After a decade in Africa, I finally had a friend fly out to spend a few months with me. I'd had friends visit before, but only for a couple weeks at a time. If that. But I got the gift of Natalie for two solid months. She stayed with me in my house. We ate meals together and paused for coffee breaks during the day. We went on walks and took leisurely lunches. We filled our time with laughter and tears and hearts.
We did life together.
And then she left.
I'd moved to Africa at 19. My entire adult life was spent an ocean away from my closest friends. And I'd suddenly gotten to do everyday life with one of them for two months straight.
It's one thing to miss something you'e never really had. It's another thing entirely to miss something once you've experienced it.
When Natalie left, my heart felt an ache like it never had before. I missed having a close friend in my everyday life.
And when I voiced that to a loved one, I was told I'm not spiritual enough.
"You shouldn't hold people that closely. Jesus should be enough for you."
Along with so much of my Christian upbringing, a Biblical truth was distorted into something it was never intended to be.
Yes, Jesus is absolutely more than enough for me. I don't doubt His all-sufficiency. (Well, sometimes I live like I do, but that's a whole other blog post for a whole other day...) Jesus is enough for my salvation; He alone should be my source of hope and purpose and value.
In typical God fashion, there exists this paradox in our faith:
God is enough for me. But God also created me for relationships.
I was not made to be an island. I was not intended to live life alone. I believe part of the enough-ness of my relationship with Christ comes from my relationships with others. He wants me to bare my heart to people. To be real. To love deeply and be loved deeply in return.
I want to love hard.
To miss to the point of tears.
And I want to be loved and missed that much in return.
Because in the context of that kind of intimacy, I learn so much about intimacy with Christ. I grasp more of His love. I discover different sides of His character.
My heart hurts from yet some more recent goodbyes, but I welcome that ache because of all it tells me... about love, and value, and relationship.
And I realize anew the longing in God's heart...