All by Myself
"My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." Psalm 25:15-16 (NIV)
Don't look his way, my heart and mind insist.
I don't want to look. Then again, I do. Though I did not check the "Plus One" box on my RSVP card, I wish I had. I wish I hadn't come alone. Maybe then I wouldn't gravitate to him.
He's reckless and destructive. I know better, but he's the only one who can relate to me. Even so, I avoid eye contact; I must trick him to believe she doesn't need me anymore.
I succeed, until another joined-at-the-hip couple walks into the holiday party. My resolve walks out. He walks up to me, extends a knowing hand. Fingers entwine, I fall in his snare. My stomach lurches. I hate him. I hate Loneliness.
I hate feeling alone and attending life all by myself.
We float from couple to couple. Each marriage, baby, holiday, life-is-grand story runs together like mud. The mud Loneliness slings my way: You'll never have this. You'll be lonely forever.
I can't look at their joy. Instead I turn my eyes to him as I mutter repeatedly through my clinched jaw and cinched heart: Do. Not. Cry.
A deep breath holds back the lonely tears, the lonely years, the lonely fears.
His cruelty seeps in my pores as we make our way from conversation to conversation. Christmas carols in the background promise it's the best time of the year and tell tales of sleigh rides taken with loved ones. Lovely sentiments, but they make me feel even more alone in a crowded room. How can two hours feel like thirty years?
By the time the clock chimes an acceptable hour to bid my goodbyes, I'm eager to be gone. One step out the door and I lower my guard too soon. Loneliness has saved his best for last. Powerfully, he beats me down with lies until I believe: I will always be all-by-myself.
Then Loneliness walks off; leaves me there, ironically, alone.
Compassionately, a different hand reaches down. One that is gentle and healing. Let me help you up. Rough night, huh?
I look up to see His scared hand extended. How'd You know I was here?
He tells me He's been there the whole time, always near. And even though He knows, He asks for details, dreams, despairs. We talk until I can hear His assurances over the barrage of Loneliness' discouragement.
Hollow parts of my heart fill with the lavish warmth of Jesus' courage. Truth soldiers through my thoughts, throwing shields up against the deception. And I know Loneliness can't be my "Plus One" - my go-to guy. I need to rely on my Only One - my Always Near.
It's time to break-up with Loneliness for good. Not just at parties, during holidays or weekends with nothing planned. Because truth is, Loneliness also courts my friends who are married, have children and all that I long for. Loneliness tags along whether alone or surrounded by family and friends, on special days and ordinary days.
There's only one way to keep Loneliness from being a constant companion in life. I must fix my eyes "ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare" of feeling alone. I need to invite Him to attend the lonely times with me, and hold my hand, keeping me company with the truth that He is always by my side.
And the next party I'm invited to? I won't go all by myself. Instead I'll invite the Lord as my "Plus One."
Dear Lord, my eyes are ever on You, for only You will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The next time you start feeling lonely, pray this prayer: "My eyes are ever on You LORD, for only You will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish." Psalm 25:15-17 (NIV)
A teardrop on earth summons the King of Heaven. ~Charles Swindoll
Deuteronomy 31:8, "'The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.'" (NIV 1984)
Lamentations 3:22-26, "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." (NIV 1984)
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