Monday, February 9, 2015

Unplugging from Isolation


If you watched me while I worked, spent time with my family or the ladies in my bible study group you would swear I was an extrovert.

Not so.

I’m a die-hard introvert. Or maybe I’m a chameleon. Either way, I’m not as outgoing or as open as I may present myself. Now it’s not that I’m lying to the world, it’s just that what you see is only a small part of who I am.

I’m a guarded person. There’s been way too much heartache in my life for me to fee comfortable truly letting my guard down and letting others really get to know me.

But God’s not done with me yet.

In fact, as I started thinking and praying about what direction and focus God would have me concentrate on this year; I was somewhat surprised when He didn’t actually give me a single word like He had in the past, like faith and joy. This time He gave me “relational living.”

(Sigh) Seriously Lord, I thought. What exactly am I not doing that You want me to focus on relational living?

Honestly I had no clue until a couple of weeks later while I was sitting in service and the pastor mentioned the words, “unplugging from isolation" did I even consider the correlation between relational living (purposefully reaching out to those God places in our lives versus hiding away from relationships in order to self-protect).

Now we all know that our world or at least part of it, lives, breathes, eats, sleeps and thinks technology in one way shape or another. And there’ve been plenty of studies that have shown that the more our society connects electronically the more we disengage from one another.

So at first I thought, “Not me Lord, you know I barely watch tv, my phone has more gadgets unused than used on it and frankly if I didn’t live with 3 techie’s in my life to fix the computer hiccups, I’d throw the stinker in the trash and move on.”

However, that’s not quite what He meant…
Instead God, as I have started figuring out, wanted to point out that I was isolating myself from others on purpose. Ouch!

Not me Lord...really?

My past is filled with deep heartaches and betrayals that began at an early age so I learned to protect myself by keeping a smile on my face, going through the motions and never really allowing myself to engage in any sort of real relationships, with the exception of my husband and children. Everyone else is kept at bay.

So to have God push me out of my comfort zone and try to connect with those He’s placed in my life, yep, this one’s gonna be a doozy and frankly I’m not so sure about any of this.

But here’s what ’m learning. When I’m obedient to what God is calling me to do, He is with me (and you) every step of the way, and we are never alone.

When I started thinking about my walk with Christ and how, if I am going to go deeper and not just have a surface relationship, and really allow God to work in and through my life, then, my first step is obedience.

But what does that look like? How do I unplug from isolation?

First I prayed about it and asked God to show me a way to step out in faith to do what He was asking.

The first thing He had me do was take something I love to do: cooking – and serve the ladies in my bible study.

Now this may seem pretty easy and the cooking part was. But what was hard was stepping out, offering something about myself (my cooking abilities) share it with the ladies in the group.

Now for someone like me that’s HUGE! I tend to skirt into class, take the bible study, offer a little small talk and then bolt once the video is over.

Not so now. For the past few weeks, I’ve brought something to share to my group. And God bless these sweet ladies, they’ve been gracious and wonderful.

I don’t like the attention. It scares me to death. Especially when someone lengthens the conversation beyond a “Thanks for bringing this, I skipped dinner to get the kids to church on time.”

But I’m doing it anyway. Shaking in my boots, scared someone will actually talk to me or rather, want to talk to me, but I’m doing it anyway.

Why?

God asked me to. And I love Him. And I want to grow and be changed by His love. Not only for myself but so that others in my life, however few they may be at the moment :) will also be touched by His love. So while this is hard and most times I want to run and hide I have a feeling that’s not gonna happen. I'm gonna keep stepping out in faith, one tiny step at a time and allow Him to change me.

There's a saying that goes something like this: You can’t serve two masters. Do I love and serve God even though unplugging from isolation is hard and very uncomfortable or do I serve myself and my protective nature and go back home having never reached out to try and make new friends and to grow beyond the pain?

I can’t do both...

I choose God. I choose to trust Him, knowing in advance He loves me more than to leave me where I am.

And I’m thankful.

What about you? Is God calling you to unplug from isolation? Are you hiding from a hurt or a pain that you don’t want to face? I’m right there with you!  But more importantly, God is with us. He will strengthen, lead and guide us through every difficult, challenging growth opportunity if we only turn to Him and ask Him to lead the way.


I’m game…are you?  

I'll be praying for you every step of the way.

Until next time,

Blessings & best wishes,
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