Thus far my blog has mainly chronicled Aaron and my travels. Right now though, I think I’ll share a little bit of an emotional journey that I’ve embarked on over the past few months. To start, I’ll share the below post that I wrote a few weeks ago, originally just for myself. As the weeks have passed and I’ve gone back and forth battling with the same emotions I dealt with below, I thought “Gee, maybe I’m not the only one who needs to hear this… maybe someone else does too!” So in that hope, if you’re lonely, tired, dispirited, or just in need of a little encouragement, I hope the below post gives you Joy.
March 2, 2016
I am a people person. I LOVE people. I love sad people, quiet people, happy people, loud people, people. I love people.
“My best life now” is when I am surrounded by people 24/7, pouring into them and they pouring into me. It’s why I loved college.
Even in college though, there are times when people are not around. I remember anxious hours of waiting late at night for my roommate to come back from study sessions in the library. I remember hours spent by myself in the dorm. I remember whole days my freshman year where I had little to no meaningful conversations. Those times frighten the Dickens out of me.
Why? I think I often use people as white noise to drown out thoughts that I don’t want to deal with. I’m stressed, so I distract myself with people. I’m bored, so I fill my time with people. If I make them feel better, that’s a good thing, right? But then there are times when I’m not with people. What happens then? If I define happiness by being surrounded by people, can I be happy alone?
To make me answer this question, God picked me up out of my comfortable familiar life back in the states and plumped me down in the middle of a country where I don’t know the language. Added to that, he placed my husband in a job where he is gone for about 75% of the day. So…… Now I have to confront that niggling doubt that’s always been in the back of my mind: can I survive without people I can communicate with?
If you were able to look at my heart over the last two weeks, you’d say no, I cannot. The best moments of these last few weeks have been when I was with people. But sadly those have also been the only moments when I was psychologically OK. So I know, I’m in a new country, leaving behind friends and family. I should allow myself to go through a hard time, it’s only natural, right? Wrong. Yes, I should expect some hard times, I should be patient with myself, but I can’t keep up with self-destructive behavior. It’s not fair to me, it’s certainly not fair to my husband, and most of all, it is not obedient to my God.
This past Sunday Aaron and I went to the contemporary service of worship at the base about 45 minutes south of us. Aaron is most comfortable in a suit and tie, so it was a big deal for him to don jeans, use the gas, and drive us to church. His experience with base chapels has not been good, so he was not really looking forward to the service. However, the pastor surprised us by reading large portions of the bible and preaching directly from it. A government employee being brave! He preached about the woman at the well in John 4. At the time, I’ll admit I kind of tuned out. I’d heard this sermon many times, and I let my mind wander.
Temporarily refreshed by being around people during the weekend, I dreaded the upcoming week and the time alone. After a few more days of depression, selfishness and moping, God changed me this morning.
Usually after seeing Aaron off in the morning, I jump straight into the shower. This morning however, I decided to read a few chapters of That Hideous Strength, a sci-fi story written by C.S. Lewis. This book does something I’ve never seen another book do: it creates a sci-fi world that is meshed with Christianity, fantasy, and philosophy. In a true Lewis manner, it uses description of fantasy to show the true beauty of Christ (much like Lewis’ better known series, the Chronicles of Narnia). As I read, God used the words to transform my spirit and remind me of my true Joy and purpose as his child. He showed me that the last few weeks I’d been responding to spiritual attacks in a fleshly manner. Much like the woman at the well, I’d been going day after day to pour myself, water from an ever-shrinking well, when all the time a fountain of Living Water had been welling up behind me, ready to refresh my soul.
This revelation came to me in such a burst of joy that I almost jumped and danced right there in the flat of the Hotel Maas. The world had taken on a new perspective because once again I had found those things I’d been trying to find in people (joy and purpose) in the one Source who would never disappoint, and who was always there for me. Not only does He speak English, He speaks the hidden language of my heart.
I truly felt this morning that I had been liberated. I still love people, but at least right now, I can remember that I don’t need them to be happy. This is the truth I’ve caught glimpses of over the past years, but never felt so fully. I know the attacks will come. I know the world, the flesh, and the Devil will do what they can to push me back down into the pit of selfishness, but I also know that I can come back to the fountain of Living Water and drink from it until I am satisfied. In Christ, I am more than a conqueror.