Prone to Wander

Putting Myself Out There

I have 50 MySpace friends and 168 Facebook friends. I’m not telling you this so that you’ll think I’m cool, but it does relate to something that I have been thinking about lately, and something that has been brought to my attention several times recently, most recently this weekend during a sermon by Ricky Jones at Redeemer Presbyterian in Tulsa.

Am I really connecting with the people I know on a “real” level? Are some of my “friends” really friends? It’s apparent that lots of people nowadays (aided by the internet) exist primarily with superficial relationships with other people. How many of my MySpace and Facebook friends know me well enough to know what I am thinking, or how I might react to things? How many of them would care enough to call me or meet me for coffee to talk if I was going through a tough time? And vice-versa?

These questions cause me to ask myself why I don’t try to push the superficial relationships that I have into something more. Deep down, I think most of us are afraid that other people might reject us or judge us if we are truly real with them. Sure, we SAY we don’t care, but judging by our actions, we are afraid to put ourselves out there. And rejection certainly might happen… but why should we fear it so much? It probably means we have an unhealthy fear of people.

Recently I read the book “When People Are Big and God is Small” by Edward Welch. One of the things it talks about (and I’ve had to learn this over and over again) is that we should need people less, and love them more. We desperately need God, but we do not need people to give approval to us in order to be fulfilled. We unfortunately turn that upside-down a lot.

I don’t think that being real in relationships means that you have to constantly bear your soul, or constantly talk about deep and serious things. But it does mean that we can take it beyond the superficial “hi” and “bye” to ask questions that truly get to the heart of the matter. The truth is, there are a lot of people out there who don’t feel that anyone really knows them. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to say that you know someone else, or that they know you. But that being said, even our closest companions will never be able to know us completely. Only God knows the width and depth of who we are.

When I lived in London for a semester during college, my roomate Renee and I went through bouts of gloominess due to the rainy weather and we listened to this beautiful, haunting song by Don Chaffer a lot. It’s still one of my favorites:

The Worst is My Being Alone

“Aaron, have you ever had a burning in your chest
That made you just want to be free?”
It was a warm afternoon when she asked him this,
As they sat on the shore of the sea

Well, Aaron just tugged at his hair and he took
A very long time to reply
And by the time that he spoke, she’d forgotten she asked
And was lost in the clouds of the sky

He said, “Kelly, I don’t think
I’ve ever wanted as much
To be free as I’ve longed to be known.
And of the things that I hate
As I look at my life,
The worst is my being alone.”

The rest of his words he kept from her ears
Cause he thought she might not understand
And she didn’t reply. She couldn’t figure out how,
Cause the fire in her heart had been fanned

Oh, of all the things known that he could’ve spoken that day,
He chose one from deep down inside
Without intending her to, he caused her to confess
Her false confidence and how she had lied

She said, “Aaron, I don’t think
I’ve ever wanted as much
To be free as I’ve longed to be known.
And of the things that I hate
As I look at my life,
The worst is my being alone.”

And as they headed home, neither of them could speak a word
And they held their own spirits to blame
But at the pulse of the waves, they both turned around
Surely someone was calling their name
Someone was calling their name

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2 comments

  1. wow… first of all, the words to that song just gave me chills.

    second… i completely agree with everything you’ve said here. sometimes it makes me ache that i have so many “friends” and yet i feel like no one really knows me. and i’ll admit, the heartache i went through so recently was largely due to the fact that i truly felt he knew me.

    it’s devastating to go through life without feeling as though anyone knows you… but it’s almost unbearable when someone finally does… and they turn away.

    but i guess, really, that can never be. because, as you say, only the Lord REALLY knows us… and He will never reject us.

    ahh… the beauty of the Gospel.

  2. Good comments, Martha. I certainly agree that rejection is really hard… I hope I didn’t make it sound as if it were easy. But in a way, our intense fear of it shows us that we may be incorrectly tying our self-worth to approval from others.

    Can I really love people for who they are, regardless of what they think of or feel about me? Or do I obsess about having their approval or love in return?

    It’s tough, I know! 🙂

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