Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hello, my name is Mark. I'm a ______

My friends Jon and VIkki Ruby has been hanging out in our SOULNET gatherings. I love these guys for the honesty they bring. Jon is a recovering addict who is actively involved in helping others in recovery through Jericho Road Ministries in downtown Ottawa. He and his wife, Vikki, are not ashamed to openly admit their situation and Jon's condition. They remind me that all of us are damaged in some way and addicted to something to cover up that damage. But they also remind me that Jesus offers us a way of recovery.

As I think of my own life, I want to openly declare that I'm damaged. I'm not addicted to drugs, alcohol or any other chemical substance. My damage has to do with feelings of being alone. For some reason, which I have yet to figure out, I really struggle with feelings of loneliness. At this point, I need to say that this has nothing to do with any shortcomings of my friends or family. I feel I have great relationships with people. Yet, in spite of that, I have a tendency to feel that I am alone. Being a leader exacerbates these feelings because everyone knows that "it's lonely at the top." Everyday I feel like I am the only one leading the charge to see our movement, SOULNET, happen.

My friend, Al, has constantly reminded me that I am not alone. And that he hurts when he hears me expressing my loneliness.

Someone once gave me an acronym to remind me about certain conditions that we need to be aware of that puts us in a vulnerable position. When we are in one of these conditions we need to HALT.

H - Hungry
A - Angry
L - Lonely
T - Tired

I've noticed that the times in my life that seemed to be more of a struggle was when I was in one or more of these conditions.

Hello, my name is Mark. I struggle with loneliness.


Yvonne said...

Hey Mark

I love Jon and Vikki too!! We should all be as transparent! Vikki just said something to me today:

"yeah, I saw that a while back...that honesty is only appreciated under certain cimcumstances, unfortunately......meaning, it's easy to be honest when it's about the past"

How easy to say "I was bad back then...but praise God...I'm all good now!!!" THAT statement gets you a job in ministry!

However...saying "Hey folks...this is the sin I did last night...and will probably do again tonight. I'm really pressing into God right now...but I'm still failing." THAT statement gets you disqualified from ministry. (Thanks us when you've kicked the habit!)

I've discovered that we all have something we run to to soothe our loneliness, or pain, or feelings of failure, or fear. Just some of our addictions look healthy. What about those people who work out all the time? It makes them feel great! They go when they feel down..and it perks them up! Hmmm...sounds like a drug to me.

I am so humbled by this post...because we all need to be transparent about not only what we are running to...but WHY we are running.

I'm feeling the lonliness too lately...and it hurts like hell! But I've learned one thing: Feeling won't kill us.

So lets get together and be real....feel...and create a safe place for others to do the same!! (no disqualifying here!)

Mark Juane said...

Totally agree, Yvonne. When did the church stop being a safe place for broken people? It's crazy!

I am so humbled as well when I consider the people whom the Lord has brought together here. I think the journey towards real honest friendship will be the basis of any future ministry we have together.