I have loner tendencies. I have since I was a kid. Even as a preschooler, I’d find little hiding places in the house, ferret away some art supplies and have some creative alone time. As an adult, that is pretty much still my inclination. That’s not to say that I don’t like people. I do. But—my sanity and creativity is grounded in my alone time.
I value my friendships, but my friends—knowing my tendencies—often need to drag me out of the house to be social. When I get out in the world, I always have fun. I just don’t seek out social situations on my own very often. Knowing this weakness in my character, I have to be conscious of my friendship skills. When I make an effort, I am a devoted friend, but I can sometimes fall into times of friendship neglect if I am not careful. What I need to do more often is make a concerted effort. By definition, I can’t make a “concerted effort” alone. I can only work “in concert” with others.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)
That convicts me. My loner tendencies could land me “in real trouble.” Alone, I could be attacked and defeated—even broken. When we are united, we find warmth and comfort.
From the time of Eve’s creation, humans were designed to interact and relate to each other. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We need to interact with other Christians to encourage and be encouraged.
There is certainly nothing wrong with a desire for solitude. It can be just as important as being relational. The key, as in most things, is to find the right balance. Without that balance, we risk being too self-focused.
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. Proverbs 18:1
So, dear friends, I renew my effort to be a better companion and to draw strength from my relationships with you. I will do my best to act on my love for you more often. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with. We are a triple-braided cord.
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 (NIV)
How do you find balance in your friendships?