1. First Friend sent me this article.
There is a statement that ran deep in me.
So what do we do when we feel drained and empty? When no one understands our suffering and no one seems to care? When we feel discouraged and tired and unbearably lonely? Read the Bible and Pray. Read the Bible even when it feels like eating cardboard. And pray even when it feels like talking to a wall.
Read. Meditate on the words. Write down what God is telling you. Adk God to reveal himself. Believe God uses scripture to teach and to comfort. Reading this way changes that cardboard into manna. "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart"(Jeremiah 15:16)
-Desiring God, The loneliness of sufffering.So, I've been chewing my cardboard during my quiet time.
2. Second Friend, Tell God how you feel. Keep talking to him.
So, I did. Out-loud. I felt terrible for feeling this way but he can see my heart anyway why not just tell him anyway...
3. Third Friend, Let's send each other our Joys for the day. Even when it's a bad day and nothing good came from it let's show each other how God gave us some joy.
So I did. When you look for joy it is a lot easier to find. Like your shoes or car keys.
4. Fourth Friend, Let's encourage each other in prayer. I bought a prayer book a while back but had yet to use it. She has the same one and walked me through her process and every morning I meet with the Lord and go through the ACTS way of praying. This encouraged me to write down my prayers and to really focus during my time with God. It's also wonderful to have someone to keep you accountable.
So, while I chewed the cardboard, spilled my heart, found joy in the day and intentionally made time for the Lord, he met with me. He never abandoned me. He was waiting for me to do my part. I can't just expect to be fed without first telling Him how hungry I am. I craved him but didn't realize how starved I was for His attention. And he met me. And he meets with me in the morning and through the day but only because I seek him.
Like any friendship it takes work. Jesus and I didn't become close because I said, you're my best friend now. We had to go through all the stages of friendship.
First, The Acquaintance- the awkward conversations and small talk...
Second, The Casual Friendship- I think I like you because we share common qualities and interest, we should see if this develops. Let's continue talking. Maybe, Jesus the Christ, you can come over for dinner and we can see where this goes.
Third, The Close Friendship- Alright Jesus, I like the way you eat and think. I'm going to send you some awkward but funny text messages or phone messages and if you respond in the way I think you will then we could possibly be best friends.
Fourth, BFF, Intimate Friendship- This is the deepest and shows a commitment to generously invest in one another's lives with the goal of helping each other mature and grow. It requires Honesty, humility and discretion. At this level, we have the freedom to correct one another and point out each other's blind spots. (or food in the teeth) We suggest solutions for problems that we address. We are faithful, loyal and encourage each other in love. JC points out my flaws because he has none....
Even at the BFF level I have to do my part. I wasn't. The result of that was feeling abandoned, lonely, and disconnected. Why was he playing at other people's house? Why's His picture on facebook with those people and why didn't they invite me? Why is he spending so much time with them when I feel so terrible? He doesn't abandoned His children. But it's not a one sided friendship. I have to invite him to my house if I want him to play.
So, I did.
And he showed up.
God is bigger than this and Jesus can fix-it.