Hi! My name is Mary, and I just love people. I really do.
I long to build relationships, make deep connections, and share God’s love with those I meet. All of this sounds pretty great, right?
The downside of it though, is that for much of my life I have found myself struggling with people-pleasing, and finding my value and worth in how others perceive and treat me.
With all of that, the separation and isolation of 2020 was intensely hard on me, as I’m sure you can appreciate.
As quarantine began, I missed my people desperately, and I did everything I could to stay in touch, to connect wherever possible and try to show all of them how much they meant to me.
I was confused, hurt, and honestly rather panicked to find that many of them did not reciprocate my efforts!
I know now, of course, that not everyone processes things the same way I do, and many people just needed to withdraw and “hole up” both physically and emotionally, to try to work through these way-too-big circumstances without me.
At the time, my mind and heart took this ‘seeming-rejection’ as realizing my biggest fear: “They don’t need me, they don’t even miss me. I don’t matter.”
As more and more time went on, those thoughts somehow rooted their way deep into my heart, so that even months after the strictest parts of quarantine were over, and I could see people again, I didn’t really want to.
I couldn’t bear the constant barrage of insecurity and fear that came up whenever I was with others!
My mind and heart were so tired from just living through everything that happened in 2020, that I had already grieved so many relationships as ‘lost’, and couldn’t bear the thought of “getting attached” to anyone again.
I realise how dark and sad this sounds, and of course it is, yet one thing I have learnt in my life as I’ve dealt with anxiety of all kinds, including depression, is that God uses even those dark and sad things for our good.
He used the grief and pain from my ‘not-so-accurate perceptions’ and met me with unbelievable love and kindness.
Rather than reassuring me of my worth and value to others, He reminded me of where my real worth lies: in Him, as His beloved child.
Through many months, He taught me the incredible joy, peace, and fulfillment of time spent with only Him: reading and studying His Word, writing out my desperate and confused prayers, listening to and singing sweet worship songs.
Thinking back, 2020 was kind of a “mixed bag” for me. On one hand, I really did face pain in the changes and perceived losses of my earthly relationships, and it definitely “added fuel to the fire” when it came to my social fears and insecurities.
On the other hand, finding deeper fellowship with Him and being drawn closer to Him was worth all of that loss and deep grief.
I have a sticker on my water bottle that a friend gave me for my birthday last year, which says “Jesus is worth everything you’re afraid of losing,” and that is exactly what He showed me.
Today, I can say I STILL really love people. I still want relationships and friends and genuine connections. I think this is a pretty intrinsic part of how God wired me!
The difference now is that God used 2020 to refine me by reminding me to root my self-worth in Him alone, in who He says I am and how He feels about me.
The most satisfying and delightful relationship I can have is the one with Him. I hope you all get to experience that gift too, it really is the very best!
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