Loneliness is probably my deepest fear. It's why I have friends over constantly, and it's why I can't stop doing things. I hate being at home alone. I love sharing life, and experiences with friends and family. This is pretty normal for many people. I don't know too many people who actually enjoy being alone.
But go a vein deeper, and normal aversion to loneliness becomes lonely-phobia (my own scientific term).
For so long I've wrapped my worth into my romantic relationships. Pre-God, and after even. I have a deep desire for a companion to share life with, on a deeper level than mere friendship. Again, this is a pretty common desire, but it used to be hugely consuming force in my life.
Failed relationships would destroy me inside, and I'd often feel that there wasn't anything worthwhile that would cause the significant other to stay with me longer than a year. Yet, I was terrified to be alone, so I'd play around the edges. Try to get romantically deep with someone, without committing too much. It was a game. A highly guarded game, in which I tried to protect myself, while trying to be open, and vulnerable.
It's a hard game to play.
I think that's where courage and faith come into play. The more time I spend exploring, challenging, and immersing myself within my faith, I learn that God actually cares for me. It's funny how you can hear that so often growing up, but never really process it. God cares. Two simple words. Two simple words that have brought me a great deal of peace in the last year or so...
As that realization slowly began to sink in, I started learning a little bit more about His nature; how He provides, He loves, and He's worthy of my trust. It would take quite a while to write down the tiny steps it took to reach these conclusions, but trust me, it's in the small stuff that you can often find life's biggest answers. At least, that's what I've found.
But then there's courage.
It's one thing to realize that someone is worthy of your trust, but another thing to actually give them your trust.
If you've ever been betrayed, or had your confidence broken you can probably relate to the difficulty, and the courage it takes to give your trust to another again. It's only in faith, and courage that I began to realize more about myself.
I started to see that my worth wasn't wrapped up in another's affections. I began to see that I have a lot of potential, and opportunity just waiting beyond my front door. Transformation began. It seems like it happened fast, because I'm condensing it into a simple blog post, but this took several years. Moving forward an inch, and slipping back several steps. It was an agonizing process. To let go of deep-seated insecurities that one has carried with them for nearly a decade was, at times, almost unbearable.
For the first time in my life, I'm learning to embrace singleness. I'm beginning to learn new things about myself, that I was never able to see while immersed in a relationship. I'm taking new risks, having new adventures. I feel a freedom that I've never known before.
It's absolutely fantastic!
This May, I'm incredibly blessed to be able to go on a road trip with a good friend of mine. We're going to take several American icons by storm, and have great one on one "guy time." I've never been so exhilarated for something unknown before.
I can do this without constantly thinking about home. I'm not attached. I don't have to put work into a relationship while on the road.
But this goes beyond a road trip. I'm actually finding a deep seated appreciation for being single, a contentment in the fact that I have so much to do before I ever consider settling do. That God can use me just as much now, as when I'm an old married dude, if not more so. I could work with Invisible Children, or the Peace Corps. I can travel the world with friends. I can have a bachelor pad. I have an open schedule, no obligations, and a whole lot of ambition to fuel the flames of adventure.
Singleness, I'm discovering, is really what you make of it. For much of my life I've viewed it as a curse. A lonely, dark place. Now I see it in a new light...
It's freedom. It's a gift. A gift not to be wasted...