imaginary conversations.

You know those in-between moments?  The moments in between people and places.  The moments when no one else is really around, when one event has ended and another has yet to begin, when the conversations have halted, and I am left only to the voices of my own thoughts.  These moments happen a hundred times a day.  Driving in the car, folding the laundry, taking a shower, going on a run.  Moments in between tasks at work.  Moments when I sit on the couch for a few minutes because its too early to leave, but there is not enough time to begin anything new.  Moments of quiet I might even claim when I am distraught or overwhelmed.  

I came to a realization recently that throughout my entire life I have always filled those moments with conversation.  Conversations with people who aren’t there.  Not imaginary people, mind you.  My conversations are always with very real people that just don’t happen to actually be present, and obviously have no idea what I am saying to them.  Perhaps, actually the realization I had was not so much that I fill all my in-between moments with conversations in my head, but rather that not everyone else in the world does this too. 

I have a deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP desire to be known and heard.  And understood. Its not an occasional need.  Its an ongoing, ever-present, never-ending need.  

I am a well-loved, much-supported woman.  I have an incredible husband who loves me extraordinarily well.  My life is teeming with rich friendships.  I have a supportive family.  I have mentors and counselors who are always available to me.  I have had the privilege of being loved by some of the earth’s most stunning humans.  People hear me out, pray for me, and pursue me.  All the time.  I am quite aware of my vast wealth.  I recognize that most of the world does not have the kind of unconditionally loving relationships that I have. 

But its not enough.  I have a deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP need to be seen and heard and understood every moment of every single day.  I am constantly grasping for it.  Hence the conversations with people that aren’t there for minute.  Hence all of my in-between moments filled with imagined company.  Hence I often blog instead of journal, writing for people to read, instead of writing for my own brainspace.  

The thing is I know in my head that God is there.  I know, and believe, and experience His presence even.  A million times I have begun to engage Him in conversation… and a million times I have replaced Him with an image of a friend or loved one within minutes.  He is SO freaking invisible sometimes.  

 I can look back at every stage of my life and show you the choices I made, the emotions I experienced, the paths I took – so very many have been dictated by an underlying sense that I am alone, that it is up to me to figure everything out, and that no one is there to help me.  When I began to put words to those internal beliefs at the age of 22, I experienced a miserable year of chronic anxiety.  Pressure in my chest almost every day.  Somedays… many days… I felt like my chest would explode and I would die.  

Eventually I got to a point where I could look back on all my live-long days and see how God has been chasing me down since the beginning, determined to convince me of this truth:  HE IS WITH ME.  I can show you how over and over, since I was a little girl, He steps in, how He sends me love, how He gives me alternate paths to walk on.  How He wages a war on the lies that seek my destruction.   

A little over a week ago I had a revelatory conversation with a woman who knows me better than probably anyone on the planet.  In that conversation I felt so known, so seen, so understood.  The kind of knowing that can only come through someone who has walked with you through many years and who carries the grace of an all-knowing God.  In that conversation, I saw a glimpse of that deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP ongoing, ever-present, never-ending need that drives Lindsay.  And I saw that there is not one sacred human soul in the universe that can be with me and available every minute of every day in all my in-between moments.  And for one reason or another, that old, icky anxiety crept back in this past week.  Every day for the past 8 days it has interrupted my life.   I panicked, thinking, “No, God I can’t handle another year of torture.  You love me! People love me!  I’m not alone, why is my whole body wracked with this anxiousness?”    

Last night, as I shared these swirling thoughts with my closest girlfriends here in Detroit, my friend Meghan was nodding her head in agreement.  Okay, I’m not crazy… somebody else talks to people who aren’t there too.  Meg proceeded to tell me that when she prays, she remembers that Jesus IS a Person.  That He came so we could touch Him, see Him, hear Him speak, and watch Him change the world.  She pictures the Man Jesus going to the shore with her, spreading out a blanket, and sitting down to talk.  She is able to turn her conversation toward God because of the humanity of Jesus. 

It was a simple recommendation really.  One I know I have heard before.  But her words rode on the wind of the Holy Spirit and pierced my heart.  In that moment I felt utterly challenged.  Do I actually, truly, honestly, deep-down, with all my being believe that Jesus is a Man, that He is God, that He is alive?  Do I legitimately believe that God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-loving, and that He cannot lie?  Do I seriously believe that when He said, “I am with you always,” that He would hold true to His word?  

20 years into following Jesus, and somedays I still feel like I just heard the gospel for the first time.  

In the midst of examining my heart on this sunny winter morning, God’s voice comes to me.  Again.  He is so kind to speak.

I want to be your Friend.  

Your ongoing, ever-present, never-ending Friend.

 Invite Me into your in-between moments.  

Talk to Me.  Vent to Me.

 I see you, I hear you, I understand.

 I am able to meet your deepest, deepest need. 

Here I am, living in a new city.  With beautiful, but new friends.  With a wonderful, but new husband.  They all do their absolute best to love me, to know me, to listen and to hear me.  They do a supremely excellent job.  I need, really, really, really NEED a Friend who KNOWS me.  Who knows the perfect questions to ask, who has all the right words of comfort, who knows how just to get under the surface to what’s really going on.  And I have One!  

I will not be ruled by anxiety.  I will no longer give so many of my in-between moments to people who cannot respond because they are not really there.  My choice to engage in imaginary conversations has only served to reinforce the lies I have always believed that I am alone.  No more!  By the grace of Jesus, I want my life from here forward to be FILLED with prayer, conversations with One who IS there, who WILL hear, and who will certainly respond.

 

 

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