“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17a).
Do you remember being in high school and you had a large group of “best” friends that included about 5-6 girls? Each person in your circle knew everything about each other. You couldn’t imagine going a day without speaking to all of them and if you were mad at each other, you could solve the problem by simply writing a cute note expressing your apologies and your promise to “never be mad again”.
The days when you couldn’t wait to get to school to see your bestie and discuss all the things that happened between 2:30pm the day before and 7:00am the next morning (assuming you didn’t spend the entire night on the telephone with them). You made promises to be BFFs forever, to witness each other’s union with your prince charming, and to help pick baby names. The thoughts and dreams you had for your long lasting friendships were endless.
If only those things lasted into adulthood.
The struggle I experienced with my friendships began around the time my husband and I decided to give our lives back to Christ. As we started making changes to our lifestyle, my relationships with my friends slowly started to fade. I can remember mourning the loss of friendships while I was building my relationship with Christ. I would try holding on to friends that I knew would not help me in my spiritual walk just for the sake of companionship. I finally gave up trying to fix the problem myself and I prayed that God would direct me on what I should do.
My answer came after countless prayers and intentionally seeking an answer from the Lord. Honestly, God had been telling me what I needed to do for almost a year before I finally listened. At that time, I tried rationalizing my actions by saying “I could somehow help these people find Jesus” but I could no longer ignore what God had asked me to do.
God was calling me to a season of solitude to spend more time with Him. I was being called to distance myself from my friends so that I could focus on God and hear from him. “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…Let him sit alone in silence for the Lord has laid it on him” (Lamentations 3:26, 28). This time in solitude with God has been a difficult place for me to be in. While I am happy knowing that God is preparing me for what He has purposed; I have to say this has been a very lonely process. As months passed on, I started to understand why God had placed me in this position. Here are three lessons I’ve learned while spending time alone with God:
- Being alone does not mean you’re rejected: “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you”(Isaiah 41:9). There were plenty of times during this season where I felt unwanted by my friends. I felt sad and neglected when I would go months without seeing or speaking to anyone. I soon realized that God needed my full attention. I needed my focus to be on Him and what He was doing in my life and anything or anybody outside of Him and my family would be a distraction.
- Being alone allows you to hear God’s voice: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”(Jeremiah 29:13). Can I share something about myself with you? I would have never thought in a million years that I would be called to write about Jesus. When I was younger, I could remember writing stories that I made up from my imagination or writing in my diary as a teenager. But to write about Christ? Me? Absolutely not! This is the beauty of God. He calls on those who may not seem qualified to fulfill His will. Had I not been in the position to intentionally hear from God, I would’ve missed His assignment He had for me.
- God will restore what was lost: “God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you.” (Deuteronomy 30:3 MSG). While I still feel as though I am still in my season of being set apart, I trust and believe that God will restore the relationships that I have lost. I have come to accept that some people are only in your life for a reason, season, or a lifetime, and some friendships I may never get back. But I know that when He takes something out of your life it is to make room for something better.
Although it is hard to go through uncomfortable situations, like being isolated from the people you care about, I encourage you to persevere through God’s tests. It may not feel good now, but know that God has a greater purpose for all things.