A continuation of my reflections on the Beth Moore conference from a few weeks ago:
This was my biggest take-away. Near the end, Mrs. Beth led a time of prayer for the various needs she had discussed. One of the topics was close personal friendships, and so she asked women to stand - if they felt comfortable doing so - if they had loneliness and were feeling the lack of a close personal friend.
Ok. There are like TONS of church groups who come to these things. And most of them wear matching t-shirts. Which are mostly pink. That is unrelated. But you get the picture, right? Large groups of similarly dressed women, roaming around this place, talking, laughing, excited. Hyped. Well, like church-lady hyped. Further...most of them are white, 20s to 50s, probably middle class. And they know Jesus. So they have one big thing in common, as well as lots of other little (but still pretty significant) things in common.
And when Mrs. Beth asked if anyone wanted prayer regarding loneliness...a solid 60% of the women stood. I was not so much surprised as heartbroken. Right then and there, all of the air went from my lungs and I cried for the brokenness in that room (arena). I wanted to just grab one of my standing sisters, grab her and lay my hands on her so as to somehow impart some strength of heart. I have known that loneliness, that chill and trembling, and not too long ago either.
So then I realized...if this is true in this place, that 60% of these women are lonely, then it probably holds true for the people I see on a daily basis. It steamrolled me.
Who in my life is living this quietly lonely life, and trying to cover it with clothes and laughter and lots of words?
Who is desperate for someone to know, yet horrified that they would be found out?
Since then I have tried to be more aware of people, more open to interruption and inconvenience. Or, just...more open. And I've been praying courage for my sisters, that they would risk it. That they would reach, that they would reveal even though it's terrifying. Part of the fear, I know, comes from being hurt before in some very real and horrible ways. I went through a really rough season of life in which I believed my "picker" was broken. Lots of users, and no true friends. Like the children of Israel in Nehemiah, I had to rebuild my walls and gates, and it was hard work.
And then others just have really high walls, and their gates are locked tight and no one is getting in. I believe this is from hurt or fear, as well, and by my guesses this is where most of those lonely women in that arena stand. They are surrounded, literally, by like-minded women, and they're still lonely. And this is especially tragic to me because no one who would be a treasured friend is going to bust down your gates. You're gonna have to open them up yourself, even if just a little at first.
So, I'm praying for courage. For all of us. Because even though I have some good relationships, I can still hide. We can all hide. Be strong and courageous, my sisters, and let someone know you. Don't waste another minute.