I have a confession: I am a jealous and envious person. But, what I am envious of may surprise you.
I say don’t give me things, give me people. Give me connections. Give me relationships.
This week’s reading in my current course helped shed light on this part of my heart. Although I don’t agree with everything the author said, it did get me thinking. It did get me to deeply mull over why I value people so much.
I say time and time again I am a deeply relational person. Believe me, I am. But, it also comes with its setbacks.
The biggest being I often feel lonely because I so deeply yearn this connection. Even though, in reality, I have a plentiful amount of connections. In a way, I find myself discontent with the connections I do have. Instead, I long for someone else. I long for what I think will be something better.
I often look at others’ relationships and connections and wish I could be a part of it, too. The moment I feel I have something in common with someone, I catch myself envisioning what could or would lie ahead if the connection flourished into a special friendship.
Honestly, it’s easy for me to view every possible encounter as a new possible connection to be made.
So, it’s hard for me to walk away from most anything with a sense of neutrality. It’s hard for me to walk away indifferent from the person I spent time with or even just met.
But, then, here comes my constant tension.
The former orphan and adopted person in me wants nothing to do with people. I don’t want closeness. I want distance. I want time to myself.
I let my mind wander. It is then I question why God made me such a softie towards others and, truthfully, just a softie in general. I long to understand why I care so deeply about others, especially strangers.
The former orphan and adopted person in me vividly recalls relationships are emotionally taxing and force us to be vulnerable. They invite the possibility of rejection and judgment with open arms. They keep us accountable to the yucky parts of our lives. They encourage us to uncover the sin of our lives. They show us on a heart level like none other.
I can recall numerous times in my life when I have not appreciated the time it takes to grow deep, meaningful relationships. I don’t know many other highly relational people like myself, so sometimes it can feel like I am the only one making an effort. The effort that I long to go through can be the exact thing that makes me not want to be relational.
That lingering time makes me want to fast forward to the, “Yeah, we are heartfelt friends” stage. I don’t want the work that comes with it. I don’t want the journey. I want the destination. I want the declaration.
Ultimately, then, I don’t want the people, nor I do want to get to know them on a heart level. For, as much as I’d like to deny it, relationships and people take work and time. They take humility. They take forgiveness. They take patience. They take never-ending grace.
I spent much of time shutting people out before accepting Jesus Christ into my life and allowing Him to change my heart. I spent a great deal of my time hating people. I spent much of my time being anything but loving.
However, if you ask my husband, he’d say he thinks the softie in me was always there. It just hadn’t found its light—Jesus.
So, it’s been quite the shift since knowing Jesus to long for people until my heart can’t handle the angst. Because it’s quite a transition, I find myself in this valley of envy. I find myself with an imbalance. I find myself discontent. I find myself questioning God’s handiwork in my life and in my heart attitude.
I am here to tell you this to keep myself accountable to this newfound idol in my heart. Please forgive me if this sounds choppy, as this is only the beginning of me trying to make sense of it all. I hope from this point forward I can begin to find a balance between this tension in my heart.
If you identify with any of the tendencies, I am certain you are not alone. Loving people and loving them well can be difficult, especially if you are doing it for the wrong reasons.
But, even though it is difficult and can be emotionally exhausting, it is completely, utterly, and wholeheartedly worth it.
So, if you’ve had a longing to introduce yourself and get to know someone on a heart level, please do. All it takes is simply inviting the individual out for a cup of coffee. How do I know this? Because I’ve done it. One of my good friendships began simply because I answered God’s call to meet with her.
I tell you: Meet each other in this valley of life. Love well. Love hard. And never forget to look at the reflection of your own heart along the way. You may soon realize that what once began as a good thing morphed into something greater and out of your control.
It is then we must once again meet with Jesus. It is then we must remind ourselves that every good and perfect gift comes from above. None of it is ours for keeps.