me finally fall to my knees and pray for His presence and His sovereignty... and ask for His wisdom and grace. God chucked me right into the fires of losing the one man most precious to me: my dad. God ended his 7 year long suffering, and allowed our entire family to be with him as he took his last breath. He gave us numerous ways to share the Gospel message, and even led a pastor to speak with him before his last moments. Through this, God showed me true love, and what it meant. It made me take a step back and really dissect and reset my understanding of the Gospel message, and why it is I needed so desperately for my dad to believe. I completely collapsed; broken. Ready, and in need of the Gospel message to pierce my heart and move me.
Now, six months later, we are back to this cheery, romantic holiday season. I hadn't expected to encounter someone who sparked my interest. I fell, in true INFP fashion, head over heels. As my feelings grew over the course of a few months, I began to recognize the tell-tale signs of imminent heartbreak. I still went for it. I asked directly for clarity, knowing that my heart would never rest in its resilient pursuit without a solid red light. Instead, I received a yellow light that threw me into a huge wave of confusion, and sadness. I prodded a little deeper, asking if the yellow would turn red, or if it was a blinking yellow light, telling me to proceed with caution, but that surely, I'd be able to pass. I've been given a flurry of greens, only to be met with lights that seemed orange -- dangerously close to red, yet not quite. My heart didn't dare prod further... to ask for clarification. And now, my heart dangles dangerously on the edge of heartbreak and naivete.
Dear lonely soul, the loneliness you feel resonates with me. You are not alone. As much as I'd love to be able to boast on this chilly Christmas night that God is my One and Only and that my lonely soul is satisfied in having His presence, I cannot. My soul is lonely and bitter, and as much as I cry out to God to relieve me of this blasphemous feeling, I find myself feeling a bit empty in reading his hollow words, yet encouraged when he answers energetically. I want to yell and scream at myself; We've been down this road before. God's Word is the only Word that should pierce my heart. God's Love should be all I crave... and the words and love of man should be just like a bonus. But ultimately, I crave the love of a man, and his words pierce my heart more intimately than His. Why is my faith so weak? Is this the symptom of a human bean, destined to be so wicked and adulterous?
God's love is the most faithful. It will never change, and it is present in His sovereignty over all situations. Despite knowing this, my heart feels so weary. It is so hard to surrender up these romantic feelings to Him, and just trust that He will bring me to the one He has made me for. Christ came to die on the cross to bridge this gap and hole in our hearts -- the hole that only God can fill, yet I find myself continually rejecting and betraying what I know for what I desire.
" For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." - Romans 7:15
To be honest, I was not really sure what trajectory this post was going to take. It's honestly been a really long time since I've been here just rambling on and on about my reflections of happenings in my physical and spiritual life. This is really just a very long blabber of all the pent of feelings and frustrations I've had for the past many weeks. It has honestly been really hard to refocus my gaze on Him. It's crazy sometimes, what God uses to reveal our weaknesses, and show us where we must be led to grow. Please pray for me that I will have the faith to surrender, and take hold of the situation by giving up the reins to Jesus. Faith is not asking for what I want, but knowing that God knows what I need. And maybe... just maybe these failed relationships are a reflection of where my relationship with Christ needs to be mended. This post isn't to tell you, dear lonely soul, that we are okay. This post is to remind you that we are not the only ones afflicted, and together, we can find a cure through Christ. In Christ alone.