Do You Have a "Person"?
By Elisa Morgan
Years back, I remember the relationship forged between two friends on a TV medical drama. A female doctor struggled to find her way through the complex and highly competitive workings of her hospital training program. When asked to put down a contact on her emergency form, she identified a coworker who had seemed to have her back in all matters—both in work and life. As the show went on, these two characters routinely referred to one another as each other’s “person.” Their label became a trend, leading to over a million posts using #myperson.
Being someone’s “person,” or having a “person,” might be platonic as in the “bosom friend” designation from Anne of Green Gables, or it might become romantic as in the “you-complete-me” moniker of the movie Jerry Maguire. Bottom line, this kind of “person” is a soul mate. Someone who knows you so well that they finish your sentences, order for you exactly what you would have ordered, show up at the very moment they’re needed without being asked and who—no matter what—are always willing to do life with you.
Do you have a “person”?
Most of us would respond, “Sorta.” There’s the best friend from high school who remembers us from who we were as “bubbly” or “bookish” or “blonde.” The young mom friend who walks beside us through pregnancy and late nights and diapers and the extra twenty pounds and the marriage upheavals. The coworker who covers when we’re carpooling and brings us a latte on a particularly stressful morning. The spouse who rubs our feet or does the dishes or shares the remote.
Most of us sorta have a “person.” Until we don’t. When he or she zones us out and tunes into the game instead. Or responds to our “What do you want to do this weekend?” with their own, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” and then never plans anything to do at all. Or commits to our kid’s birthday party and at the last minute doesn’t show. Or gives us a pumpkin spice candle for our birthday when we’ve been extremely clear—even joked together—that we can’t stand pumpkin spice anything. How could they have forgotten?
That’s when we realize the person we thought was our “person” isn’t. We feel missed, overlooked, and not known.
The arc of the Bible reveals that we can experience the pain of alone without relationships, and often, even with them. It’s true that God points to his provision of the church as his solution for our relational need. Paul describes the interdependence of each of us in the church in 1 Corinthians 12:14–27.
On and on, throughout the New Testament epistles, from Paul to Peter and James, you’ll note a strong emphasis on the importance of remaining in healthy and truthful relationships with one another in the church, THE place we can go to meet out relational needs as brothers and sisters in Christ.
But here’s the thing. People, even followers of Christ, are imperfect. Just as Adam and Eve fell and broke away from relationship with God, so have we. And because we have broken from God, we will experience brokenness with each other. Even in the church.
God’s answer to our relational loneliness is not so much about finding our “person” or even our “people.” Rather, God woos us to understand that our core need for connection to people begins with our connection to him, the One who knows us—who perfectly perceives us.
God is the One who knows us. Each of us. Through and through.
Excerpt from You Are Not Alone: Six Affirmations from a Loving God by Elisa Morgan. Copyright 2021 Elisa Morgan. Published by Our Daily Bread Publishing
Elisa Morgan's latest book is You Are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include When We Pray Like Jesus, The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.