Maybe it's just because I'm a girl, but I think about once a month or so I need to hear and know that I'm not alone. I need it when something terrible has happened, but also when life is just passing by uneventfully too! We teach our students that God designed us for relationships. We were created to be in a relationship, through Jesus, with God and also with others. I know this feels more natural for females, to be relational, but I think it is a deep desire within every human heart...to be in relationship with someone...to NOT be alone.
I have been very neglectful of my long distance friends lately, and I miss our talks and how you all challenge me...but a lot of my time has started being consumed by my local friends here. They each are going through some really trying times right now too, and I am thankful that they ask and let me be a part of their life as they go through these things. They have been there for me as I've dealt with my own wagon of crap over the last two years and I've come to realize that I am not as alone here as I thought I was! And I don't want them to be alone as they're hurting and struggling. Isn't that when Satan tempts us most? When we're alone?
The book of Hebrews starts out more like a sermon, but it's a letter written to Christ-following Jews during a time of persecution under Nero or Domitian. I've read that when Rome was burned, Nero blamed a new religious sect called Christians, as well as fed these Christ-followers to lions during gladiator fights and would light his garden parties with their burning carcasses. It sounds like a very difficult time to be a Christ-follower who lived it out the faith in an obvious way...it would have been much easier to just go through life fitting in and quietly struggling alone. However, here is the charge these Christ-followers were given (in Hebrews 10):
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
I am thoroughly and utterly convinced that we were not made to go through life alone. This past Wednesday Night we taught about having accountability in our lives, how this will help you to grow in every aspect of life, including spiritually. And I had at least 4 students talk to me afterward about how alone they felt. These were not some outsiders in the social scene, they each sat at lunch tables that were full every day. Yet when they were confronted with what friendships are supposed to be like, and that God wanted them to have relationships (or even ONE relationship!) that was deep and honest...they admitted that they didn't have that...but WANTED it badly. We have a huge bullying issue in our town/schools, but that isn't even what had these kids upset. It was just feeling so alone all the time, even when things were good they said. What would it be like if these kids could and would start living out this challenge in Hebrews 10? What would it be like if WE started living it out?
Awhile back, I blogged about looking for someone to mentor, a student to have a deeper relationship/friendship with...like I had with Erica and then later, Jenni. I don't know if you've been praying my reader friends, but I found her! Her name is Alyssa and she's in 8th grade. I've never started a mentor/friendship with someone this young before, but I think it's going to be amazing. It seems so natural (most of the time) for both of us and I love her! I could write a whole blog post about her awesomeness, and maybe sometime I will! But I think the relationship we have, and that I have with others, is something that EVERY growing Christ-follower needs. Not just a friendship where you like to go out to eat together, or laugh at with movies or discuss your irritating co-workers or students...Not just someone who gives you advice, because every fool off the street will do that...but someone who KNOWS you, and you them, and you hold up a mirror for each other, to remind you who it is you want to be...who it is God wants you to be. And when you start to fall short of that, or start to walk off that path, you can get in each other's face and say hard things. (In and because of love) That way you know, in good times and bad, you are not alone.