What used to be overwhelming is now downright impossible. It’s impossible for me to maintain the 3 to 5 evening commitments that I used to have, spend time with my family, see my boyfriend, and keep the type of company with God that I want to.
I struggled with balancing it all before I was out-of-town two weekends a month. And now?
My solution has been to try to pack it all in during the week. Lately, withdrawing has looked more and more appealing.
Because people have needs. People have a need for socialization, and maybe there just aren’t enough of us out there on the fringe making connections. Maybe I’m some folks’ only social event in a two-week period. Maybe there aren’t enough listeners. Maybe there are two or three missed calls from friends because they need prayer.
And what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t meet everyone’s needs? What would it say about Christ and my faith if I disappoint people? How would people feel if I pull back?
It’s a lot of responsibility to feel like peoples’ only connection to social contact.
Sometimes, I unintentionally disappoint people. Sometimes, I’m not able to be the kind of friend I want to be to everyone all at the same time. Or the kind of daughter. Or granddaughter. Sometimes, I may be peoples’ reason for feeling lonely.
How do I reconcile the reality of my time with the reality of someone else’s pain?
Because, you know, I’ve been the one forgotten in the tough times. I’ve been the one who has felt like I’ve fallen off the face of the planet with only two people for social contact. I’ve been the one without friends at college. I’ve been the one who has had to start over the third year of OT school with no one to hug for 6 months.
Here’s what I’m figuring out these days:
- Prioritize: Jesus first, family second, friends third
- Purpose: Purpose to discern which less well-connected friends to reach out to when. Instead of withdrawing, purpose who to draw out and do the best I can with the time I have
- Pray: Pray for the ones I can’t make as great of contact with
- Remember: I’m judged by the just judge, not other peoples’ opinions. Their judgement when I’m doing the best I can does not make me a bad Christian. I am not big enough or strong enough to separate myself…or anyone else…from the love of Christ. Christ is the only one who can meet all their needs. Sometimes He might meet some of their needs through me…sometimes not. He is still faithful and still in control of their lives.
I reached out to someone whom I hadn’t heard from in a while and it was so timely that I know that it was God. I’m glad. It reinforced that the right decision is not to withdraw but to continue to live in the tension.