Sometimes I think people only imagine that the devil comes to us in big things. You know what I mean, right? That we will meet our demise or downfall through things like drugs, murder, or violence.
While these things obviously lead to problems, I think the devil is in the little things.
If the devil were to conquer me, I do not think it would be with alcohol or beating someone up. If I am conquered, it will be because I have been convinced that I am alone.
Actually, maybe that is not so small?
Most of my life I have felt alone.
In daycare, I remember struggling to connect and make friends.
In high school and college, I felt the same way. I would talk someone and struggle to feel a of connection.
The need to feel connected is a God give desire.
Feeling alone is often just that – a feeling; it is seldom a reality.
I feel alone, but at any moment, I have a dozen people I can call and ask for help.
Regardless of this reality, my perception has led to some dark times. I have struggled with bouts of depression, paralyzing anxiety, and when I was in college – a suicide attempt.
This last year has not been helpful. In mid-2015, my church campus closed (I wrote about that here), and a few months ago I was diagnosed with Celiac disease (and I wrote about that here). Losing a church campus feels lonely. Learning to adapt to a disease where you cannot eat food others are consuming feels lonely. In spite of being surrounded by people – I feel alone.
This morning I woke up and felt lonely. My brain was telling me to stay at home and sulk. But if you want to grow loneliness – you feed it with being alone. If you want to grow connection – you feed it by being around good people.
Instead of sulking, I drove to church. I was going to sit alone, but instead, I forced myself to sit by some friends.
When I feel alone, I try to overcome it by remembering these three things.
First, I remember to pick up the damn phone. Instead of sitting in silence, I call out to someone I love. I call my mother and tell her I miss her. I call my friend Brandy and ask her about her day. I message my friend Bri and see how she is doing. Honestly, I forget to do this – ALL the time, but I am trying to be better.
Second, I try to realize that my struggle with feeling alone comes from a place of pain. I feel alone because I do not want to let others in because I feel like I have been hurt by a lot of people. When I married Del I put in my vows ‘I vow to let you love me.’ I am surrounded by people that try to love me, but I struggle to let them. I fear that if I let them in, they will only hurt me. Since marrying Del, and learning to let someone love me, I am starting to overcome that. But its hard. Every day it is hard.
Third, I reflect on the fact that even if I lost everything I would still have God. If my friends go away, if my husband dies, and if my church is gone – God still remains (for the record – I would prefer to have those things stick around). I am a child of God. God dwells in me. At any moment, at any time, He is with me. When I am alone, I try to remember Him. With Him, I am never really alone. And if I am never really alone, the devil can never conquer me.