Imagine a perfectly normal morning scene with me: The sun is shining, your cup of tea is steaming, your toast has just enough strawberry jam. You pick up your phone to scroll through some social media updates while you munch away at your breakfast, and you’re confronted with a photo of a couple of your closest friends…who went out…last night…for a meal that looks absolutely delicious…and you weren’t with them.
You are now faced with a choice of how you will respond to the photo. You can choose to look at that photo and let feelings of loneliness and exclusion well up within you. You can wonder why you weren’t invited, ponder whether you’ve said or done something that hurt your friends’ feelings. You can allow yourself to be sad because you feel you’ll never be loved and included the way the women you see in the photo are enveloped by love in their own communities. Your morning now feels rotten and the toast tastes like cardboard that no amount of strawberry jam could sweeten.
Or. Choice #2. You can look at that photo and feel nothing other than joy at seeing your friends’ happy faces. You are secure in the knowledge that you are loved–by God and by your community–and you don’t need to be invited to every single social outing in order to rest secure in that love. You can know that other people don’t need an explanation or a good reason why they went somewhere without you, because you realize that even life lived in community still involves independence and free choice, and oh, what a good truth that is! You are satisfied by the Godly love in your own life and it only adds to your joy to see your friends experiencing love in theirs. Read the passage in Ephesians about the immense depth and breadth and power of Christ’s love–and choose well!