ISOLATION KILLS

We are now completing a full

year of having our lives turned

upside down. We wear masks,

avoid contact with people, and

generally stay away from the

places we formerly frequented.

While most everyone feels these are necessary safety measures, there is a downside of which many are unaware.

Humans are social beings and isolation is a killer.

ISOLATION is a KILLER

We are no longer allowed to gather in large groups. Some of our favorite eating spots have closed. The elderly are no longer able to meet at their local Senior Center, which means many of them have no social interaction at all through the week.

These cracks in our regular social life can have a negative effect on our psyche if we are not careful.

We can begin to feel left out, unwanted, like we don’t belong. What little time we do get together at church or at a restaurant or even a chance meeting in the grocery store is now handled differently.

Gone are the friendly handshakes and hugs. Gone is the lengthy time spent talking while the world moves around us.

Some of us are in ZOOM meetings two, maybe three times a week, but that does not fill the social need—it may just keep something at bay. Many are beginning to suffer from ZOOM fatigue.

This vacancy in our life begins to get magnified in our mind. We begin to feel like we NEVER get to see anyone.

Pretty soon that translates into NOBODY wants to be with me.

When I say it like this, it is easy to see the lie for what it is. However, if we are in the midst of this, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a sense of reality.

After Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, he ran for his life from Jezebel. (1 Kings 18-19) He became isolated and cried out to the Lord saying he was ready to die.

Isolation does that. It can make you feel like you should just die.

If someone has gotten to this place in their thinking and feeling, telling them to “reach out” will not help. YOU need to be proactive and reach out to others. Call your friends. Call your neighbors. Call the elderly.

It will help you to avoid the sense of isolation for yourself, and will help them to know that someone does still care.

Make a list of people and call at least one of them per day on a regular basis.

In this way, you will fulfill Matt. 25:36—I was …sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

The Socialization of Loneliness

NOTE: This post was lifted from a comment posted under “Church Repair.” I have known this writer for more than 40 years; before I was a Christian. I think her statements reflect the feelings and experiences of many of our readers.
By Charlotte McCann
I would also like to comment on loneliness, but don’t see a category to put it in. 🙂 However, I feel it is a direct result of the church not being what it should be, so will put it here.
I struggled with loneliness most of my growing up years. Then I met Jesus. And for the next 17 years loneliness simply was not a part of my life. We always had believers as friends and meaningful involvement in each others lives, even if we were only in a given geographical location for a short time.

And then, 20 years ago, we returned to the Bible Belt and moved into a small town, knowing no one.

I have struggled with guilt over the tremendous loneliness I have experienced over these past 20 years, though I guess I finally accepted it as part of life around 6 or 7 years ago. However, just lately I have heard of 3 instances that just about cover the gamut of experiences and all my guilt has finally left me. I finally truly see that I am not the problem; rather our modern church/culture is.

The 3 instances:

A 30’ish married couple with young children who have been part of a church for over a year in a new community they moved into. Lonely. Are wanting to move somewhere where they might have friends. Great people. Not weird or strange or shallow. Fun loving and interesting fellow believers. Lonely.

A 24 year old son on the edges of our culture who has never even pretended to attend church or have a serious relationship with our Lord since getting out of school and out on his own. Just admitted to not having a single friend (though he “socializes” a lot). But he sees the shallowness of his social life and realizes how lonely he is.

A very sweet 80 year old woman who has been widowed many years and been a part of an established church for probably over 20 years, going about doing good. Not self-righteous or pious or full of pity. But lonely.

And so I realize truly I am not alone. And how sad it is. And cry out, “Church, where are you???!!!) It is certainly not what is out there now.

I am interested to see what Mr. Viola and his friend have to say as to what the church truly should be. I understand that first we must lift up our Lord and that our goal is a relationship with Him — not friendships. I am on board with this. Yet He walked this earth and died for us — for others. Can we do less?

 

Editor’s Note: I remember reading of an exercise a researcher did. He visited many churches over the course of a year paying close attention to whether he was noticed or not. More often than not, he got out without anyone having ever spoken to him. Today, that is not the case. We have plenty of people designated to interact with anyone and everyone who comes through the doors of the church building. Sadly, though, the continuing testimony that I hear is either “I don’t feel welcome,” or “I’m lonely.”