Isolation is so much more than just physical location. It can be described as alone, apart, lonely, secluded. It can take place in the midst of a room filled with people or in physical isolation.
For me, it was an ex who controlled my contact with family to hide his multiple relationships. A chronic illness that doesn’t respect my plans and leaves me sidelined at times.
An engulfing pit of depression that brought me to standing on a steep cliff where I nearly ended my life. The isolation in all of these felt like boxes without a door. I could not escape. I had no hope. I was defeated.
Seclusion has also been my “go-to” response for as long as I can remember. If I’m hurting or struggling, I pull away from close friends and family to protect them from the burden and darkness of my struggles (so I think). Or I go it alone because my situations are far too complex and no one will understand (or so I think).
How did I make it off that cliff? The trauma and exhaustion of trying to end my life caused me to physically and mentally shut down. I didn’t have the stamina to go through with it and drove home to try again on another day.
Once home, a dear friend of mine reached out to ask how I was doing. It took many months to open up about the near suicide, but my friends created a space for me to share. As we processed through it, I could have well ended my life. It was actually the Holy Spirit and body of Christ that came to my rescue.
God challenged my unhealthy relationship by bringing my dear friend into my life who bravely spoke Scripture over me and told me about my identity as a precious and loved child of God. It took years and more friends to speak the same truth over and over for me to no longer feel isolated. This is the body of Christ coming to my rescue.
As for my health, that is a continuing challenge, but God uses this, too. I’m drawn to seek His comfort and find myself setting special time with Him to pray and read His scriptures. He has answered my prayers in a number of ways. He has led me back into community, deeper understanding, and even gospel-sharing opportunities.
There are times I don’t handle it all well, but I’m being strengthened to look up, trusting myself to our faithful God that sees everything and still sent His son to die in my place in order to save me.