I am on a journey. So are you. We are all on the same road that Christian traveled in Pilgrim’s Progress. Anyone feel like you are in the Slough of Despond, trampled in the Valley of Humiliation, fighting the monster Apollyon, lost in Shadow of Death, or trapped in the Doubting Castle? Maybe your constant companions are Giant Despair, Talkative, Flatterer, Worldly Wiseman, or the smooth talking Demas?
So if we are all on the same journey, how do we make it to the end? Community living is the answer. The church, defined as a community of believers, is God’s means to get each of His sojourners safely home. We help each other. After we unlock a gate to the next level, we share the key. When we experience a victory, we teach the next ones the strategy for success. We lock arms and travel the road together.
Isolationism is a tool from the pit of Hell itself. We can isolate ourselves by choosing to live as far from others as possible. But we can also isolate ourselves when we live in the midst of a city of millions. Worse of all, we can isolate ourselves from God when we immerse ourselves in our own thoughts and drown out His Spirit and Truth.
Choosing to live isolated is choosing to go it alone. It is making a declaration to yourself and the world that you are sufficient within yourself. Those who refuse community life have the mindset that they are super human and without need of others. That sounds like idolatry to me? What do you think?
You can be a member of a church and still live isolated. I see it all the time. These people visit my porch occasionally. They normally wait for their lives to crash and burn before they come for help. They seek some encouraging words, a Band-Aid, a kiss on the wound and then off they go to their isolated life until the next crisis. In this vicious cycle nothing ever changes.
Our western culture has taught us to live self-sufficient, super-hero, lone ranger lives. Men strive to climb the ladder of success alone. Women in the workforce are often more aggressive and less trusting than their male counterparts. Stay-at-home moms want to prove they can do it alone. We tell our graduates now it’s your turn so go out there and go it alone. Sadly we continue to train the future generations in this corrupt worldview.
I have lived these past seven years in a spot of the Arizona desert where many people have moved to isolate themselves. I see its devastating effects. I have become a victim to the madness of this thinking. But my downfall didn’t start here. It started from childhood when I learned that supermoms did everything for themselves AND they do it all perfectly all the time. Lies! Lies from Satan himself!
So since we are on this journey together, lock arms with me and let me share with you some keys to unlock those prison doors. Along the way, please share some keys that have brought you victory. I need you!
REST, get your eight hours of sleep each night!
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15b
These past few weeks I have suffered from sleep deprivation. I have been helping Tori and Dustin as often as I can with baby Eli. I love to take the night shift because there is nothing more precious on this earth than a little baby snuggling in at night. But truth be told, I have suffered the ill effects of lack of sleep.
I challenge you to Google the topic and you will most likely label yourself as a poorly functioning sleep deprived zombie. God created the brain to require at least eight hours of sleep each night. I learned that throughout the night different portions of the brain rest. Therefore if we don’t get the required hours, then there will be portions of our brains unable to function properly. In those cases, other areas will compensate but with limited abilities. It was even stated that being sleep deprived for an extended period of time with drastically shorten a person’s life span due to the breakdown of their immune system.
When I returned home from caregiving, I can honestly tell you that my body, my mind, and my spirit were all hugely affected by the lack of proper rest. Everything hurt all the time. I had no strength or desire to function. I sunk into a pit and fell prey to self-pity. I got lost inside my own mind and that’s a dangerous place to be. (I will address this in Key #2) Let’s just say I was not a nice person to be around. 😉
It took a few days to recover. I am amazed at how easily my creativity, clarity of thought, strength, and even my joy returned. I just needed to rest. I needed to admit I am not super human. I needed to trust God’s instructions for this body He created. I found my joy in obedience.
How about you? Could this be one of the causes of your constant struggles?
Are you a mom that refuses to ask for help?
Do you think it is a sign of weakness to admit your need?
Do you lay awake at night and fret about your day or worry about your tomorrows?
Do you watch TV instead of sleep?
Do you over extend yourself and not leave time for rest?
Child, where is your trust? Jesus slept through a hurricane in a fishing boat on the raging sea. So should we!