How are you dealing with isolation? Update

Today, I was thinking about a time when I was full of fear and a deep sense of loneliness.  There was no doubt that there was something seriously missing in my life.  Something that went way beyond my situation in life.  As we are all dealing with the coronavirus, I can’t help but wonder how many people are having the same experience right now – full of fear and loneliness.  Considering the scope and isolation of this pandemic, it must be a lot of people.  Some may recognize that these feelings have been with them long before the virus. Maybe the feelings are just magnified by the chaos in our world.

I vividly remember my days of, well, emptiness.  With every part of my being, I never want to go back to living like that.  Sure, I have moments of fear and loneliness, but it is only because my heart misaligns and I need to refocus.  Refocus?  Have you ever heard the phrase “filled with the Spirit”?  You may know exactly what this means.  Others may think this sounds like nonsense.  Stick with me on this for a moment.  Some things seem like nonsense until we experience them ourselves.  Remember being a child and not listening to advice from your parents.  Later, you discover that they were right, and you think “how did they know?!?”  Experience.

God knows that life on this planet can be hard, and He doesn’t want us to walk through this alone.  He wants a relationship with us.  To have this relationship, He gives us His Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is my constant companion.  He helps me go back to sleep when I wake up overwhelmed.  He helps me calm down when I get stressed at work.  The times I need to refocus are when I forget that the Holy Spirit is with me – when I try to live on my own strength.  I can tell you doing things on my own is not good.  The Holy Spirit fills me with peace, love, self-control and more.  There are still hard days – on my own, I would dig myself deeper into a the hole.  He carries me through.

I get it.  This is hard to believe or understand without experiencing it yourself.  I encourage you to do some investigating.  Here are some suggestions on how you can do this.  I recommend that you try each of these.

  1. Go directly to the source.

Ask Him.  Ask Jesus if He is real and if there is a Holy Spirit.  He loves to talk with us.  Jesus is all about relationship.  Though, it is important to address Him by name.  He wants you to talk to Him directly and not some vague higher power.  

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18 ESV

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Acts 2:21 ESV

  1. Go to the book.

One of the best ways to learn about God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is by reading the Bible.  It explains history, what God is doing, why we need Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and even your purpose in life.  Now, some of it might be confusing at first. Give it time.  I highly recommend starting with a Bible reading plan.  Using the YouVersion app, a great option is Nicky Gumbel’s “Bible in One Year”.  (It is also available as a book).  Nicky Gumbel does an excellent job of introducing each day’s reading and bringing it to life.

  1. Go to Alpha.

The Alpha Course is a series of videos and discussions that give you an opportunity to learn about Jesus and to ask your tough questions.  There is no need to hold back or to hide your skepticism.  In these days of coronavirus, we cannot literally go anywhere.  Fortunately, there are Alpha courses available online.  Nicky Gumbel actually developed this course and his church, HTB, offers an online Alpha class.  It consists of eleven sessions.  Each session includes a video and a discussion area.  To learn more go to http://www.htb.org/alpha.

You might not believe what I am sharing; however, I can tell you my life has been blessed by my faith in Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Check it out for yourself.  And truly, you can expect great things – like nothing before in your life.

Edit:  A friend of mine shared this video of HTB’s Easter message which discusses our situation with the Coronavirus, the hope of Jesus, Alpha and even touches on His Holy Spirit.  It seemed like a perfect addition to this post.  I hope you take the time to watch.

Thank you for reading my post.  May you stay healthy and find hope & peace.  Essie

Trapped

Today begins my third week of isolation due to COVID-19.  My work took early precautions and asked all of our office staff to work from home.  By the end of the first week, our governor was asking everyone to do the same thing.  It is strange being so isolated from other people.  Even us introverts long for some level of interaction with other people – just in small, controlled quantities.  Though, I am very fortunate that I can keep working, for now, unlike so many other people who are unable to work.  State after state is beginning to mandate their residents to stay home.  For most of us, this is not a terrible situation.  We can video chat with our friends and families.  And for those of us with children and/or pets, we are finding more quality time with them.  My concern is for the people who are now trapped in a horrible situation with no safe place for escape.

When my family moved to West Virginia when I was a child, we were extremely isolated.  We were so far back into the woods that there was barely a road.  The only time we left our land was for work, school, and grocery shopping.  These were usually bundled together since it was a trip to go anywhere.  Very rarely, we would visit a neighbor (the closest neighbor was probably about a half mile away).  School was my only escape from the loneliness and quarreling.  Then my parents decided I should be homeschooled.  This is following the spring that the sexual abuse began, again.  Without school, I had no place to escape – I was trapped.  My mom was working at the hospital and volunteering as an EMT so she wasn’t home very much.  It was horrible.

My only saving grace in the situation was that I was very good at math.  You might be wondering how being good at math would have anything to do with this or even be helpful.  Well, the homeschooling fell to my father (and what a joke that was).  He dropped out of school early.  As a seventh grader, I already knew more math than he did.  I was able to use that to end the homeschooling and return to school after the Christmas break.  My time of complete isolation lasted for seven months.

If you are currently isolated in a horrible situation, please know that it will not last forever.  The voices in your head saying “it will always be like this” are from an evil place.  Don’t believe them!  On this earth, forever is not real.  Everything has a beginning and an end.  Please don’t give up on yourself.  You may be in a terrible place now, yet cling to the hope of what is beyond it.  Focus on your future.  The church is an excellent place to find hope.  In today’s isolation, so many churches have started offering online services.  This makes it easy for you to try out many different churches.  You don’t need a ride there.  You don’t have to worry about talking to people you don’t know.  You don’t have to worry about fitting in.  And many of the services are recorded too so you can decide when to watch the service.  You don’t have to try to make Sunday morning work.  All church congregations are a little different.  Keep trying different ones until you find one that suits you.  

The point of this is to encourage you to find a source of hope.  Jesus became my hope and my Savior.  He wants to save everyone and give us a better life.  May He become your hope and Savior too.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  John 3:16-17 ESV

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

 

https://www.bible.com/59/jhn.3.16-17.esv
https://www.bible.com/59/jer.29.11.esv