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I have two companions in life. Loneliness and Jesus.
Both are with me, everyday. Both fight for my attention, everyday. One leads me closer to the other. One outshines the other.
And I honestly don't know who I would be without each of them.
I don't think anyone ever wants to admit they are a lonely person. At least not to other people. It's never something I just come out and say when I meet people. "Hello, my name is Jess and I'm lonely." I play that out in my head and see everyone shaking my hand as they reply with a long, "Oookayyy." Completely unsure about what the heck just happened and if they want to even continue a conversation with me. Simply, it would throw people for a loop if I introduced myself that way.
I remember my counselor saying to me one day, "That seems lonely." It was the first time I heard someone else say out loud, what I had been feeling and experiencing. I couldn't even say the words myself, she had to say them for me. Sometimes we need help saying things.
Loneliness is the constant low hum of my life, like singleness, that seeks to make itself known in my life each day. But when I surrender over that low hum? There's Another that seeks to make Himself more known in my life.
Surrender involves opened hands, not fists clenched around things I think I want or that I think might fulfill me. Surrender means to give up or hand over. I'm emptying my hands, trusting Jesus with what I'm giving up, and standing in front of Him with now empty hands. I could stop there and think how maybe that feels lonely in itself. To have nothing in my hands, to still be without something. Because something is better than nothing right?
But when standing in front of Jesus, with open hands? The possibilities are endless to what He could now fill them with.
But, I've learned something. When I open my hands in surrender and find them empty, I must turn them back over towards the Father in a posture of praise. When I find my gaze fixed on Jesus, when I find myself in His presence, I not only find myself far from loneliness, but completely filled with the one thing needed: Him.
Psalm 27:4 says, "One thing I have asked of the Lord; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple."
To gaze on the beauty of the Lord. I think of Mary, sitting at Jesus' feet when I read this. As Martha scrambled around the house, Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the good portion, the one thing needed. To be in His presence. Mary looked for Jesus and she found Him.
Something else I think about when it comes to surrender. If I'm no longer holding it, that means someone else is. Jesus holds my loneliness for me.
Holding it for me is great, but why doesn't He crush it? Why doesn't He get rid of it completely? Why must this be something I carry? Well, that happens at the end of my story, and we aren't there yet. So He keeps holding it for me. And honestly, loneliness is what is at the center of my surrender. It's the one thing that keeps me coming back to Him.
If I've surrendered it once, why would I choose to take it back from Him? We all may have different reasons, but we do...we see Him holding it, but get afraid, so we grab it back, thinking that we must hold it to have control. To have stability. To have something, rather than nothing. Empty hands scare us. Complete surrender scares us.
Another definition of surrender? To abandon oneself entirely.
It could be easy for me to choose loneliness as my only companion. To surrender, abandon myself entirely to loneliness. I could shut myself off from the world, keep the blinds close, and watch the entire catalogue of Netflix while I play games on my phone. I could. And it would keep my hands busy. But they would also be too busy to stop and be filled with something much more.
So, what's the other choice? What could I simply choose to do instead? Abandon myself entirely to Jesus. And it starts with open hands.
Jesus said if we seek Him, we would find Him. There isn't just one roadmap of life that all of us must follow that will lead us to finding Him. Perfect grades, the right job, getting married, making money, building a house. All those things might be on our map, but they aren't what must be done to seek the Lord.
The good portion is found by sitting at His feet. And if we are sitting at His feet, surely we won't miss Him. But if we think we have, when we go to shift our weight or get up from our spot on the floor, may our hands hold us up and our gaze turn upwards. To see the One we were seeking. To know and realize He was there, waiting for our eyes to lock with His. Then may our hands move from the floor to our sides, as we lift them up and open to Him. In surrender and in praise. And may our desire not be in grabbing back what we surrendered, but in gazing at His beautiful face. Until everything else disappears, until all else fades, until only one companion remains.
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