I can't recall many times in my life when I haven't felt very alone and very misunderstood. That feeling of being alone in a crowded room? That's my life. Every day.
And I'm not one who enjoys the feeling of loneliness (not that anyone really does). Being alone, I can handle. Feeling lonely? Not so much.
LUCKILY, Jesus has taught me a few things about that "loneliness" feeling. Spoiler alert: It's not actually loneliness. It's called being set apart.
He didn't call me to be like the rest of the world. He called me to lead others to Him and to reach the broken, but in order for that to happen I must be DIFFERENT from the world around me. Romans 12:2 very specifically addresses it, "Do not conform the the pattern of this world, but he transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will." And sometimes that doesn't exactly feel good. Because in most cases (everyone has their battles) you have to go through a process in order to come to a place where you can be around certain things without taking part in them. God has to literally SET you APART from what is normal and familiar to you for a while in order for you to be set apart from it. For me, one of those things just so happens to be alcohol. I would be lying if I told you that it was easy for me to stop drinking. Because it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. God tried time and time again to get me alone for a (pretty lengthy) period of time so that He could RESET my mind and my heart and PREPARE me with strength so that I could still go back out into the world and minister to my friends and anyone else who needed me without being sucked back into the lifestyle that I used to live. But I broke that process several times and went right back to it because I absolutely could not stand being alone and feeling left out of the fun -- I couldn't see the bigger picture of what He was doing for me. So that's where I am right now. Because I finally see it. And again, it's not exactly been fun. Hear me when I say that the enemy works SO hard when he knows you're trying to give something up that will allow you to walk in the fullness of your destiny. There are times when I have questioned if surrendering my life to Jesus is really worth all of this. Very rarely do I ever see my friends anymore, and of course I miss them. But I know that God has more for me than the things I used to think I'd never go without. I know He will use me to bring others out of what He has brought me out of. I know how good this process is for me even though it doesn't always feel so good.
So right now, I don't necessarily have people I talk to about my petty daily struggles or even the big stuff. I don't go out of the house much anymore unless it's to see my mom or go to church. I don't do a lot of things the world would consider "fun." But that's okay. Because what I do do is spend a whole lot of time at home, in my quiet place with God. I was seeking council from all the wrong people in all of the wrong places and God pulled me away so that He could teach me that He is my counselor. I was calling on the world and the things/people it offered me to fix my brokenness and He showed me that He is the only one who can. Sometimes when we don't recognize it ourselves, He strips everything else away because when you have nothing and no one else, you know exactly who to turn to. This is the time that He has spoken more to me than I've been able to hear my whole life. I've learned so much about Him and we've gone so much deeper into the intimacy that He desires with me. So even when it does feel a bit lonely at times, I am thankful because I know that I am not truly alone, I am only set apart.
When God calls you to things bigger and better than you could ever imagine, you are going to lose things and people you care very deeply about during that journey. Not everyone you love is going to make the cut to go where you're going and not everyone is going to understand why you're leaving where you are. In fact, most people won't. And I'll be the first to tell you: It hurts. Boy, does it hurt. BUT don't let that tempt you to turn around. Because I'll also be the first to tell you that where you're going is worth so much more than what you lose along the way. You will never reach the top of a mountain if you keep going back down to pick up what you've dropped along the way.