When I'm at work, my time belongs to work (after all they are paying me for my time!)...when I'm at home, my time belongs to my beloved children. I get to see my best friend once a day, at kid-swap time...and then if we are lucky, we have Saturdays and Sundays to spend together. Some days it just feels like too much to handle. I have to quiet my soul, remember who I am and Whose I am, and that at one time I really did have it all. That, even if only for those blessed two years, I did get to stay at home with my children and really give my life to making a home. I spent my free time reading or preparing for my mom's group/helping with the Bible study or making a meal for a friend who'd just had a baby. Even though I was folding laundry or preparing a meal, my mind was free to think about how I wanted to raise my children, or to pray for a friend in need. I just don't have that any more. My mind and my brain belongs to my work when I am there and rightly so. My brain feels tapped out!! This, I am sure, contributes to my lack of lasting friendships. After all, we are all dealing with stress and balancing our own lives; it stands to reason that my friends are going through similar situations and then just don't have the time or energy to wait out my tiny free moment when I can call them.
I type all this out to say...I in no way, shape, or form wish to make any of my friends feel bad or guilty or anything like that. I just know from experience that when I feel a certain way, it is my enemy's goal to make me feel as if I am in a situation all alone. That no one else can "truly" understand exactly what I am going through, and thus no friendship will ever be perfect, so I should never seek any friendships out or continue to try to reach out to those who may get frustrated with my ever-shrinking free time. Absolutely not!! That is what he wants me to think, to isolate me, and cause me to stop practicing giving thanks. I will not! Some things I say to myself on a regular basis (after all, I'm alone a lot at night so I can talk to myself and no one will know!): "Grow up! You're a grown up, not a child!!!" "doing the dishes before bed is really not a big deal." "So what if he/she hasn't called in two weeks? Call anyway, you have to be a friend to make a friend." "Who cares if the house is not perfect? Invite them over anyway." "Go to bed, it's already 8:30!" (that one gets on my nerves but I do have to yell at myself sometimes. When you actually do the math between 4:45 am and any time at night, it's shocking to realize I may really only get 6 hours of sleep!)
Oh, but I have GAINED so much these last few years. I have gained a knowledge that I am in love with the best Gift Giver in the world. He created me for such a time as this, and ordained my days before I was even born. He gave me the perfect gifts and talents to be the best at what I do at work, and to serve the people who work for me. He reminds me that even 5 minutes spent in prayer to Him while I brush my teeth is still fellowship, and oh, how much joy I get from realizing He wants all those small moments. They add up into the greatest love story ever told.
This has been a rambling post, but sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. When I expose who I am and what little I have to offer, all that remains is His light, and that, ultimately, is what changes hearts and people for God's glory.
"For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies...All of this is for your benefit. And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory."
If you feel any of what I described above, DON'T give in to the temptation of thinking that no one else is going through what you are going through!!!! None of our lives are exactly the same, but we have all struggled, and God has been gracious to see us through. Sometimes we have to remind each other of where He has brought us from, in order to encourage and uplift. Think about who you can reach out to today to encourage?