Disconnected

Note: This is an excerpt from the book The Emotional Devotional: Following Jesus in Every Emotion coming soon from Next Step Press. This book, written by teenage girls, for teenage girls, is meant to help you bring your emotions to Jesus just as they are. If you would like to receive an email when The Emotional Devotional is available, please join the Next Step Press email list.

By Gabriella Wiechman

When you feel disconnected you might feel like there’s no place that you can truly be yourself and be accepted by those around you. This might cause you to feel a heavy sadness in your heart as you long to belong and wish there was someone to be there with you. When I experience a feeling of disconnection, I typically find myself crying and isolating myself more than normal.

As you read these verses I encourage you to look and see what parts stand out to you. Ask God to speak to you through this passage and see what the Spirit does with it in your heart.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NIV)

Outcast

For over a year I’ve struggled with feeling outcast. I’ve felt like I don’t have a place where I belong, and standing out doesn’t always feel good.

A year ago I walked out of school on my last day of Junior year, expecting to return again after summer break. I assumed I would see my friends again in a few short months as we started our last year of high school. Well, I was wrong in my assumptions. God can make a lot of changes in a very short period of time, and that’s what God did the summer before my Senior year.

After my parents and I discussed many different options, we decided it would be in my best interest to graduate early as a homeschooler with some “non-traditional” credits. This meant I was done with high school and I could move on to do the work I felt God calling me to: foreign missions.

What I didn’t expect was to struggle so much in finding a job to support my mission fund, or even finding a mission organization to travel with long-term. After signing up for several trips and the majority being cancelled because of COVID, I began to wonder what I was supposed to be doing.

I hadn’t expected to be home this long in between graduating and leaving the country, so I hadn’t really invested in creating new relationships; and to be honest, I didn’t have many old ones in the first place. This meant I was left with practically no friends and no church to call my home. I didn’t have a community.

I’ve been looking for places where I can connect with my peers, places where I can feel accepted, but it feels like I keep running into dead ends. It feels like all of these places where I am looking to make connections are places where I don’t belong. I feel like my faith causes me to feel like an outcast. I feel like I can’t fit in with anyone because of the way I live my life for Jesus. I’m always just “that Christian girl.”

It hurts because that’s what I love about myself. I love how I love God and others, so when that causes me to be left out or judged it makes it harder to keep living like that.

There are so many ways we can feel disconnected or outcast because of the very things that make us who we are. It may be a special gift you have, the way you laugh, the thing you want to do in life, or even what you are passionate about that causes you to feel disconnected from everyone around you.

It’s so hard to be disconnected because we were created by God to live in community, so when we cannot connect with the people around us it hurts. It causes us to live in this loneliness that we were not created to live in.

I want you to know that that feeling of isolation and being outcast that you are feeling is not your fault. It can be so easy to feel like no one likes you because of who you are, but like this verse says, God chose you! God chose you before those bullies even knew you.

I know how badly it hurts to be alone and disconnected from everyone around you. Trust me, I know it hurts bad. It’s hard to not have someone to go to when you are hurting or excited. It hurts to not have someone to cry with when you’re sad or to laugh with when you find something funny. It’s so hard to not have a friend to dream with about the things God is doing in your life. It hurts; I know.

There have been many nights where I find myself crying and screaming silently in my room. I feel an unexplainable anger boiling inside of me because I’m so tired of not fitting in, of being disconnected from the people I think should be my community. So I just cry. I curl up in a ball on my floor and I ugly cry. I yell at God because I don’t understand why God can’t just provide a friend for me. Why do I have to be alone? Why do all my connections seem weak and inauthentic?

God sees your pain. God sees you when you are crying and your Father hears you when you are screaming. God sees how you are hurting and how you are longing for people to connect with. Your Heavenly Father knows that you are tired of feeling alone and outcast.

Jesus invites you to feel your pain with Him. Invite Christ into the hurt and the ache and the loneliness. Invite Him into your anger when you find yourself crying alone for another night in a row. Your anger and pain can never scare God away.

This verse tells you that God chose you before the world was even created. It says that God adopted you into an eternal family where you belong through Jesus Christ. So maybe you feel disconnected from your friends, or maybe you feel disconnected from your own family; that’s OK. Jesus invites you to tell Him about it because you are a part of His family.

Jesus doesn’t need you to change your hurt or your pain; He’s OK with it. But Jesus does invite you to share it with Him. When you share that anger with God, your wonderful Father and Friend delights in taking that burden from you. You were never meant to be alone, and your Heavenly Father delights in providing for you.

So feel the pain and the anger as you feel disconnected and alone; but also know that God chose you for something greater, and the Spirit of Jesus is preparing something amazing for you, even in this season of disconnection.

People Like Me

I can only imagine the loneliness of the prophet Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 16:2 the LORD says to Jeremiah, “You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.” And in chapter 16:8 God says, “And do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink.”

Jeremiah was young when he was called to prophesy to the people of Judah. His assignment from God was to prophesy destruction on the land of Judah because of the people’s disobedience to God. This wouldn’t have been a fun job to do at all, much less alone. In the verses above, God told Jeremiah that he was not allowed to marry or attend social gatherings in the place of his assignment. That meant this terrifying calling had to be done alone.

I can’t even begin to imagine how disconnected Jeremiah felt in this. To be called to do God’s work can already be scary, but to be in a nation where you were disconnected from everyone must have been horrible.

This is so relatable because so often we feel disconnected from the people around us, and sometimes the call Jesus has placed on our lives causes us to feel alone in our work.

It is so encouraging to see that Jeremiah felt this, too. He felt disconnected from a community in the work he was doing for God. But even though he didn’t have any friends or family with him, he had God fighting for him.

When you feel disconnected, you are not alone.

Prayer

Feeling disconnected is hard, and God knows that too. God isn’t afraid or intimidated by your anger or pain, so use this as an open space to scream or yell or break something (that you’re allowed to break). Let your anger out so that it doesn’t have to be bundled up inside forever. If you don’t feel able to pray these words, substitute your own or change the ones I’ve written. Whatever you are able to bring to Jesus right now is more than enough.

God, I’m angry. I’m upset because I’m tired of feeling alone. I’m tired of not having a friend who I can trust with everything. I’m tired of crying myself to sleep because I don’t have a community to share my hopes and dreams with.

Jesus, I know that you are good and everything you do is good, and even though I don’t see that in my life right now, I’m asking that you come be with me in my hurt and frustration. I need someone to be with me right now, and you are the only one that I feel connected to right now.

God, I want friends. I want people who will encourage me to love and follow you. I want to be connected to the people around me. Provide for me someone who I can be my true self around. Come to me in this loneliness, in this disconnection. Please.

Show me that you are working in my life, even when it feels like I’m alone. I want to see what you are doing in my heart and in my life. Open my eyes to see these things.

I love you, God.

Amen.


Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

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