The last few days of the Redeemed Tour I was struck by some intense loneliness. I longed for a friend to come talk to me and love on me. I texted and called and sent Facebook messages but no one seemed available. I knew that it was finals week so those friends were busy doing that and I knew my other friends had their hands full with things related to their spouses having their finals week or that their own families were generally consuming their attention for various, and very legitimate, reasons. None-the-less, I was depressingly lonely and at a loss for how to amend it.
In a place of complete aloneness I was suddenly struck by a desire to do my very best to be there for my alone friends even when I’m not alone. Because of this encounter I became painfully aware that it’s not exactly selfish to be forgetful of your friends because of your hyper focus on your own family or life but, since your family is an extension of you, not focusing your attention outside your family is actually selfish.
When I got married I wanted to be different from some of the marriages that broke up friendships. It seemed to me marriage caused the couple to become exclusive to each other or other couples. I wanted to be a married woman who not only welcomed single friends but really sought to be the best friend I could be to them by being there for them.
When Josh and I have kids I share a similar desire to the one above. I too often see that family units become a different level of exclusiveness. I see these exclusive families serving their kids every second of the day but forgetting to reach outside their family bubble. Serving your spouse and kids is a wonderful, needed thing, but maybe God intended for us to take all the self-sacrificing we learn in marriage and with raising kids out past our family confines in order to better love on those around us. I want to be the kind of family that welcomes others into our family as if they are our own. I want to continue to be there for my single and married but childless friends.
Last week I was unbearably lonely. But as much as I was bummed I couldn’t get a hold of someone to hang out with me I was even more bummed at myself for too often not being there for my friends. I certainly couldn’t blame anyone for not being there for me if I couldn’t show up and be a great friend first. I was so personally convicted by how selfish I still am. Now I can only hope that my experience last week will serve as the catalyst for a major change in my own heart. I want to be an incredible wife and business owner but I also want to be a better daughter, friend, mentor, and sister. I want to be there for those I love whenever they need me. It’s going to be a challenge but I will hope and pray with all my might that I can make the change. Besides, it’s not only better for the ones I pay attention too but it is much better for me. I have found that by focusing inward on yourself or your family builds a closed and festering outlook on life. And I have also found that by focusing my attention not on me and my own but on others, I not only seem to have more time to serve them but I find I have more joy.