Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Ugly Green Monster in No-Man's-Land

I have been really struggling with jealousy the past few days, and I don't like it. Yes, sometimes I'm a bit envious when a friend gets some new scrapbooking supplies or has a great wardrobe, but generally speaking, I'm not that prone to jealousy. Maybe that's why I really despise seeing it in myself now.

I am thirty years old and stuck in No-Man's-Land. I'm not married, I'm not dating and don't really have any "prospects" in the forseeable future. I don't have children of my own, but I pretty much have the experience of it, being a full-time nanny and seeing Elayna and Elysa grow up from chubby five-month-old babies, to flourishing six-year-old Grade One kids (and with three-year-old Mattias for the past year). I don't belong with the college kids, I don't belong with the married couples; sometimes I feel like I don't belong anywhere.

I have my moments when I wonder if I'll ever get married. Sometimes I see my Christian friends going to church with their husbands and families, and wonder, "Is that God's plan for my life someday?" Sometimes I hear my friends talk about their husbands and wonder if I'll ever experience that kind of intimacy (and no, I'm not just talking about sex, though that really sounds like fun too!) I have my moments of longing for that. But to be honest, I'm not feeling desperate yet. I see lots of other things too that make me thank God for my singleness :) Maybe in five or ten years, I'll feel like time is running out and worry about it, but for the most part I'm content in my singleness.

No, where jealousy is rearing its ugly head is in terms of female friendships. My best friend, who I've known since Grade 7 (and actually liked since Grade 9, though that's a whole other story!), is married and has a beautiful little girl... and lives all the way across the country in New Brunswick. We talk on the phone when busy schedules allow, occasionally play backgammon online, and visit for a few days during my summer vacation. Not nearly enough, but the best we can do for now. I correspond via email and occasional phone calls with a few dear friends from high school and college. I get together occasionally with women from church for "coffee" - water, Coke or juice for me - but I miss having close friends to watch movies, go for walks, talk, cry, complain, play cheesy games, just hang out and be myself with. I admit, I'm not really good at reaching out, because for so many years, I was used to being alone.

*****

I started writing this entry when I was severely PMS-ing and homesick. Yes, I feel this way sometimes, but not all the time. And I can see how God is lovingly providing for me as I need it - this past week I've discovered a backgammon buddy. It might seem a ridiculously small thing, but it is such a big blessing. It seems hard to make new friends... I'm not the most outgoing person, especially when I'm struggling with depression or just plain tiredness. Other people seem so easily connected - with their kids' schools and activities, church ministries and care groups, or just plain living close to each other. Because of my schedule, I can't go to most events because I'm working nights, while most people work days. And people are so busy with kids, husbands, church, hobbies, homes, exercise, work, family, old friends, trying to find a minute for themselves... who has time to cultivate a new friendship?

As I was contemplating these things, a passage our Bible study group just looked at came to mind: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)


I have always thought of this passage as applying to material things, but I think it applies to so much more. I am learning to be content when I am struggling with depression or blessedly carefree; I am learning to be content when friends and fun surround me or when they're far away and I miss them. I am learning to be content whether I ever get married or not. I am learning to be content, because my life, my joy, my all is found in Jesus and only Jesus. That's a hard thing to say, because quite honestly, I often would like to find my security in money or relationships, but I know in the end, it all comes down to Jesus. Even if I had all the money in the world and didn't have to worry about paying off my bills or student loans or could buy whatever books or DVDs or clothes I wanted, if I didn't have Jesus, it would be meaningless. Even if I was married to the greatest guy in the world and having fabulous sex every day (was that too frank?), if I didn't have Jesus, my life would suck. Even if I could see my family and old friends whenever I wanted and could easily make all the new friends I ever desired, without Jesus, it would be worthless. When I imagine having everything I lust for, I realize that all those things, good as they may be, won't satisfy me - only Jesus will.

Jesus, forgive me for always wanting more. Help me to learn this secret - I think I'm starting to - of being content no matter what my physical or emotional circumstances are. Help me to be grateful for everything I have - and I have so much, I know. Help me to always share my plenty with those who have less, indeed, even with those who have more, that I might set an example of Your kind of love and giving. Thank You Jesus, for being so gracious to me, who is so slow to "get it" even after all these years. Keep working on me and in me and through me, please! And thank You for all the dear friends I have, whether near or far, here on earth or there in heaven. Bless each one of them as they have blessed me. Hallelujah, Jesus! You are the best, and I am so grateful to be Yours!

1 comment:

Instructor Krista said...

Hey Janis. You asked the question, who has time to cultivate new friendships?

I do!

And I understand that you feel like you don't belong with any particular crowd, but, I encourage you to look at it as adding that speacial something to any crowd, whether they are married's, collegates, parents, whatever... you don't have to be on the same path, to fit in... I had to learn that when I became the first Christian in my family, and in my circle of friends... sometimes, it's just your heart, which is full of the love of Christ, that makes you fit in... in ANY circle! And hey, when you feel left out, I'm always up for a game of backgammon to cheer you up!!!!

Love ya!

Krista