It was Saturday night. My fingers were curled around my favorite coffee mug. I slowly took a sip of my hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and marshmallows and chocolate syrup. I sat on the couch in the living room in my reindeer pajamas and fuzzy slippers watching Christmas movies. Sounds like a nice relaxing evening, right?
Well you would be right, except that this weekend was different. It was my birthday weekend. And here I sat alone at home. My friend had cancelled our plans yesterday to hang out that Saturday night saying something had come up last minute. I texted another friend to complain about how that friend had cancelled our plans to hang out. The friend was busy working on sending out job applications and told me that they couldn’t always be there for me and basically told me I needed to get over it. All of this rejection stung more than I care to admit.
I tried hard to convince myself that my birthday was just another day and that my friends meant well. The hot cocoa and movies were my effort to try cheer myself up. However, as I was getting ready for bed that night there was nothing left to distract me from my emotions. I sat on the floor in my room and finally gave in to my pain. I was so upset with myself. Out of my hurt, I had snapped back at both of my friends. The tears began to pour down my cheeks faster than I could wipe them. Thoughts began to flood my mind quicker than I could stop them.
“This past year was a waste. It’s no wonder no one wants to hang out with you. You’re not pretty enough. You’re worthless. You’re no fun to be around. You’re so hard to love. You are better off being alone. You deserve to be alone. You are such a screw up. You don’t care enough. Why do you even bother trying to make friends? You can’t ever keep them. People never stay in your life. You tried so hard investing in making friends and look where it got you. You are sitting here alone on your birthday weekend. People obviously don’t care about you. Or else someone would care enough to at least text you to hang out this weekend.”
I mumbled out to God through gasps of air “Just. Please. Make. It. Stop.”
Suddenly I felt a peace come over me. I heard God quietly tell me in my heart, “Britt, you spend so much time investing in relationships with others. When will you invest that much in our relationship? I am the one who will never let you down.”
I began reflecting on the past year. I hadn’t done the best job in making my relationship with God my first priority. I wanted so desperately to not be alone that I had put a huge focus on my relationship with others. I more often times than not would choose going out with friends or people from small group over my time with God. I began to see how I had neglected God.
“I am sorry, God. I should be focusing more on you so I can improve my relationships with others. But how can I change?”
God softly told me in my heart that He forgave me. He began to reveal to me how He had gently fenced me in to spend tonight with Him. I was overwhelmed with a sense of awe and wonder. I couldn’t (and still can’t) begin to imagine why the God of the universe would want to spend tonight with me. I didn’t deserve this abundance of unconditional love that God freely lavished on me.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit brought back to mind the verse Galatians 6:9. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” And it was in that moment that I knew God was telling me to keep pushing forward and to not stay down. This year hadn’t been a waste. So much good had come from it. I had done so many new things…. Swing dancing, square dancing, snorkeling, my first missions trip, new jobs, and so much more. And it was through all of these things over the year that led to my growth and change and friendships.
God began to show me that I need to be more intentional in everything I do; whether it is my prayer life, or my friendships, or my God time, or my job. Being intentional was the answer of how I could change. I started to realize that investing in others will always come with risks, but it’s so worth it. Yes, people may hurt you from time to time, but no one is perfect and we must show them grace. And this is why we must first invest in our relationship with God, because He’ll never let us down. I began to think back on all the memories I had made over the last year… 5Ks and a road trip to Kentucky and rodeos and ice cream trips and climbing roofs and fireworks and swing dancing. All of it was so worth jumping in and trusting God and investing in others.
In that moment, God revealed to me that I couldn’t run from my fear of losing friends and ending up alone. I needed to face my fear and let it know that I am not going anywhere. I am not going to hide underneath my blankets and be buried under my insecurities anymore. I refuse to let my fear keep pushing me down. Because I know now that it is part of my mission from God to invest in others while I am here on this earth.
God showed me how I tend to hold myself to the unrealistic expectation of being the perfect friend. I see now that I need to trust that others (including God) will love the broken, flawed person that I am. Being vulnerable is so difficult for me, because I am so scared people will reject me. I have been hurt so many times before that I try hard to be perfect all the time.
So if we’re friends, I want to thank you for our friendship. I hope you’ll give me the chance to invest more in our relationship over this next year. And if we aren’t really friends, I hope you’ll give me the chance to invest in getting to know you better. I am so excited for a chance to love God more so I can love others more and invest in them. All while allowing God and others to love me in return. And please know I am in the process of letting go of perfectionism and grant me understanding as I try to overcome it.
If you’re reading this and are feeling alone and rejected, I would encourage you to reach out to God. You may be pleasantly surprised that He is trying to get you all alone by your sweet self to teach you something.