There came a point one boring weekday night when I was fed up with my online math homework and decided a 92.3% was close enough to an A on that week’s assignment (because there is always that ONE problem that refuses to be right no matter how right you are…) I was on the phone with my mom, like most college students are at one point in the day. (& if you aren’t….call your mom more.) I don’t remember having a particularly rough week or day, but I remember frustratedly admitting to my mom:
“Ya know I think I’ve got it figured out. I think when people say you get to be ‘independent’ in college, it really is just their nice and not scary way of saying “there are a hecka ton of times where you’re going to feel beyond lonely”
She probably laughed at me and gave some annoyingly true mom advice that calmed me at the time in response. Looking back, I realize how THANKFUL I am for the periods of loneliness, and how essential they truly are to self-development. I resonated with a quote from Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Uninvited” yesterday that had me really good. (the whole book in general will have you in awe. 10/10 recommend!)
“There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s call for her to be set apart.”
One of my biggest heart issues is that I often let people into my life too quickly. I assume the best of everyone (yet again with my Cancer zodiac vibes) and also assume that everyone wants to know what’s on my heart. I learned pretty harshly a few times that not everyone is as mushy and feely as us Cancers are and a few single word replies to my paragraphs and I wanted to soften an area of myself that I am very proud of. My empathy and ability to be open with others about big topics is not something I would trade for the world. However, in a world that seems full of small talk and talk that makes people feel small, I felt that there was never a proper place to just sit down and pour my heart out. I too often tried and failed to breakthrough with friends by giving and giving and giving so much love and so much of my heart, only to be misunderstood. NOTHING feels lonelier than fully understanding someone, and them not understanding you.
It wasn’t until finding a few goooooood God girl friends that were willing to have casual conversations about God over ravioli day at the sorority house that I realized that loneliness is a matter of learning and growth. There are going to be times in your life where God INTENDS for you to be lonely. This is Him calling you to Him. Sometimes He removes noise of others from your life, in order for you to hear Him more clearly. Look back on times in your life where you felt lonely and try to find areas where there was growth. Maybe switch the picture and try to find areas of growth where you started out as feeling lonely. God never puts us through the sacrifice of pain if there is not such goodness to later come out of it.
I can more easily than I’d like to admit make a bulleted list of the times that I would use “lonely” to describe my situation. Being a natural extrovert, I probably was the cause of this in some scenarios, but there were others where it was because of dumb worldly thoughts of exclusion, not being important enough, not being good enough, or just not being enough in general. I would feel like there were all of these girls better than me or that everyone had already read this secret code book on how to act so I was totally just watching them and following along as if I totally knew what they were doing. (you know exactly the feeling I’m talking about, girls.) However, the enemy WANTS us to feel this way. The sin in us wants to win and wants to make us believe that we are uninvited, unacceptable, unknown, unnoticed. & here is where another good as gold quote comes into play:
“But as you pray through your feelings, see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked.”
WOWZA. Sometimes you weren’t invited to that hangout because God simply didn’t feel that your heart needed it at the moment. Maybe you were like me and felt like a tiny fish in a huge ocean coming into college, and God wanted you to feel that way in order to learn things about yourself. Life becomes so much more anxiety free and full of joy when we are able to put full TRUST into the fact that even the not so fun feeling of loneliness is from God and is for our own good.
I’ve still got a bunch of learning to do. I am sure my list of times I feel lonely will only grow as time goes on. But, from now on, strive to only see these times with the comfort of knowing what good and gracious things God is planning for you and truly watch yourself transform through learning from and about yourself. It really is magical.
Until next time, xoxo, Ally