One of the greatest things I ever learned was how to do things alone. Fellowship is amazing, and I’m so grateful for the friends and family I have that make up my wonderful support system and I absolutely love spending time with them, so don’t get me wrong – it’s just the ability to do things alone that I think was great to learn.
For instance, I can go out to dinner by myself. No shame involved. I’ll usually take along a nice book or something (or not) and just sit by myself. Or being alone at work; you know, my job does not require a lot of human interaction. I get it here and there, but I could easily sit at my desk all day without talking to anyone. Or going to bed without saying “Good night” to anyone; I learned how to get comfortable with that, too (just in time to find a boyfriend actually haha. God is funny).
Or the biggest one: to have a relationship with God… alone.
I was “raised” Catholic, and I say that loosely because I wasn’t exactly a practicing Catholic by any means, and I stopped attending shortly after I made my First Communion. So everything I was taught in PSR and in church was that my relationship with God went through my Priest or Sister, and confession always bothered me. Fortunately, none of it really stuck and I was able to find my way later in life.
After I was saved, much of what I learned about God was in the hands of a man – and I share the blame equally for that misguided relationship. I didn’t even realize what I was doing, and I don’t necessarily think he did either, but I was fumbling around learning to walk again, and I guess he couldn’t help but instruct me. By the end of that relationship, though, my learning almost hinged on his guidance and his guidance alone.
It wasn’t until about July or August of last year that I began to see that my relationship with Christ was better on my own. My ex-boyfriend and I had gotten into an argument and he needed to take a few days off (don’t ask, I don’t get it either haha). So we did not talk for about 5 days or so; in that time, however, God did NOT STOP talking. I learned so much about relationships and men and women and myself in those few days than in almost the whole year we’d been together – well, let me rephrase that. Things I already knew or had read or been told were starting to click. Had I not been so blinded at the time, things might have turned out differently when he and I finally started talking again, but I was bound and determined I would use this information to fix this relationship.
So I took all God had shown me and I attempted to repair my damaged relationship, but wouldn’t you know – no more than three days or so after my boyfriend and I were back on speaking terms, I couldn’t hear God anymore. This also leads up to me really losing myself; because when God stopped, I didn’t tell my boyfriend to quiet down so I could hear Him again. I let my boyfriend keep talking… and keep talking… and keep talking… and when we split up a month later, I was just a time-bomb waiting to go off from having bottled everything up and buried all of my emotions because that’s what he told me to do.
All along, God tried to show me that emotions are a part of us being created in His image, because He, too is emotional, He’s just not controlled by them. And He was trying to show me where everything was going awry, but I couldn’t hear Him because my ears were tuned to a different station. Everything I was learning about who I was supposed to be and God’s will for MY life was really what God had told my boyfriend to be and willed for his life – NOT MINE. I was defined by what he said I was, not what God said I was.
And like every other idol, my idol fell short and it all crashed and burned. Thankfully, my foundation was rooted in God enough for me to turn there, rather than another idol, and God really blew me away in those few months I spent single.
In my solitude, I found out who loves me the most in my family and friends, and also learned that God loves me beyond the ability of any one of them; and I found so much joy and comfort there. I had my own conversations with God and it allowed God to reveal things to me He’d been trying to show me for months! He taught me who I am and was created to be, and in recent months, He’s been revealing step after step of the path He created me to take. AND IT AMAZES ME CONTINUALLY.
Our relationships with God are not able to survive if lived through another person. God’s revelations to others can, but won’t always, be applicable to our lives in that moment, and not everyone who is willing to help you has been delivered to do so. If we follow others before we learn to follow the Lord, our paths get jagged and our directions get misguided.
If there’s anything I can advise you of it’s this: have good, Godly friends and lots of relationships (friendships or otherwise) with good, Godly people; but always keep your relationship with God YOUR relationship with GOD. Pray with others, but still pray alone. Fellowship with others, but also fellowship with God. Seek the counsel of Godly mentors, but don’t be afraid to ask God for confirmation. Hear the constructive criticism or praise of people you trust, but always fact check it against the Word of God.
Above all, His relationship with you is the most important and most solid, and it is the only one that will never fail. He desires a personal, one-on-one, close, and direct relationship with you, so don’t push Him farther away by adding a middle-man.
If you add another person, the peace God sends stops there first. The joy He sends stops there first. The strength He sends stops there first. Without that in the way, all of those gifts come straight to you. I promise you; learning how to have that relationship with Him will be the greatest decision you ever make.