In 2015 I penned the sentence, “Many Christians are startled and saddened by the degree of aloneness they experience in adulthood,” in our Walking with Others process. The loneliness brought on by this pandemic brings an urgency to the need we feel in running toward people during this season.
Few things are more predictive of not finishing well than isolation as a way of life. Living faithfully with Jesus and others is hard to do alone.
Some of us may be more prone to isolation than others, even with spouses and friends.
- Many people do not see their need for help.
- Others have little confidence they are worthy of the time of another; they feel other people are too busy for them, so they don’t want to bother them with their life.
- Others stay isolated because they tried sharing their lives in the past and got burned and hurt; it doesn’t seem worth the risk.
These many resistances to a shared life are undoubtedly bending and misshaping us today toward self-isolation.
Sharing our lives with others will require courage and wisdom. It will involve a lot of unlearning what our individualistic culture or our family of origin may have taught us. Hence the challenge for all of us to run toward people.
Can we realize afresh that by closing ourselves off from others we unwittingly refuse the kindness of God? Because it is in the sharing, honoring, struggling, and enjoying life together, that the Spirit’s nurturing grace becomes real 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). It is a part of the mystery of how God’s Spirit nourishes us as Christ’s body. God’s grace works in us, with us, through us, and among us. The life God has in mind for us is a shared one.
How are you running toward people?