Freedom Friday – On Feeling Lonely

I knew it would come to this.  No one had to tell me that I would feel this way.  I anticipated it long before our move . . . the missing of and longing for the familiar.

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I also knew that when we first got here, to beautiful South Carolina, this new home far away from home, I would be excited to be here.  I still am.

I expected that I would find joy in setting up our new home and figuring out what piece of furniture would go here . . . or what piece of artwork would go there.  I still do.

I also anticipated that when Mr. OTN started working his new job . . . a very demanding job . . . a twelve PLUS hours per day job . . .

I would feel a little lonely . . .

And every once in awhile it sneaks up on me, that overwhelming feeling of sorrow over all that I’ve left behind.

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FREEDOM FRIDAY.  That is the name of a new devotional, emotional, spiritual and maybe sometimes even hysterical series that I’ll be adding to my blog.  It may not be every Friday and it may not be for everyone who follows Old Things New.  I’ll still be posting “how to’s” as I create beauty out of old things and plug away at decorating our new home.  The truth is that Old Things New has never been just about finding old things and making them pretty.  At the core of my desire to create beauty out of brokenness is my own story of a life made new.  That is the why of Freedom Friday.

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So back to this roller coaster of emotions I’ve been experiencing, having recently moved across the country from Washington State, where I’ve lived my entire life (a LONG time)!

In the month we’ve been here it has been fun shopping, exploring, decorating and setting up my new home.  My head is swimming with ideas . . . so many that I’m good for posts for a long time to come.

What has been hard is when I find myself alone for hours on end.  I miss my friends.  Oh yes, I still talk to some of them on the phone, or text or Facebook message with them and that is good.  It is the knowing that I won’t see them at church on Saturday night or that we don’t have a shopping date on the calendar to look forward to . . . where we will laugh, and share the hard things, and laugh, and go to  pretty stores, and laugh, and eat chocolate and then laugh a little more before going back to our “real” lives (can you tell that I love to laugh?  LOVE!).  It is the knowing that a coffee date is no longer just a phone call away.

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I also miss the comfort of familiar surroundings.  MY grocery store, the one I knew backwards and forwards, my favorite places to have coffee, the antique stores and junk stores that I frequented, Mount Rainier peeking through the clouds just to remind me that it was really there, the shy Blue Heron who would make an occasional appearance on my dock and remind me that I too could soar, my church . . . OH how I miss my church.

Am I making you sad?  I don’t mean to.  My hope for this post is that it will speak to one or two others who sometimes feel alone and lonely.

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We’ve made this move for a reason.  We have no doubt about that.  We know that God’s purposes are higher than just a change of job and scenery.  After directing Freedom Session for four years back in Olympia we are hopeful that God will bring us to a place where we can do that again . . . if that is His plan for us.  Until then, we feel like we are supposed to be having a time of rest and refreshing.  Mr. OTN likens our rest to being in a cocoon . . . safe, nourished, and comfortable.  So we’ve been visiting churches . . . trying to find a “home” but it is really hard to feel at home where no one knows you.  Can you imagine going home for Thanksgiving and walking into a dining room filled with strangers?  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been reflecting on the importance of knowing and being known.

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In my “aloneness” on Sunday mornings as I sit in  yet another new church (and yes, you CAN feel alone even in the midst of hundreds . . . even thousands . . . of other church goers) I’ve found myself drifting back into some of my old ways of thinking, remembering old lies that said things like, “You’re not enough.  You’re flawed.  You have a past.  You aren’t perfect. You are not one of the ‘beautiful’ Christians.”  Though I was once held in bondage by these lies I quickly recognize that I am being attacked once again in the place where I am most vulnerable.  But there ARE an awful lot of beautiful Christians in SC!

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In Freedom Session we teach a section on how to hear God speak personally to you through the reading of His Word, the Bible.  We teach people to read a passage, mark the areas that stand out to them and then ask God what He wants to say (and yes, it IS okay to ask God to speak to you!).  In my daily quiet time, as I’ve been reflecting  and reading the Bible, it feels like God has been telling me that He wants me to draw closer to him and depend upon him more than I ever have before.  He wants me to know and be known by Him.  WOW!

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Here is a portion of Scripture that stood out to me this week and how God spoke to me personally through it.  NOTE:  This is neither a study of nor commentary on Psalm 23.  It is simply how it applied to me and my life.

Psalm 23:1-5
(The Voice version)

”The Eternal One is my Shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields
besides streams of refreshing water.
He soothes my fears;
He makes me whole again,
steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
 Even in the unending shadow of death’s darkness,
I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
near with Your protection and guidance,
 I am comforted.
You spread out a table for me,
provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs. anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
 filling my cup again and again with Your grace.
Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me,
where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal One,
 in Your house forever.”
The highlighted verses are those that spoke to me most clearly.  I asked God what He wanted to say to me and then this is what I wrote down in my journal:
“God – You have made me whole!  When my thoughts go back to old ways of thinking I need to remember that and focus on what is true.  I must remember who I am in You!  In the midst of the attacks on my mind you provide a veritable feast.  You supply me with everything I need to remain grounded in You.  I am nourished and strengthened by your word.”
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What about you?  Do you ever find yourself in a vulnerable place where the whispers of defeat begin to play over and over in your head?  We all have our own particular areas of weakness, usually based on things we’ve experienced long ago. As our Pastor Peter once said those whispers of defeat will “suck the life right out of you!”
If this is true for you right now then maybe it is time to stop focusing on the challenges you are be facing and meditate on God and His promises to you.  Maybe you are reading this and you don’t even know or believe in God.  My challenge to you is to ask Him to reveal Himself to you and then wait . . . and watch . . . to see what happens.
God says if we look for Him intently we will find Him. Jer. 29:13
God says that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. James 4:8
God says that He will satisfy all our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ. Phil. 4:19
Father God, through Jesus Christ you have given me access to ALL of Your abundance.  Show me how to wait for You, how to listen for your voice, how to abide in You, to feast on your Word and draw  strength from You, and You alone.  Teach me how to delight fully in You as I walk into the purpose you have for me . . . even if I don’t know what that is yet.  Finally, please bring me to the point of being able to say with all honesty,
 “If it is nothing but me and You God it is okay.  You are enough and Your love never fails.”
P.S. For a small peek at MY (our) STORY you can take link up to a short Vimeo HERE
ALSO . . . Even though this is called Freedom Friday you may notice that it wasn’t actually published on Friday.  The old Perfect Patti would’ve made sure it went out on a Friday.  The new Perfectly Imperfect Patti felt like the message should out today!
  Imperfecion is the new perfection

 I’ve been known to link up to the following great parties!!!

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