Isolation

I really like being with people, but I also like to have some quiet time in order to process what’s gone on. Being amongst people from different backgrounds who don’t understand where you’re coming from and don’t necessarily say things the same way you would – it can be hard, and if I’ve had one of those difficult days, I like to come home, flop onto the sofa and get into a book that’s going to lift my mood. Sometimes I get far more encouragement and strength from reading a book by someone in my situation than I do from people who’ve never experienced it.

The problem comes when my four walls become my safety net. I’m tempted sometimes just to be around family and close friends, and not to bother with anybody else. After all, no one can upset me if I’m not there, but here’s a Bible-verse that really hit me earlier in the year: “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire” (Proverbs 18:1). So it’s saying isolation is selfish? I always thought of it as unselfish. If I’m feeling fragile, I won’t go, they won’t upset me, I won’t fly off the handle and everybody wins … but that’s not what the Bible says. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2).

Brian May (my hero as a teenager) said once: “If you’re hardened off, you’re not living,” and he’s right. I have to let people see the real me – not just me when I’ve got it all together. “The fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is … self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Fruit needs a chance to grow. If I choose to be with people and let the growth happen, surely that can only be a good thing.

Have you ever been tempted to isolate yourself? If you’re unable to leave the house, what ways have you found to connect and grow?

31 Jesus-Benefits: Self-Control

“But the fruit of the Spirit is … self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Self-control.

That might seem a strange passage to highlight in this series, but its truth has helped me a lot. We’re told the Spirit and the flesh are against each other. One of my fleshly weaknesses? I haven’t always been great at coping when things didn’t go according to plan, particularly when the situation could have been avoided if I’d had my eyesight. It would be so easy for me to rest on my laurels and say: “That’s the way I am. Too bad if people can’t accept it,” but that’s not what God expects. Like fruit on a tree, He expects the qualities His Spirit produces in us to grow, including self-control. I really appreciate that God wants me to aspire to something better – to being like Christ.

“He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is” (1 John 3:2).

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