Feeling Lonely and Unwanted by Being an Isolated Warrior
I recently read the quote from Mother Teresa, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It’s the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted – of being deserted and alone.”
After lingering on this quote for several minutes I asked myself, “Did I ever feel uncared or unwanted, deserted and alone?” I carried this question around with me for days and revisited different times of my childhood and my teenage years when I tried to figure out who I was and the acceptance of my peers meant the world to me.
MYTH: THE KEY OF HAPPINESS IS INDEPENDENCE.
I grew up in a busy household with three sisters and one brother. I was always cared for and hardly ever alone. But I also grew up in a society that idolizes independence and I bought into the myth that says the key of happiness is independence. If I have relational independence, financial independence and if I don’t let anyone get too close to me and I am totally self sufficient, then I will be happy.
In November 1994 I moved to Florida to marry my charming and handsome Pete leaving my family, friends and the life that I was used to and comfortable with in Germany behind me. Getting married in itself is the start of a completly new journey and I topped it off with adding a new country, language and culture.
WE ARE NOT WIRED TO WALK ALONE THROUGH LIFE.
This was a time in my life when I experienced my need for community stronger than ever and that going through life, as an independent ninja warrior was really a lonely and scary place.
My transition from single life to newly married life was intense. What made this process so smooth and almost perfect is that we were integrated in our church community at Grace Family Church in Tampa before we exchanged our wedding vows.
GOD’S KEY TO HAPPINESS IS INTER-DEPENDENCE.
Everyone welcomed me and made me feel loved and accepted. I experienced home far away from home. I became part of a new big family that taught me that community is not optional.
Before I got married I felt I didn’t need people too much and was self-sufficient. My prideful thinking “everything you can do, I can do better” added an extra spin to this unhealthy attitude of my heart. Proverbs 28:26 would describe me as a fool, which I was. “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. “
DON’T WALK ALONE THROUGH A CRISIS.
When our daughter was born with all of her health problems and developmental challenges I entered a phase of feeling lonely, unwanted and deserted. We became so overwhelmed and busy trying to keep up with all of her therapies, doctor and hospital visits that it became very difficult to attend a church service or go to a playground with our two older boys. My old “lone ranger” instinct kicked in once again and the need for our children and us to be with others or having fellowship grew.
Looking back I am so grateful that our friends knew our needs better than we did in our survival mode. They showed up with meals or invited our boys for play dates. I learned so much by walking with other people. Iron sharpens iron. I am not wired to go through life alone. Romans 12:5 says, “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Life is a marathon and not a 50-yard dash. If we want to make it to the finish line we need to support each other. I know that occasionally I still struggle to allow others to be part of my life, to recognize my needs or to share them. The wonderful blessing is that God always places people in my life that reach out to me when I get too quiet. He knows my weakness because He made me. In my weakness He is strong and provides what I need. The Lord also uses my weakness to help others who struggle like me.
Are you a "lone ranger" or do you allow others to be part of your life?
Do you feel lonely, uncared or unwanted?
Do you have a safety net?