While enjoy moments of quiet and time to myself - such as my quiet time in the mornings or when I'm writing - I am largely a social person. Being with people fills me up, gives me energy, and brings me joy. Even if I'm feeling down and think that I want to hole up in my house, the best cure for a blue mood is a couple hours spent chatting it up with a girlfriend.
I think that's what I miss most about my time leading women's ministry. The fellowship and friendship were wrapped up with the work. Serving God through planning and implementing activities for women was fuel for my extroverted soul. I can't say that I've had much of a social life to speak of in a number of years. But I was incredibly blessed in that my ministry became my social life.
These past months have revealed to me that speaking and writing are completely different from what I have known. They are solitary pursuits. The unfortunate side-effect of this ministry is that I am needing to block off large chunks of time where I "go off the social grid" in order to do what I need to get done. Adjusting to the quiet is not an easy thing. This fall, I have felt loneliness more stark than I've experienced at all since we moved over a year ago.
I write for my blog...alone.
I continue to research and edit my book proposal (albeit very slowly)...alone.
I pray about, research, and prepare for a talk...alone.
I travel to a speaking engagement...alone.
While I believe and have hope that this ministry will eventually grow beyond me, and that there will be a team of women together to plan and pray, write and speak, for this season it's just me. Well, God and me. Don't get me wrong, I love having time with God! (My recent three hour trip to speak was a wonderful time of worship and communion with Him.) Nothing can truly compare, though, to the special connection that happens in friendship with women.
There are, of course, other factors contributing to this loneliness. Appointments, assorted illnesses, nap times, and more have been filling up the few free days I have. My friends have busy lives, too. They've got ministries, jobs, appointments, and illnesses just like me.
You know, I'd really like to tie a neat little bow on this post. End with something about how God is sufficient. And He is. Yet knowing that He is doesn't necessarily fill the void created by all this solitude. So as much as the writer in me wants to give you a conclusion, I can't. At least not today. All I can leave you with is reality. And sometimes reality doesn't wrap a story up in pretty paper, bringing joy and peace and closure. Sometimes reality just leaves you hanging in limbo.