My struggle with Isolation.
I grew up in an amazing family with two loving parents, two biological siblings and at least two other members of our extended family at a given time. One would assume that I have always had people around. I am also a pastor’s kid which in my opinion comes with unsought attention. I had a considerably good number of friends both in school and church, but despite all those people around me, there were times I felt completely alone.
The peak was during my late teen years. My relationship with God had mostly been great and I never had a hard time believing in His word or promises. From a very young age I had many people tell me how overly mature I was. I have a tendency of planning ahead and sometimes it’s a bit extreme but that’s just what I do.
One time a man of God visited my home church and the Lord gave him a word for me. He said that I am always thinking 10 steps ahead of most of my peers and because of this, many have misunderstood me. Not everyone believed in the crazy and impossible dreams I had, yet I knew God would do it.
The Lord was probably using me to challenge the faith of the people around me but in that process that’s not what I saw or felt. I saw people that simply did not understand me, felt they thought I was unrealistic and didn’t understand the battles I had to fight. I felt disconnected from everyone around me. I got so comfortable being alone which didn’t seem like a problem during the good seasons, but when the storms of life hit me, I had no one to confide in.
I was afraid of connecting with other people because past attempts had resulted in hurt or rejection when I didn’t get the reaction I wanted. I just couldn’t be myself and fit in, which was frustrating and stressful. I felt all I was did was mirror whoever was around me and never truly reflected the real me.
What I noticed based on my experience is that the enemy wants you to isolate yourself because isolation tends to give birth to feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety and low self-worth. When you withdraw yourself from everyone around you, he creeps into your mind and exaggerates everything! You suddenly think that you cannot trust anyone and you choose to suffer in silence whilst giving everyone else the impression that it’s all okay yet it’s merely the fear of being judged.
The worst part is that we isolate ourselves the most in our hardest seasons. We cry in our closets and get even more depressed when we try to pull it together in front of the people we call our friends. You see, God did not create us to be independent. He created us so that we can encourage and pick each other up in times of discouragement, so that we would bear one another’s burdens. Sometimes God uses people to speak life to us when we are tired, broken and ready to give up.
I know some people isolate themselves because of anxiety problems, lack of social interest, low self-esteem or many different reasons, but all it took for me was failing to find someone who understood me completely, or at least that’s what I had told myself. The truth is you will never find anyone who understands every part of you the way God does. To expect people to always be on the same page as you without having to work at it is unreasonable. The devil will use anything to derail us from the path God intends us to be on. When you feel like nobody gets you, remember that Jesus knows and loves you the way you are. He never leaves us nor forsakes us so we really are never alone! The more I read the word of God and sought His presence, I gradually let go of the rejection, the pain and the illusion that everything I said was being misunderstood. Surprisingly this change of perspective made it easier for me to let people in. God opened my eyes to realize the people I already had in my life that were willing to walk through life with me. They may not understand every single thing in the way I want them to but at least now I appreciate and see their efforts, bearing in mind that God totally gets it.
Isolation is to remain alone or apart from others, it can be physical, social and/or emotional. The dangers of withdrawing yourself to such an extent can be deadly. It becomes very easy to harbour bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. In an attempt stay away from the people that might have hurt you, the bitter emotions linger in your heart because you are not dealing with the root of the problem. Isolation also leads to unaccountability. I told myself that I reported to no one, after all no one really knew what was going on in my head right? But that was very unwise of me. When you are not accountable to anyone it’s very easy to make bad decisions that could change your life and not for the best. Thankfully we serve a God who redeems and forgives but there are so many things that could be avoided by simply sharing your thoughts and being accountable to someone. We fight sin and temptation daily and when you are alone, the devil can manipulate you into thinking eating the forbidden fruit isn’t so bad.
You may be in isolation today and you feel like no one has gone through anything similar to your situation. That’s not true. Many people have it all together in public but God sees how broken we are in our hearts and wants to heal us. You may have your reasons for separating yourself from the world but the truth is we all need people in our corner. We all need to find a balance between spending time alone with God and having fellowship with other brethren because it’s also not good to become solely dependent on people. We are the body of Christ and He commands us to work and fight together. In isolation, the lies of the devil become so loud they sound like truth, but with the help of our friend the Holy Spirit and our fellow brothers and sisters, every truth in the word of God dissolves every lie of the enemy. Take a step of faith today and reach out to others. It’s hard in the beginning but Jesus is with you. It’s a process He wants to guide you through.
Here are some scriptures that encouraged me:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12 (NLT) 9Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 12A 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.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) 24Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Galatians 6:2 (NLT) 2Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
About the writer:
Sima is a young Zimbabwean lady who recently graduated in Statistics and is currently based in Montreal, Canada. She loves the Lord and makes it a point to be intentional about her relationship with Him. She enjoys travelling, baking and watching movies (appreciates a good love story!)