SOCIAL media has helped me to find a way into a lonely and dejected place.
As I look at the connections I don’t have, and even as I criticise myself for the people I’ve unfriended, because I never heard from them, I find myself lonely. Then there’s the friends I don’t have; those I’ve never been friends with; those I don’t know (but wish I did). I find myself lonely. I find myself ostracised by myself. And even though many of the people I look at have never rejected me, I find myself rejected by them, because I’m susceptible to rejection.
Now Facebook is not the problem. Hear me. Facebook is not the problem. I am. But that’s not even the end of the story. It alludes to a great beginning.
You see I’ve always been susceptible to rejection. Always. In meeting Jesus, and in meeting myself, and in accepting myself as a broken man in great need of God, I have come face to face with a woeful reality — I am an awfully insecure man without him; but I’m unashamedly broken and confidently fallible in him. See the discrete difference?
I hid from my susceptibility to rejection for years. It seemed to have no cost, but it costed me dearly. It costed me a marriage, but worse. It costed me the failure of not being able to fully love a wife who needed my love. I was not the father I could have been. I had to realise that the thing I feared most stood as the doorway into salvation; the very thing I feared was to become God’s magnum opus in me.
My brokenness is the reason I’m whole. And all it cost me to be blessed was to admit the truth: I need Jesus, because without him truth is too raw. Actually, because I know Jesus, nothing about me is that bad that I can’t look it square in the face, and without judgment. Jesus despatches fear! Jesus equips us to live our reality. Nothing else can.
Yet I still endure life in the body and as my flesh rots slowly in ageing I’m reminded that, even though I’m free in Christ, I still live with loneliness of envying relationships I don’t have because of my susceptibility to rejection. And yet, again, I can write these words as if ‘who cares who knows how empty a person I am’! I’m unafraid of the truth. That’s Jesus’ power; evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Rejection — the perception of being or having been rejected — causes loneliness. In loneliness there’s the projection of isolation. Men are so easily isolated. Women are too, but I’ve learned that more women than men are prepared to be vulnerable. I have a passion deep within me to share what freedom there is in casting the anchor of pretension from the ship Intrepid without the chain attached. Men, you are all beautiful.
It’s because of me that I feel alone so much. But it’s because of Jesus that I’m an instant escapee. I’m only lonely for as long as it takes me to be aware of what’s missing: Him.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.