the choice that is your dwelling place
“loneliness isn’t in a place where God’s love dwells”
this is a line that I read from a blog post by Jordan Lee (literally every word out of her mouth is gold btw) and I wish I could say that this quote made me feel good about myself and my God – but it didn’t. I wish I could say that I more often than not feel content with just me and Jesus doing life together – but I don’t. I wish I could say that I don’t sometimes envy those that are my age, married, and have one of the biggest uncertainties of life already figured out – but I sometimes do. longterm singleness doesn’t always feel fulfilling and joyous. and I’m not even sure that marriage always leaves people feeling fulfilled and joyous. so I guess it’s safe to say that loneliness isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved by a fellow human that’s also susceptible to all kinds of feelings of emptiness. and that can only mean that we’ve got to let the only One who isn’t susceptible to our constant changing emotions help us, but I’ll be honest with y’all – that’s easier said than done, or it least it is to me. letting Him do work hurts. letting Him fill voids and gaps requires sacrifice. letting Him challenge us to be better people isn’t pleasant. letting Him pull us out of self-pity sucks. and most of all, letting Him mold us into who we were made to be during every season of life – even the lonely ones – isn’t the easy decision to make. nor is it the one we usually feel like making. I way too often find myself not responding with a willing and ready, “here I am, Lord” attitude when I feel like the Holy Spirit wants me to get my Bible out and prepare myself for the day ahead or the day to follow. I subdue every call to withdraw to a quiet place and choose instead to sit there with my nose in my phone doing things that couldn’t be any less productive.
the last thing I should be putting off until tomorrow is answering God’s whisper to come away with Him for a portion of my day so that He can equip me with the very attitudes and hope I’ll need to overcome the day itself.. but I still find myself doing it and when I put it into words, on “paper”, it makes no sense. with that kind of attitude towards the only relationship that matters and truly satisfies, no wonder I find myself getting lonely.
one of my biggest inward struggles that the Lord is really starting to make me aware of lately is obstinance. in real life, I’m the farthest thing from obstinate – I’m actually a bit of a pushover when it comes to everything but what restaurant we’re going to after church on Sunday.. and I usually get my way on that one, because who doesn’t like Chuys on a Sunday afternoon? but in all seriousness, I can be sassy with God a lot. I don’t deserve the patience He has with me. here’s a perfect example: as I’m writing this, I’m putting off quiet in the Word time, one on one with Jesus, because 1.) its 11:30 pm and reading is one of the last things that I actually want to do at that hour and 2.) my quiet moments with Jesus have proven to be the most convicting ones and who likes being convicted by the Holy Spirit when it’s dark outside and you’re half-awake? I more often than I’d like to admit choose sleep over conviction, I’m human. but bottom line, I think it’s safe to say that when God’s trying to get you in a quiet place, it’s because He has something to say and I really don’t think that He should have to choose a convenient time for us to sit there and listen. and you may not want to hear it, you may be too tired or busy, but a life free of conviction is a sad excuse for a life. how can I expect to feel good about sitting in such a dry, stagnant, lonely place? I’d rather move forward, but it takes a lot of willingness that I rarely find myself possessing.
SO if you thought up until this point that I had my life together, that I had my heart together, I’m sorry to inform you that I don’t. but by His grace, I am lacking nothing. He withholds no good thing. and the good thing I need right now is a willing heart. a heart that’s willing to push me to sit there with my Bible open in my lap at 11:30 pm instead of looking at my phone waiting for a text that isn’t coming, from a fellow human that just won’t be able to cure the loneliness as perfectly as my God can. I need a heart that’s ready and open to conviction at any time. I need a heart that’s willing to take conviction, learn lessons, and move forward from old habits into healthier, flowing, joyous life. I need a heart that sees the beauty in being the single, very much so unmarried 19-year-old me and most of all, I need a heart that’s at peace with simply walking with the Author of every single one of my days before a single one of them came to pass.
so fast forward to the morning after I wrote all of the stuff you just read. this morning required early waking and it blessed me with the opportunity to sit on the porch with my second cup of coffee and talk to God.. the peace we feel after we dwell in moments like those is the peace that I so wish that I constantly craved and pursued. a morning spent in prayer or in the Word, in the very place where God’s love is communicated to us, is so much sweeter than a morning spent groggily scrolling through an instagram feed, but I still choose the latter more often than I’m proud to admit. I still choose loneliness, over communion (there I go with that word again, it’s becoming my new favorite). I choose to dwell on these longings for relationships with boys over a far better Psalm 119:114 relationship with my God:
“You are my place of quiet retreat, I wait for your Word to renew me.”
so the cure to my reoccurring loneliness, and yours too, is a simple one: start choosing a better dwelling place and start viewing retreating as absolutely necessary.
start your day in communion with the Lord, let Him love on you, and choose to stay there as the day unfolds. follow up with Him before your head hits the pillow and cast all those cares on the one who cares the most. and to my fellow single friends: that’s the purposeful single living we’ve got to start being open to right now and thats the guarding our hearts that we’ve got to start making the time for.
if we start giving Him the chance to cure us, to love us – He’ll show up.
but we’ve got to show up first.
even at 11:30 pm.