Aloneness ≠ Loneliness

I’m tired of being angry.

Ironic. I do believe there is a time for anger, but I’ve also seen how chronic anger is almost always more hurtful than the results that come in the midst of anger. I say this seeing, for some time now, I’ve derived most of my energy from my anger, from wishing things and people were different, from responding to circumstances, rather than preventing those circumstances from happening. People anger me, and as a result, I get angry at myself for being angry at them in the first place. I get angry when I don’t spend the time I need to on my work, then I settle for mediocrity, and then I get angry at myself even more.

I need to spend more time alone. For some reason, I’ve equated aloneness with loneliness. I’m surrounded by rich, vibrant community, how can I even consider myself to be lonely? I’ve used people to make myself feel better, to the point where I rely on other people to make me feel good about myself. I don’t want to only consume, to only think ‘I want to be like that’ or ‘I’m glad I’m not like that.’

My tendencies are cannibalistic; I devour that which I desire, while destroying that which I disgust. I long to know who I am, yet I only make those conclusions through the lenses of others. I long to see through the lenses of love and joy, to derive my inspiration and creativity from these, rather than seeking to change those around me while hating myself. My anger makes me jaded, both to myself and to humanity. It has skewed my perception of others, of my own sin, and God’s grace.

It’s easy to think so many different things will help me. That seeking relationships for the sake of affirmation will help me. That buying more things will help me. That filling my calendar more will help me. That more friends will help me. That more page views, retweets, and likes will help me.

And none of them do.

None of them make me more of a man. None of them change me for the better. None of them help me to know myself better except to see all the façades I create. How oppressing it is to live in a way I never fully see who I am and the man God has created me to be!

I long to be on the forefront of my sin, of my problems, of my anguish, rather than perpetually playing catch-up, continually responding rather than conducting. I long to seek the Lord first, to surrender myself to Him, rather than my current trend of seeking only when things get crazy or out of my hands. How will I ever know who I am or God’s power within me if I only respond to the circumstances of life?

I long to seek my true self out, to explore my identity in the Lord who fights for me. Being alone is tough. Being alone makes me vulnerable with God. Being alone makes me reliant on God to find myself.

“You have to move gradually from crying outward ⎯ crying out for people who can fulfill your needs ⎯ to crying inward to the place where you can let yourself be held and carried by God, who has become incarnate in the humanity of those who love you in the community. No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that beyond your anguish, there are human hands that wold you and show you God’s faithful love.” ⎯ Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love.


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