A tendency toward self-isolation

Written by on March 15, 2017

Edward Hopper Nighthawks

 Many people are startled and saddened by the degree of aloneness they experience in adulthood. From the outside it seems like family and work and church would provide a vital sense of being known. For many, though, the reality of their hectic and competitive lives keeps them skimming across the surface of their relationships with spouse and children and coworkers and their church community. Their intentions for faithful living and service are well meaning, even noble, but their individualistic approaches prove inadequate to the task. They have consciously or unconsciously sought to make it on their own, and have found, over time, their lives desperately lacking, their souls shriveled. Sadly, the tale of an individual human life is too often told as a sequence of independent and unshared moments.



As we pay attention to the rhythm of our lives, a critical element to discern is this tendency toward isolation. Few things are more predictive of not finishing well than isolation as a way of life. Living faithfully with Jesus and others is simply too hard to do alone. So in the midst of our many relationships do we confide in and pray with and sort out our deepest questions and life challenges with some key people? Or do we have a prevailing tendency to keep this type of stuff to ourselves?



Sharing our lives with others will require courage and wisdom, and it will involve a lot of unlearning what our individualistic culture or our family of origin may have taught us. In all of this we must come to discover that by remaining closed off to sharing life with others we unwittingly refuse the kindness of God. Because it is in the sharing, honoring, struggling, and enjoying of life together, the Spirit’s nurturing grace is imparted to us. A trusted relationship or community will be the place where we most often experience being known and loved by God (the Psalm 139 reality). This is simply part of the mystery of how God’s Spirit nourishes us as Christ’s body. The life God has in mind for us is truly a shared life together.


Reflect and Pray:

Are you relationally rich and well assured by good friendships? 

Or is there evidence of self-isolation in spite of your friendships? 

Does anyone really know you?

Convert your thoughts into a prayer… 


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