Connecting things can be a tedious task. It’s like putting together a bookshelf with a million pieces and no directions. You get frustrated. You lose some of the pieces in the box. Your finger gets smashed with the hammer…

Making connections with others, at least in my experience, seems to be the same way. It takes a lot of effort. At times, I am not sure how to make it come together. I get frustrated when I miss the opportunity. I lose sight of some of the people I wanted to connect with. And every now and then, I get hurt.

In a time of social distancing, connecting with others is vitally important. Isolation makes for many problems. Whether you are a social butterfly or prefer a quiet evening at home, lack of interaction can affect you.

Recently, I was discussing this with a few people. Well, mostly I was whining about feeling isolated, friendless, and lonely. It was quickly pointed out to me that I was negating what relationships I did have. It’s true. I have many people in my life that I would call “friend.” What I don’t have is confidence that I can be myself and trust them to still remain my “friend.”

Have you been there? It’s a weird place to be. Longing for friendship, but wondering if others would truly accept who you are. With this thought in mind, you socially isolate, without recognizing you have done so…until, of course, you are on “real” social isolation and realize you don’t know who to call on! (Or in my case, I don’t want to keep calling the one person I always count on…TC!)

I fear that I may be digressing…

Here is what I know. We were made for connections. God created us that way from the Garden of Eden. We need each other. I also know that I am not perfect. I screw up. I make mistakes. And, if you really get to know me, you will find I am fiercely opinionated, strong willed, see everything black or white, and have little tolerance for certain things. I am also sarcastic, analytical, and at times, I fall back into old harmful habits.

And yet, in the midst of all this mess which I call “me,” Jesus says, “You are My friend.” His friendship was offered through great love and sacrifice. He accepts me daily, as I am, in all my mess. And He keeps forgiving me, keeps loving me, keeps accepting me.

So, if you are like me, and you get where I am coming from, take heart. Jesus is always available to us. And, we need to learn to be thankful for what relationships we do have. We need to invest in them. We need to let go and be ourselves. Those who God intended us to do life with will stay, even when our life gets ugly. Even when we screw up.

And finally, (I know…it’s time to be done) we have to step out of our comfort zones, too. I typically wait for an invitation to “friend” with others. You know, have coffee, hang out, go somewhere. Maybe it’s time for me (and those like me) to do the inviting.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends… ~ John 15:13-14a

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