While I don't often like the feeling of being alone and separated away from my family, there are times when I enjoy some quiet time; as when I go hunting or take a day sabbatical to be alone with Him. Sitting amidst His creation for a time of rest and reflection is wonderful, but in general I love to be around people, primarily my family. However there are times when the feeling of being alone was not welcoming at all.
I remember a time a couple years back when I went to the UK on a business trip for a week. I was there previously for another business trip with a group, but this time it was just me. I travelled alone, had a hotel alone, and went to and from the office outside London alone. To some this may seem like a wonderful trip, and I initially thought it was going to be for me as well, but it was miserable!
The hotel was wonderful; I stayed at the Tower Hotel in downtown London right across from the Tower Bridge seen in the picture. The food was wonderful, the service was wonderful, and even the weather was wonderful! I however missed my wife and kids terribly. I could probably explain several reasons why I felt this way, but my point is simply that when I think of a time when I really felt alone, it was then.
So today on the way to work, as I was listening to a talk from The Pineapple Stories, and something was said that really showed me other ways I am alone; or perhaps other ways that I choose to be alone.
"When you tell people everything is fine, you're facing your problems alone. And Christianity was never made to face alone." - Otto KoningIt reminded me of how true this statement is, as in Scripture we read about Jethro (Moses' father-in-law) speaking wisdom seeing him so overburdened with work.
You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. (Exodus 18:18 ESV)I sadly fall into this category all too often, and by choice. Perhaps it's an aspect of control in me that doesn't want to let go; so at work, home, or sometimes socially I refuse to let others in as those words "I'm fine, how are you?" leave my lips all too often. My life certainly is filled with blessings, but when I'm struggling I still seem to fight the urge to internalize; a vicious cancer of the soul that certainly can cause physical harm as well. Culture tells me to be tough, and deal with my struggles. Culture tells me that asking for help is a sign of weakness. However I can't serve both God and popular culture; they are not inclusive of eachother. Besides, He most certainly did not plan for us to burden ourselves, in fact it's quite the opposite.
"I'll be my brother's keeper, so the whole world will know that we're not alone" - I want to make those lyrics from one of my favorite songs a reality. However it starts with my authenticity and transparency to those close to me, as it's that level of authenticity that draws us closer together.
Join me ...
Father, may you continue to teach me that while being physically alone can be a struggle for me, isolating myself from others who can lift me up in prayer, support me, and show Your love through them, is not a solution. May I learn to embrace my struggles by reaching out to those you guide me to, and let Your healing hand be used in others as You use me for them. May I learn to submit to you daily, so that You can restore me daily in return.