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Craving Connection

By Patti Jensen

Mitchell County

 

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

Quarantine. Stay at Home. Isolate.

Could you have ever imagined we would see these days? They are crazy times for sure. And scary. And sad. Our world has turned into something we don’t recognize. And if you are like me, even after six weeks of this, I don’t think I have it figured out.

While there have been many times I have prayed for more time to stay home and “piddle”. Work on new projects. Cook all the recipes. This isn’t what I had in mind. And honestly, I’m not sure I like it all. But one thing is for sure, it has forced us all to focus. Focus on the good things, the small things that matter. But it also has magnified something that I have been feeling for a while.

I need people. I need friends. And nothing can make you feel more isolated than, well, being isolated.

Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I had become increasingly aware of the importance of friends in my life. The need to build a tribe that I knew I could count on. Count on for support. Prayers. And yes even impromptu shopping trips. Friends who I knew I would hear from.

And I stepped out and verbalized this to those around me, I was surprised at what I heard. They too were lonely. Women who I saw as popular, fun, surrounded by people, hundreds or thousands of social media followers…they were lonely too. The more we talked the more we confirmed this craving for connection. These women didn’t always have things in common…some are single, some are married with no children, some are young with young children, some have teenagers, some are empty nesters, some work, some stay home….but every single one discussed those feelings of loneliness, feeling like they didn’t really have a group of friends they belonged to. Now everyone had friends…people they smiled at and hugged at the coffee shop, people they commented on their posts on Facebook, people they sat with at church.

But they, like me, were beginning to feel this deep urging for more of a connection. For me, it was a pull deep within me for widening my circle of real women who I could show my flawed self to and they would say…”I see you, me too”. Women who weren’t all like me, but who loved God and wanted to be better, more real, and wanted to make a difference in each other’s lives and in the lives of those around us.

I think we all could probably claim many friends. There are our Facebook friends. Our church friends. Our work friends. Our neighborhood friends. Our school friends. But those are just the people we show our pretty pictures to. Our pretty selves. Our funny selves. We don’t really show them our true selves much do we? The selves that God sees. That God knows.

What stops us from having these connections? Have you revealed yourself to someone before and they betrayed your trust? Have you reached out and tried to make deeper connections with friends and they don’t respond? Have you sent lunch date texts to friends and they always have something else to do? Yep….that hurts. And it can cause us to just stop, pull away, and be alone.

But that isn’t God’s plan for us. He says “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

There is a lot going on in the lives of women around us right now. They are hurting, searching, fearful, worried, and lonely. And yet, we may not see all of that because like most of us, they are pretending. I am purposely working on reaching out, in being authentic and I encourage you to do that as well. We are meant to be be together. His Word says that two people are better than one because they can encourage each other to succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

I am working on a new project for women to connect. I’m excited about this project and I look forward to sharing it with you. Stay tuned for more information and be sure to follow along on my blog at www.agratefulgirl.com to be the first to hear about it.

Until then, be encouraged. You are not alone. Let’s all work on being more of our real selves and in making deeper connections with those around us. I believe that God wants us to take our insecurities, our loneliness, and make an effort to reach out. In doing this, we take our eyes off of our own loneliness and put our focus on God. We put our focus on serving Him as we serve our friends. It doesn’t mean that we won’t still have days of feeling lonely, defeated, less than….it just means that we will know that God is with us, and working through those we reach out to. And through us, as we reach out.

And more than anything, always know that God is with you. He is your Comforter. Your Friend. Your Counselor. Begin each day with a prayer of gratitude for all that you have. Pray for your friends and then give someone a text or call to say hi and encourage them. It could be the very thing that God uses that day to make a difference in your life or your friend’s.

I welcome you to reach out to me by messaging me on Facebook. I would love to connect!

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Patti Jensen is the writer and creator of the lifestyle blog “A Grateful Girl” which features encouragement, a focus on gratitude with some lifestyle tips and recipes thrown in for good measure! Patti is married to Jack and has two daughters, two great sons-in-law and a new granddaughter, Georgia Grace. You can find her posts on Instagram and Facebook and on her blog at http://www.agratefulgirl.com.

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