I consider myself in introvert. I don’t do very well with making new friends or sparking conversation with random people, I stick to myself. It was always a good time for me to stay at home and chill, voluntary isolation.
Recently, I have crept into a place of involuntary isolation, or what seems to be exile. People I talked to all the time, I no longer hear from. People I loved and who loved me back are too far away to be recognized. Exile.
We have all heard it said that once you leave your comfort zone all the same friends will not be there beside you. Some will be there to support, others will be there to criticize. It is easier to speak about making a change than to act upon it.
Change is a word in so many of our vocabularies, but more as a noun than a verb.
So what occurs when you act on the verb Change?
- You embark on unfamiliar territory.
- You confuse those who are more interested in the noun than the verb.
- You unintentionally make yourself a target for negativity.
- You exit the realm of human validation
Change takes work. Change takes commitment. Change can be painful.
Am I an expert on this? No, but I know from recent experience.
Over the last few months I have been walking through my path of change. It has helped me to experience a new freedom and also a new challenge. I have spent a lot of my years looking for validation from those around me. I need to hear a good job to feel someone is noticing my work. Well, what happens when all those giving you high fives disappear? You have to seek validation from the God who gave you the assignment. I feel so sure about my actions, but I experience more negativity than support from the people who once surrounded me. I experience people who dumped me like trash telling me I wasn’t there for them during a difficult time in my own life. You expect to hear from people who never call. Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness were knocking on the door as I sang heartfelt Drake lyrics ” All of my let’s just be friends are friends I don’t have anymore, How do you not check on me when things go wrong?..” It is all unfamiliar territory.
Pastor Steven Furtick said in a message 2 weeks ago that we have to give God our attention. That us giving Him our attention gives us access to His presence. He also said “There is access in Exile”, meaning you can still tap into the presence when you are feeling isolated and pushed away. God appeared as a burning bush to Moses to get his attention, Moses was in exile but still experienced the presence. No matter how alone you may feel, God’s presence will be that company you crave. His love will be that support you need. His word is the validation that makes it all make sense. This is encouragement to my own spirit.
Do not shy away from the verb, because of all of the resistance that may come your way. Know what to expect and know who to rely on. Know who is Facebook creeping and who is actually checking up on you, know who to respond to and who to ignore! I and anyone in this similar season have to seek God and use this time to draw close to Him, instead of focusing on what you may be missing out on. God won’t take His love away from us based on the opinion of men, so why condemn yourself the way men do and deny the love of Christ that is available to us?
Sometimes we deal with isolation that is painful, but the refinement that is the result of the pain will be worth it.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1: 2-3