Tag: relationships

Alone in a Crowd

  
I have grown accustomed to my uniqueness. It has taken many years to actually embrace and see the beauty of my individuality. But every now and then the desire to simply want to fit in effortlessly with the majority still emerges from time to time. Like a switch I wish to trade in my difference for the sake of being common and socially acceptable…

Ever heard the term “I feel alone even in a room full of people”? I have actually spent most of my years with this sentiment. I was never the life of the party and often felt awkward trying to fit in when I am forced to. In school, at parties, during gatherings and even sometimes at church. I don’t stand out and people are not naturally drawn to me. I am often overlooked and not the initial choice of most in social settings. It’s like I am invisible. I sometimes wonder what people see when they look at me. Those who venture to get to know me typically find themselves pleasantly surprised, but it won’t happen the first time around….

This by no means bothers me as a mature adult as it once haunted me daily as a youth. I have found a sense of peace through God that there is nothing wrong with me for he has assured that I am wonderfully made. I do know this for sure and am confident in the skin I’m in. I have even discovered advantages to my personality type; it is full of creativity! I am an intense thinker and when I channel those moments that are out of my control of wanting to be excepted, I tap into the gifts that my Heavenly Father has graced upon me. That always works…

Never-the-less in this world in order to reach certain statuses an art of communicating, mingling and winning over people must be developed in order to advance in certain areas. I have learned and trained myself with much force and effort to deny my introverted comfort zone for the sake of getting ahead in education, business and other areas where people skills are essential. As awkward as it has been at times over the years I kind of find it funny when I consider some of those moments where my attempts have failed. My efforts of altering my personality may have come across as disengenuine, trying too hard or just down right weird! Yet no matter how many times I failed at it, I always tried again. For the natural loner, The art can be perfected once you get out of your own head! For the few who have dared to get to really know me will read this and find these words none applicable to my persona. That is only because they have given the person I really am a chance. I’m thankful for those few. 

Forcing yourself to be someone you are naturally not is terribly exhausting at times. I can put on the facade for a while then after that I must stop the act and retreat before the real me shows up. Talk about weird!! As I pen these words I am out of town on a company trip. Business meetings by day and group dinners by night with corporate lawyers, paralegals, compliance officers and big time executives. The conference room is crowded yet I feel alone but am supposedly “One of them”. That is only true in title but not theory. I don’t fit in! Trying to mingle during breaks feels forced, awkward and down right uncomfortable. I must try because my boss and boss’s boss are watching. I gauge in succeeding at holding small talk with a few in short spurts but that’s about it. My efforts will have to be good enough. It’s all I can do for I’m not holding any one person’s attention long enough for them to want or come back for more. 

Dinner time comes and the business facade continues. Instead of wondering why I can’t fit in which I have been doing for hours I look around at others and find I am not the only one. There are several struggling to engage in conversation they can hold continuously with others. In this uncomfortable reality I feel comfort that I am really not alone in the struggle.

Can you relate to this? I think every one in life has had a similar moment. For some it’s a way of existence. In your singled-outness the next time you find yourself in a crowd but feel alone, instead of getting down about why you don’t fit in and you can’t leave, mentally escape to that place that stirs your creativity. Take a note or capture a thought and hold it until you can get back to your comfort zone to expand on it. If that does not work, look around the room more closely. Everybody there IS NOT as comfortable as they may pretend to be. I guarantee you will find at least one other person either struggling to fit in or has given up all together by sitting alone playing on their cell phone.

Social acceptance is necessary but should not be burdensome. If you are a loner don’t be jealous of another who appears to be a people magnet. That’s their gift. Re-Channel that energy and find out what you have to offer. Endure the odd moments; for we all must. They will come and go. But most importantly know you are not as weird as you think you are. You’re really not! For it is written, You too are fearfully and Wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

Love Conditions

Conditional Love

I have lived on this earth long enough and have survived enough trials to confidently declare that the human heart needs what it needs. As a result, and like a wounded child acting out in a tantrum, the heart won’t stop bleeding and crying out until it is fulfilled.   Depending on the situation connected to the yearning, this silent fret may unfortunately be a life- long muted experience for many.

Human beings need to be loved.  I don’t declare this as if it is news but just restating its fact.  But there are different degrees of love that are extended to us that cannot be duplicated by any other source.  The love a child gives its mother is not the same as the love given by her husband.  Just as the love provided by a true friend cannot be substituted by that extended by a parent.  This can be validated when considering a man successful in his trade, wealthy in his accounts, healthy in his status, and plentiful in friends, family and business relationships. He appears to have it all.  But in the midnight hour and when no one is watching he must deal with that hollow area in his heart that desires a companion. Nothing else in his life will satisfy this longing so his heart will bleed.  Or what about that woman who has the most loving husband, the house, the cars, the career and the reputation that most would envy.  Yet her wound is barren and she can’t conceive.  Her longing for a child has been denied so her heart aches and bleeds in the very same way.  There is no substitute that will completely end this painful flow from the heart but the thing it desires; WITH CONDITIONS .  Time can and will be spent attempting to substitute the void but nothing ever truly satisfies.

It has been nearly three weeks since my biological father left this earth.  I am experiencing varying degrees of grief that have surprised me. I resent that I miss what I never had that only he could provide.  There was never any substitute for me.   During my second day out on bereavement leading up to his funeral, I spent several hours alone and I cried out to the Lord probably like I have never.  I asked one question repeatedly, “Why didn’t my father love me?” God responded to me in my dream after crying myself to sleep, “Chanel, he did, just not by your definition.” With the inquisitive mind that I have I had to analyze this answer.  How was I expecting my father to love me?  All I wanted was for him to be Present, to Provide and to Protect. That wasn’t too much to ask or was it? It should have been a natural fraternal instinct but it wasn’t for my father and I didn’t get that.

I put conditions on his love towards me.  As a result I could not see what love he was either able or willing to provide.  I wanted love on my own terms and what he was offering simply wasn’t good enough then and honestly it would not be now if he were still alive.  I am human and that’s Real Talk! Love by his definition did not stop the bleeding of my heart or fill that void only he as a father could.  I felt I deserved more and stopped talking to him for periods at a time as a result.  I have heard my father utter that he loved me many times throughout my life. But since his actions did not line up with my expectations I took his words as lip service and lies.  God showed me on that day that my father was not ever capable of loving me the way that I wanted him to. That’s just not how he was made up. This has been the sole source of discord in our relationship and it took his death for me to finally get clarity. I am forever grateful for the resolve.

Because we are human we have hopes of those significant relationships in our lives. When we get them we have expectations.  We feel that certain people should automatically treat us a in a guaranteed way.   These hopes come with outlined conditions and if we don’t get what we want we will react.

For those empty hearts that may never be filled with what we think we need or want, God is there unconditionally.  He never proposes prerequisites like we do and loves us all the time in spite of our ways.   Hallalujah! That is really good news!  Can you imagine if God loved us in the same fashion as we do others?  The human race would be lost for sure!

Although it is part of the human spirit to long for people to treat and love us in certain ways we need to consider reason and if we are putting unrealistic expectations on what we know is imperfect.  Then give reverence to the all mighty God who is the ultimate definition of Love.  He is really the only one qualified to satisfy those voids we try desperately to fill in our hearts.

Is there someone in your life that you are at odds with because they are not loving you as you wish they would?

If so what is your definition of love and is it reasonable?

Can you still find a way to respect and honor that person regardless?

In your answering of these questions, ask God to help you see these people through his eyes and thank him for loving you just as you are; totally  free of limits ; totally free of conditions.