I was at Starbucks the other day, minding my own business, when I was suddenly surrounded by what I could only describe as a big flock of lovebirds. In every direction couples were walking hand in hand, strolling the mall, laughing, smooching, and just... being together. I felt like pulling out a giant megaphone, standing on the table and making a special announcement: "ATTENTION ALL LOVERS: please withhold any physical display of affection or else leave the premises. Thank you."
I pretended to be disgusted, but the feeling registering deep inside was that of loneliness. I wondered if that would ever be me -- with someone else. I have been waiting ever so patiently on God's timing, and most of the time I honestly feel fine. I am enjoying the special blessings that come along with the 'season of singleness.' But then there are those moments when it feels like things are moving along at a snail's pace. You know, those times when you just want to march straight up to heaven and shout at the top of your lungs, "Hurry up already!"
So what are we supposed to do when our desires -- and emotions that come with them -- bubble up to the surface of our souls like the foam of a root beer float? Pretend like they are not there? Shove them under the rug and ignore them? Put on a smile and feign happiness?
Then as in now, I am reminded of Jesus, and how he dealt with periods of waiting. His journey on earth wasn't a bed of roses, but of reality -- living in a fallen world ridden with pain and darkness. Rather than having an artificial response to these earthly experiences, Jesus was real, raw and utterly honest about the deep well of emotion He felt. He wept. He cried. He expressed anguish and anger.
If Jesus, the Son of God, experienced such valleys of intense emotion while He waited for God's purposes to unfold in their proper time, how much more us? Through His example, it is clear, not only that we will face moments of "long-suffering," but also that God does not expect us to suppress our emotions. He wants us to express them -- to Him.
I love the words from the Psalmist who wrote, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8). Part of showing our trust in God is pouring out our hearts to Him. This is something very practical we can put into practice each day. All it requires is that we be real with God, approaching Him with a raw honesty like Jesus did. Feeling down in the dumps? Tell Him why. Is your heart troubled? Share it with Him. Tired, weary, lost or alone? Invite Him into those deep crevices of your soul and allow Him be your strength, comforter, healer and friend. He is just waiting to put His arm around us in those tougher moments and say, "My child, I am here with you. It's going to be alright." He desires nothing more than to be a part of our world - but it's up to us to let Him in.
I left Starbucks that day with a feeling other than loneliness in my heart. No matter how low or lonely I felt, I could rest in the fact that I was never truly alone. And dear sister, so can you.
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission." (Hebrews 5:7)
"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
"The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it." -- Henri J.M Nouwen
Ali Smith loves anything involving the outdoors. She is currently enjoying exploring the tropical landscape of Southeast Asia, where she has lived and worked for the past four years as a broadcast journalist. She misses the Montana mountains where she grew up, but has made the most of the humid climate by tackling two marathons so far. She swears she will never do another ... but time will tell if she really means it! Ali just released her first book called Entrusting the Key: From Serial Dating to Joyful Waiting. You can check out her blog at http://alinsmith.wordpress.com/
© 2010 by Ali Smith. All rights reserved.