The thing I most dislike about the internet is the lack of understanding that people grow/change.
Like something you said four years ago is held against you now.
Like it’s still part of your character/profile. It makes me scared sometimes because I spent the last ten years heavily on the Internet and I’m sure I said a lot of stupid shit.
I am happy to be held accountable for things I have said in the past but to use them to judge my character now is totally unfair.
“In that inevitable, excruciatingly human moment, we are offered a powerful choice. This choice is perhaps one of the most vitally important choices we will ever make, and it determines the course of our lives from that moment forward. The choice is this: Will we interpret this loss as so unjust, unfair, and devastating that we feel punished, angry, forever and fatally wounded-- or, as our heart, torn apart, bleeds its anguish of sheer, wordless grief, will we somehow feel this loss as an opportunity to become more tender, more open, more passionately alive, more grateful for what remains? ”—Wayne Muller
Alex Writes: Protect Your Happy
Sometimes you have to be still, be silent and greet adversity with love. It’s important that we find balance and comfort in what we gain and lose. I used to have a very hard time letting people go and letting people in. It seemed as though every time I let someone in, soon after I found my self separating myself from them. Whether it was a romantic or platonic relationship, I always chose me first. I can’t be great for people who are bad for me and I had to learn that I needed to stop chasing after relationships that were fading. Some things are worth the fight but others are not. Learning the difference was essential for my growth.
For many years I thought I was being selfish but then I realized that my happiness lies within me and if the company I was keeping didn’t bring light to that happiness they had to go. Protecting your “happy” isn’t selfish and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking precautions to do so. If you know in your heart that you are a good person, you should surround yourself with goodness—whatever or whoever that may be.
Seasons of Loneliness and Isolation: You're Growing
Seasons of being alone and isolated actually bring about a lot of spiritual growth.
I have been through many long seasons of being alone or completely isolated in the past two or so years. I have experienced those seasons both negatively and positively based on the posture of my heart during that time.
I noticed some patterns in those seasons that others who have gone through a similar time could identify with:
- giving into sin to temporarily satisfy desires instead of waiting for God to answer or meet those
- feeling trapped or helpless
- uncared for, unloved, worthless
- insignificant, unnoticed
- ‘completely alone’
- hurt and intense pain
- self-protection, shutting out others
- turning inward, self-focus
I could go on, but you get the idea. These times can be very painful and full of brokenness, but they can also be full of deep joy and intimacy with the Lord. They do not have to be like I described. I found some of my greatest times of growth and development spiritually as a person were the times when God stripped everything else in my life away (literally) and it was just me and Him. That season, and others like it, were not without a purpose. When I looked to and turned to Him during those times, these are some of the things He used it for in my life:
- being broken down and stripped of negative things
- repentance and freedom
- shedding, giving up and removing what needs to go
- deep joy that is more than a feeling
- greater intimacy with the Lord
- new revelation, more understanding in the Word
- more time with God in solitude
- seeking, listening, praying
- attuning your ears to know His voice, hear Him more clearly
- submission and re-aligning of the heart
- authentic worship and refreshing moments in God’s presence
- love for God maturing
- positioning of God as first and greatest love in my heart and of my life
God is molding you during that time. One of the most important things you can do during those times is to look to Christ and keep your eyes fixed on Him. He has been through isolation (in the desert for 40 days He was alone and completely removed from everything). He can give you the strength to persevere through it.
It isn’t the easiest thing to choose to run to Jesus sometimes, for whatever reason, but if you do, no matter how you feel, and keep running to Him, He will meet you there. He is always present but we have to seek Him daily. I can’t tell you, you just have to experience it for yourself, but learning to delight yourself in God, in being in His presence day-by-day, no matter what season you are in, is so incomparable. It is the best. That is where you find all your heart is longing for. It’s in Him.
It is so easy to feel sorry for yourself or feel sad about where you are at in that position, I know, but it actually is a needed season every one of us need to go through. Just because it is hard doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial. Simply come to Him with your whole heart; He’ll do the work.
God uses those seasons of being alone and isolated to draw us closer to Him, to refine and mold us, to strip away what isn’t needed, and largely to shape us into who we need to be. We’ll come out of it a more whole person with our identity based on Christ and His truth (and not anything else). The reward is so much greater than the suffering. It is hard; but you are not truly alone, and it doesn’t last forever. It may seem like it lasts longer than you ever wanted to endure, but it is less and less miserable if you find your comfort, peace, and encouragement in Christ. That is the whole point- to bring you closer to Him. We should praise God for those times. They will shape you into who you are today and God can use them to do mighty things in your heart!