Why…do we fall out of touch?
I always wonder why people fall out of touch with each other, with me. Is it an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of thing? My own relatives don’t keep in touch with me anymore except for the annual Christmas card, but growing up we spent time together just about every week until everybody grew up, all the cousins got older and moved away, and Grandpa and Grandma both passed on. I have friends I went to college with that I swore would be friends for life, but after many attempts to keep in touch through the years, I found that my letters and phone calls were not returned so promptly, or even at all after several years. I spent many years, blood, sweat and tears alongside people in ministry, in churches we helped plant or helped grow to a new level. In the moment, people cared, but now nobody really cares to keep in touch. I invested my time and commitment at a church we attended for 6 years. When I took a break from serving on the worship team to pursue what I felt God wanted me to do with my music, tried to keep people “in the know”, asked for prayer, gave away my CD to my “friends” and ministry peers. I never received a “thank you”, or “good job”, or “I’m praying for you”, or “how are things going” from any of the people I thought were “on my team”. So how do you explain that? Am I no longer useful to them and their weekly to do list?
I’ve been involved with groups of people that felt like family. I understand that time and distance can separate people. But when do you stop investing and caring for people? When they are no longer of use to you? Can no longer fill in the blanks of your unfinished planning agenda that week? Aren’t going to “do something for you”, or there’s simply nothing in it for you anymore? Since when do friends stop being friends or caring for each other if that person isn’t going to feed their hunger for elevation, success, or position?
I’ve been through some very dark times and have found out who really cares, and who is not willing to become uncomfortable, sometimes not knowing what to do or how to fix it, in order to be a real friend to me. Life is not all about standing on mountain tops with your arms wide open like a York Peppermint Patty commercial and denying the pain and trial you may be in at the moment. It’s human to feel despair. Giving it to God doesn’t mean denying it ,saying “nothing’s gonna steal my joy”. You can say that all you want, but sometimes you have to fight for your joy, and during those truly trying times, you don’t always feel like you have any. That doesn’t mean you aren’t giving it to God or that God is not there with you.
Psalm 51:12 says “restore unto me the joy of my salvation”….sometimes you lose it, or at least part of it and it doesn’t mean you are any less of a Christ follower, or have surrendered any less, or had less faith and belief in God to see you through it. Living in “true joy” means you will go through some pain to get it, to be able to have joy despite what you’re going through. It does not mean “happiness”. You can have joy and not be happy about life. Joy in your salvation is much deeper than happiness. And you have to fight for that.
There are so many misconceptions about Christian living that people have. So when things don’t work out like the fairy tale version we’ve been taught, we feel like God has abandoned us. Why do we fall out of touch with God in this way? Or do we really? Is He just giving us what we prayed for….to know Him more fully, deeply, and to increase in trust and faith. To get that, you will have to go through trial. There is no other way. To really know God intimately means you will go through some of the most unbearable pain and trial to really see Him face to face. You say you want to know God? Are you willing to do what it takes to do that? It won’t be easy. It will cost you. But on the other side of tragedy, you will find Him and the joy of your salvation.
When I come out of these “growing pains” stages, I feel so much better. But during the whole experience, I have gone as far as being so angry at God, wondering if He really exists, and if so, what the hell is He doing this for!!! But I come to realize that I’m not really angry at “Him” after all, I’m really angry with the remedy He’s used to get my attention and give me what I really need in order to know Him more fully in my life. I am really angry at the people and situations He’s placed me in that seem unfair and hurtful towards me, that have bruised my spirit and sometimes my ego, that have mistreated me, taken advantage of me, or even abandoned me.
We fall out of touch because we are afraid to really “feel”. We do anything we can to ease discomfort, pain, or inconvenience. There is no room for sacrifice in relationships much these days. People are not interested in exposing their hearts to the point of being vulnerable with another person. We are afraid of being hurt, used, abandoned, or inconvenienced for another person. We have become “what’s in it for me” kind of people. “I’ll help you as long as I feel like a hero. But if I can’t fix you, then you must not be doing something right.” True friends understand you. They understand what it means to be human, to have good days, and very very bad days, and still stand beside you for the long haul. Whether they can help you, or whether all they can do is just be there and mourn with you, letting you know that they will always love you no matter what, true friends don’t abandon you when things get ugly. But people get scared, and instead of understanding and accepting, they flee. Instead of realizing that they are weak for not sticking with you, they want to make you the “messed up scapegoat” for their excuse. Thankfully, God will never leave us or forsake us.
Every time new people come into my life, I wonder “will these people abandon me” like so many others have? Once they see the real me, will they run screaming for the hills? Being real is a risk. People don’t always want to see the real you. They don’t know what to do or how to deal with you! But I’ve become comfortable now with exposing myself and letting those who want to step up to the challenge of knowing me embrace me, or being ok with those who don’t have it in them to deal with the real me. Because I understand that they are just being human and I don’t hold it against them.
Stop hiding. Stop running away. Embrace one another. People need each other. Don’t be afraid to love someone. Even if you are not loved back. Don’t be afraid to expose the real you and be ok with rejection that might follow. But more importantly, we need to know what it really means to “walk with someone” and “bear one anothe’s burdens”. I still think all of us have a long way to go with that. I’m still working on it. I know that I am willing to accept some of the weirdest people out there that most people shun, because I know what it feels like to be shunned. I understand that everyone has this deep need down deep inside to be loved and accepted, but we fall into the trap of our own egos, our need to feel larger than someone else, and we miss the mark of truly loving people “through” their tragedies.
Just another pondering from the making of “Oh Sweet Tragedy”