Why I Can’t Be By Myself

I’m at a pizza place by myself, sweating through my coffeeshop T-shirt and chewing on a slice of pepperoni. As I scroll through the contacts on my phone, my fingers leave greasy smudges on the screen.

I call the leasing office at my apartment complex and, when a lady answers, I say:

“Hi. So, erm, have you got any two-bedroom apartments?”

Because big news, everyone: I found myself a roommate.

Praise the heavens, I thought this would never happen. I met her last weekend. It was roommate-love at first sight. Now if we could only score a two-bedroom flat…

Last year, my friend and one of our beloved guest bloggers, Taylor Berglund, wrote about how to be by yourself. He asks readers:

“Who are you when your friends aren’t around?”

When I ask myself this, I realize that I like the person I am when my friends aren’t around. I wake up at 7 am while on vacation in Miami to hunt down the neighborhood coffeeshop. I get lost writing a story on my computer while, outside, the Florida heat pops and crackles.

Miami
I love me some Miami + Miami coffee ❤

I read stuffy cessationist theology, peruse Trader Joe’s wine selection, and angrily rant about Asian-American representation in the media inside my head.

But I also stress myself out.

I fall into these rabbit-hole ways of thinking. I drink too much. I get irritable. The things that I could laugh about with a friend are the things that make me hot under the collar when I’m alone.

One of my fondest, most recent memories is when I went grocery-shopping with a friend. Nothing unordinary happened. But there was something wonderful about doing the mundane and yet having someone to banter with and bounce observations off of.

The truth is, I crave companionship. Even in the in-betweens of everyday life.

But that’s not always possible. As I’m on the phone with the lady at the leasing office, my heart falls.

“We have no two-bedroom apartments and we don’t anticipate any openings anytime soon,” she says.

Not good. I have to renew my lease in two days. I don’t have time to wait.

Essentially: I can’t have a roommate this year.

Knowing how to be by yourself is important. As I’m learning to ‘adult,’ I realize that most adventures have to be embarked on alone.

But at the same time, I’m coming to accept that it’s okay to long for company. When God decided to create Eve for Adam, He said, “‘It is not good that the man should be alone’” (Gen. 2:18 ESV).

God designed us to be relational.

When I’m lonely, I’m told that the cure is to have a relationship with God. As though it will erase my loneliness or lack of satisfaction in this world. But I don’t believe that’s true either.

Christianity Today writer Amy Simpson writes:

“While knowing and following Jesus has its priceless rewards and eventually leads to fulfillment, it won’t fully deliver on this promise now…Yes, a relationship with God can bring comfort, peace, and even joy in hard circumstances. But it may not bring satisfaction or happiness.”*

Not on this side of heaven, at least.

So I continue to seek companionship. And when I feel lonely, I don’t have to wonder if something’s wrong with me.

It’s human. It’s part of the human experience and it’s part of who I am.

-Rachel

 

*Amy Simpson, “Blessed are the Unsatisfied,” Christianity Today, Feb. 8, 2018

Photo by Eddi Aguirre on Unsplash

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