I realized another character quality I love about Jesus. It happened when I teared up in response to a picture I saw on social media. Writing is a lonely venture. I don’t know if my words are blessing anyone enough to justify the amount of energy I expend sharing them, but I do know that if one person feels less alone because of what I’ve written, it’s worth it.
I know this because whenever I’ve hit a bottom spell in my day, week, or month, I appreciate—more than a thousand sentences could say—when someone shares something from their heart that makes my struggle feel validated, that makes me feel less alone.
Jesus promised never to abandon us or leave us. He said He would be with us forever. I’ve always wanted a forever friend. As a child and teenager, I went through a lot of friends. A. Lot. It wasn’t until I was born again that I made a couple of forever friends. One has gone to heaven, and the other one lives in another town and is busier than your average person is. But I’m a low maintenance friend because I love lots of time alone.
The only people I care to see and speak to every single day are Jesus, my husband, my children, and my grandchild. If you’re not in this group, I can get easily overwhelmed by your presence. And when I’m overwhelmed, I become overwhelming as my mouth overflows with a flood of anxiety-induced chatter. And then later, when I’m alone with my thoughts, they’re filled with chastising words at myself for being verbose and anxious.
Recently, when I saw a picture of happy people hanging out together, a familiar sadness smothered my heart with longing. I longed to feel included in a small circle of believers who are genuinely glad to see me, and I genuinely glad to see them. I don’t long for small talk. I long for a blend of silent sharing of just being together and feeling accepted as-is and mutual sharing of our personal relationship with Christ.
I long for knowing I’m not being evaluated, competed with, or giggled at. I long for a fellowship that doesn’t attempt to squeeze me into a mold that’s not meant for me. I long for unconditional love. A love that doesn’t shame me for being quirky. A love that doesn’t coerce me into conformity.
I long to be heard without the hearer raising their eyebrows and smiling knowingly because he or she thinks I’m sweet, cute, or unusual. I want to be free to be me. I want to be able to visit others without wearing a mask of pretending I’m like one of them.
There are a lot of us in the world who don’t fit into your average mold. We’re creative introverts and extroverts whose brains don’t have the same pattern of wiring that mainstream socialites do. But we often hide away more than we want to because we can’t bear the puzzled stares we get when we do engage with the neurotypical world.
This is what I love about Jesus. He engaged with the outcasts, the condemned, and the quirky. He wasn’t intimidated or repulsed by those who were different (Do you recall the short guy who climbed up in a tree?) In fact, Jesus was as different as you can get too.
What I love about Jesus is He makes me feel like I’m the only one in the room when I’m talking with Him. He doesn’t glance at the closest sundial and wonder how quickly He can get away from me. He listens closely, loves deeply, and replies sincerely.
He is a forever friend for everyone who seeks and knocks on His door because the welcome mat under it isn’t just words, it’s been bought with His own blood.
Jesus is in this for good and for keeps. And I need to offer this same open-door policy when I engage with those who are different than me too. And that’s where a mask comes in handy, because sometimes a knock comes at my door when I preferred to be alone.
Do you long for sincere fellowship?