Night threatened to creep into another morning, and I sat in the stillness of that moment, phone in hand. It wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made, but it’s something I often do, out of habit. My family was sound asleep all around me, but instead of using my time wisely (for something incredible like sleeping) I scrolled, and scrolled, until the statuses rolling by, turned into tears that stung my cheeks.
I have 586 friends, so why do I feel so alone?
My newsfeed showed me things that left me feeling the exact opposite of the connections my heart so desperately longs for:
Another group of friends, gathered joyously without me. Friends that live a mere 10 minutes away but haven’t so much as called in months. Maybe they don’t enjoy my company like they used to? Maybe I’m too different these days. Maybe I talk about myself too much, or complain too much to be fun anymore. Maybe that’s why they don’t respond to my texts or invitations. Maybe they have new best friends and the season of life that included our friendship has passed into something different?
Another vacation we can never afford. Those people are somewhere warm, happy, and healthy. They’re probably loaded. Maybe they peddle narcotics out of their basement and are wanted by the FBI. Maybe it’s not a vacation at all. Maybe they’re running from the law. Why are they smiling like that? Why aren’t they sitting on the ground, in an alley in DisneyLand, trying to hide their tears at the happiest place on earth? (Please tell me I’m not the only person to do that…the crying at DisneyLand part, not the narcotics in the basement part. My basement is full of scrapbook paper and naked barbies, I promise.)
Another postpartum body I’ll never have. My baby is 12 now (years not months) and I’ll never ever fit those clothes in the top of my closet again. Why won’t I throw them out or donate them? Denial. I’m only two or three good stomach bugs away from fitting those clothes again. That mom with the newborn baby and bodybuilder abs is probably allergic to donuts, poor thing. I shouldn’t envy her, I should feel bad for her. A day without donuts is no day at all.
There’s that career woman living the life I’ll never be bright enough to experience. Mrs. Whatsherface spends her time traveling all over the globe for work and play. She probably grew up privileged and could afford college, so that’s why she’s more important and better educated that me. Maybe she’s a genius and graduated magna-somethin-somethin and had people lined up waiting to throw scholarships at her like rose petals. She’s definitely not some trailer park kid like I was. I barely graduated high school, that’s why my luxury vacations are to Costco when the lines are short. Mrs. Whatsherface is so important she has an assistant, and an office with a view (when she’s not traveling), meanwhile I spend my days at desk in a corner facing the wall all day. Like a grown-up time out, with no time off for good behavior. If I’m lucky, my good days at work are the days where the dogs make it outside before they throw up…I don’t even have a dog.
There’s that house in my newsfeed that’s much larger and cleaner than the ones shown in the best magazines. Joanna Gaines, eat your heart out. That house is kept by a stay at home mom, that would make the Proverbs 31 woman envious. Look at those throw pillows she has! Not a booger on them!!! I don’t know how she does it! She’s up to wake the roosters every morning, while simultaneously cooking, cleaning, and entertaining everyone with a smile on her face. I race to the car every morning in a rush to show up on time to a job I struggle to enjoy, while simultaneously making everyone cry because we’re running late again. I don’t have time for gourmet meals. I’m too busy trying to find permission slips, and shoes that barely fit while dreaming of a sick day just because that means I could be home with my kids for once.
Then there’s another cute new outfit from the trendiest personal stylist. I can’t afford a stylist! I can barely afford Netflix!! Here I am struggling to fit into the remaining pair of mom jeans with a fully intact rear-end in them, while the rest of the world has a personal stylist shipping clothes straight to their front door. Why can’t I be allergic to donuts too? Maybe if I was allergic to donuts I could afford a stylist, and something other than mom jeans with holes in the rear. They have the cutest new outfits and I’m wearing a hoodie I got for free because the pocket hides my muffin top.
Then there’s that missionary, living out the great commission. They are literally out there saving the world every single day, while I can’t even make it to church two Sunday’s in a row.
Instead of feeling connected, I felt jealous, angry, bitter, and insecure. Who I am just isn’t quite enough.
I have 586 friends, why do I feel so alone?
I’m connected to people literally all over the world, with just the swipe of a finger, and yet I feel excluded, insignificant, and lonely.
My heart aches for the real life connections we keep missing, because our faces are buried in our social media accounts, grasping for any sense of worth we can find.
I miss the moments where people look you in the eyes when they talk to you. I’m tired of the friendships that are nothing more than statuses and likes that leave me empty.
I don’t want to keep scrolling passed the lives of 586 people I kind of know and mostly tolerate.
I want real friendships.
I want the kinds of friends that will sit with me, on crumb filled, laundry piled couch cushions and tell me about their hopes and dreams. I long for the friendships that are fulfilling enough, no one thinks to check their phone.
I want a friend that knows the highs and lows of my days, and shares theirs in return. Not because we’re keeping score of who’s doing what, but because we are genuinely interested in experiencing this life together in the flesh!
I don’t want to keep justifying the sadness, loneliness, and envy that boils up in the stillness of the night, with pretend donut allergies, and rumors of arrest warrants. I want to have real life connections with people, maybe while having real life donuts sometimes.
I want real life friendships more often than the online ones, and sometimes that makes me feel very lonely.
If I have 586 friends, why do I feel like who I am, in this place I am, this season of life I’m in, is not enough?
Why do I feel like I don’t matter to very many people?
Why do I feel insignificant, and forgotten?
Why do I feel left out and alone?
When did I become the one who wants to keep up with the world one rose colored status at a time?
When did I turn into someone who stays up late at night, crying over Facebook statuses and doubting my worth in this crazy little world?
How did I get to the place where I suddenly measure my self worth by the number of RSVP’s I have, or the number of likes on the pictures of my kids?
Why does that sting of jealousy boil up inside of me, and leave me feeling like who I am is not enough?
Because I keep looking to this world to fill my cup, and I’ve forgotten to whom I belong.
What about you, my friend? Are you lonely too, even with all those friends?
Maybe it’s time we log out more often and befriend people in real life.
Maybe it’s time to lift our eyes up from technology, and make eye contact with the world all around us.
Maybe we should call more, and text less. There’s so much more compassion and understanding to be shared, with something as simple as the sound of your voice.
Maybe we should open our homes and our arms. A good hug and a hearty meal are guaranteed to mend almost anything that ails the heart…especially loneliness.
We are an over connected world, that is incredibly lonely, because we’ve forgotten how to love in real life, and we’ve forgotten to whom we belong.
Ephesians 2:16-22The Message (MSG)
16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.
19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
In His Love,