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When Jesus was my Only Friend

Bliss Cole

When Jesus was my Only Friend

The struggle of loss and betrayal overwhelmed me; I could trust no one. Words were empty and a means to deceit. Value for myself plummeted, loneliness took over, and as bitterness settled in my heart, so did a numbness that I carried for quite some time.

The struggle of loss and betrayal overwhelmed me; I could trust no one. Words were empty and a means to deceit. Value for myself plummeted, loneliness took over, and as bitterness settled in my heart, so did a numbness that I carried for quite some time.

When I was 14 there was a defining moment in my life and not for the better. I had a choice: forgive, or harbor offense and wrong doing in my heart. Initially this was a simple task, I cried out to Jesus repeatedly asking Him to help me forgive them. “I don’t want to be bitter” was my mantra and “Help me forgive” was probably my most frequent prayer. Every few months when a new story turned up, a new lie, or a new name to add to the “untrusted” list, I went back to Jesus. “I don’t want to be bitter; I forgive them; I don’t want to be angry,” and “help me love them,” was my desperate cry. I begged Jesus to protect me from the bitterness that I saw consume so many people I knew, and He did. He saved me from the anger, the resentment, and most of all, a ridiculous amount of hurt. I felt wounded for a long time and ran to Jesus so much that I decided I would just stay with Him forever because it was amazing. So much healing, so much identity, and so much fullness came from hiding myself in Him.

“Jesus is always with me; Jesus doesn’t fail me; Jesus always protects; Jesus knows everything and accepts me.” All of these were truths that became my love story with Him: the very foundation I still stand on today. But something else started to change in my heart during that time… “If I have Jesus, why do I need anyone else? People fail, people hurt, people lie.” This became an excuse for isolation in the name of “relying on Jesus.” Although I no longer had unforgiveness towards someone specifically, I held onto a fear of people in general. I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone; not because everyone is evil, but because no one is perfect. I still tried to love  people, still wanted to help, still wanted to pour into and invest in others, but I was a voice to them not the other way around. My expectation of those around me was practically nonexistent: they COULDN’T hurt me because I never let them in.

I realized after an alarming display of indifference in the face of severe poverty on a mission trip that I no longer felt anything. I didn’t laugh fully, I hardly got angry, and I hadn’t cried in almost a year. I was a shell of a soul, with a fake smile wrapped around it. I asked Jesus that night why I didn’t care. His response was simple: “You’re numb.” I worshipped with everything I had, I lived a life of prayer and was reading the Bible all the time, but I was still so empty inside. “What’s wrong with me? Why isn’t Jesus enough for me?” I had chosen self-preservation over the promise of His protection. My safe secret place became a prison that I built with fear and insecurity. I trapped myself inside my own fear and minimized Jesus and His unconditional love until He fit inside my cell. A sentence that I gave myself so that I couldn’t be disappointed ever again.

That night I asked Him to break my numb, hardened heart. I accepted the fact that without walls, things could hurt me, but with walls, the very things I prayed against all those times would rule me and my life. I’d never know the full Jesus I fell in love with. The coming weeks and months brought a lot of tears, a lot of brokenness, and so much more freedom than I could have ever imagined. I finally realized that crying wasn’t weakness and brokenness wasn’t always a bad thing.

To be broken before Jesus is to be vulnerable in presence of Love. To be broken before people brings the opportunity for a tangible love to be made manifest. It’s a connection like no other that we were created with a need for. There is nothing so rewarding as the fulfillment that comes from being truly known by someone. It opens us up to be known, seen, and heard which are all vital to live a healthy life with those around us. Jesus is our foundation and the rock on which we stand, but His love is what makes it possible to live life to the fullest with those around us as well. When we open ourselves up to people, we open ourselves up to a new world and a new side of Jesus’ personality we’ve never experienced before. We feel the victories and the losses of those we love and vise versa. That is community and a community pursuing the heart of Jesus, allowing Him to love us directly and through each other, is what we’re here for!