Over thirty years later, the image of my teenaged self pains me.
I wasn’t okay. I longed to connect with people but whenever they came near, insecurities buzzed in my brain. My attempts to comport myself became social spasms.
I remember near panic at the thought of an evening alone. I remember the utter dread of social rejection.
I look back on my teenaged self with pity and shame.
Then, I found the friend and mentor I needed.
A penniless, itinerant rabbi strutted out of the wilderness and into my consciousness. I was rapt by his way and his words. He seemed unapproachably perfect, but I knew he wanted me near him…always. I gave in to the desire of my Desire.
The need to be with other people vanished. It’s absence surprised me. For the first time, I was okay by myself. To this day, I can tell whether my faith is healthy by my ability to be okay alone. The need for other people and dependence on God can’t inhabit the same heart. This present world system knows nothing but the former. The kingdom of God is built on the latter.
Since the way of the world is bondage to other people, believers in Christ must assert their freedom by getting alone on a regular basis. Nobody is strong enough spiritually to constantly be surrounded by other people. Even Jesus went to great lengths to get alone with God. We must do the same or else we’ll find ourselves entangled and overcome.