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I have often thought I should wear a button that says, “Does not play well with others,” just to warn people there’s a cranky introvert coming their way. It’s not that I don’t want to play well, it’s just that I don’t see how to and when I do, it feels a bit like chasing a moving target. People have always been an enigma to me. Random. Dangerous. Like they will reach right out and thump you for apparently no good reason. My experience has been they will easily abandon you in the middle of a journey, in an unknown land, where you came at their invitation and expected to go on with them. They will walk off without looking back. They will call themselves a friend, but walk away during the first storm.

I do it too. I am doing it right now. Walking away from the messy struggle that is in nearly every family relationship I have. Spiritual family, too. Perhaps it is the family tie that brings an added challenge. Maybe I expect more from the people I think should love me. Even saying, ‘should love me,” proves my point.

I see how we must be a messy bunch for Jesus, too. How does He love perfectly and keep loving when we are, when I am, so elusive, capricious or erratic?

Focus matters. In the midst of my relationship anxiety, He comes to remind me to worship, to seek, to stop looking at what is or is not in someone else. To stop reaching for perfect love from people and look to Him, the source, the one true lover of my soul. And the one true lover of their souls, too. He cares for us so much. It’s bewildering to recognize the value He places on us.

He calls me again to seek, to wait, to pour out that which troubles me and rest with Him. He calls me to come and talk about the good things in my friends and Christian siblings. To talk about the gifts they have and the truth they are learning. He speaks to me of the unique expression of His beauty that is in them. He speaks of not touching, but handling gently, the work He is doing in their hearts as I contemplate just walking up and thumping them for what I don’t like, for what hurts me. …And I see I am one of them, the dangerous, random people that I can’t get along with. Sigh. The path of healing and life sometimes goes in a circle leading me back to my own heart.