Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

The Blessing of Isolation

Isolation. Do you know this word? It’s often accompanied by loneliness, but not always.  You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely, because you aren’t making any personal connections. You can also be isolated, with no one around, and not feel lonely. I have experienced both to varying degrees and lengths of time. While I do enjoy times of being by myself, I have a limit and need actual interaction too. For the last couple years I have experienced a period of isolation and at times, loneliness, that has impacted me significantly.

Many things have contributed to this isolation, including the fact that I don’t really live close to any family, it’s basically just the four of us. I don’t drive, which can inhibit certain friendships. I have dealt with chronic illness for the last 10 years of my life and now have a “weird” diet (by most people’s standards), and my younger son is gluten-free. I am outspoken on many things and although I do try to temper it with judiciousness, I don’t think it’s a popular trait. And I am a Christian, which really encompasses all of these things and so affects every area of my life, that I think it makes many people feel uncomfortable. Although I can change certain behaviors that I have, or not say things that I think, and I can continue to pray fervently against my own areas of sin, I cannot be someone else.

So, I have wrestled with these feelings during this season of isolation. I have questioned and sought and prayed to God, during this time. And while there are obviously hard and frustrating things that go along with this, I’ve been thinking more recently about the blessings that isolation has given me. Here’s a few that I’ve thought of, and although many of these points overlap, I thought it might be helpful to break them down.

  1. I turn to the Lord in a quicker manner than I did before. What I might have confided in a friend, I now take to him. When I have a complaint, I take those to him too, but I keep in mind whom I am talking to. It changes the nature of my complaint and puts it in a proper perspective (usually one of less significance than if I had taken it to a friend).
  2. I think of myself less, finally. You really can only think so much of yourself in a negative or a positive way before you get sick of your own self.
  3. I think less about things like self-esteem or whether or not I have the confidence to do something, and if the Lord has called me to it, than I just do it. 
  4. I worry less about what others think and more about what God thinks. I don’t know what others think, so I cannot worry about it. I do know what God thinks because it’s written in his Word. I can hold myself up to the standard of the Bible, instead of mans opinion.
  5. I am more likely to step out of my comfort zone and into what the Lord is calling me to do, than I would be if I were bouncing my ideas off of other people. What they think I should or should not do.

I believe that we are to have good, and godly friendships. The Bible has a lot to say about friendship. I think it’s very important and necessary for the Christian life and I know that “Iron sharpens iron; and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17). God has mercifully provided me with a couple close friendships during this time, some of these friendships are limited in their depth, because of distance or propriety (for the sake of maintaining boundaries of protection for all involved),and I have many acquaintances. Many years ago, I committed all of my friendships to God, and during this season he has chosen to bring me through, I continue to commit my friendships to him, whatever that means, many friends or few. I trust him.

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