I understand this struggle because when I’m facing messy situations, I am tempted to isolate and I often do isolate. So I can give a resounding me too to this one. I think there can be, for those of us who are tempted this way, there can be a sense that there’s something good in pulling back. And of course, there’s truth to that because, when we pull back, we then can seek the Lord, and if we seek the Lord and we bring our struggle with these emotions or with this relationship, good can come from that because, in truth, Jesus can say, “Me too.” He suffered in ways that we can’t even understand and he died for us, and because of that, we have the ability to face these struggles.
So we can look at that and think, “Okay, here’s something good about pulling back.” But the reality is there’s a very big danger in isolating, and I think part of it has to do with, when we isolate, when we pull back, we tend to define everything that’s happening. Here’s my actions. Here’s the other person’s actions. Or here’s this experience I had. Here’s what I should know. Here’s what I should take from it. And we end up turning inwards and getting locked into the very suffering that we’re facing. But God has a better plan. God creates us for community.
God is community and He wants us to reach out, to Him, yes, first and foremost in a way, but also to the people around us. And there’s a gift in reaching out and asking for prayer. There’s a gift in telling a story and hearing sometimes “Me too,” or sometimes, “Yeah, that sounds hard.” Sometimes, it’s true, when we reach out for community, it can be hard because we’re not understood or there’s further pain in that interaction. But we can bring those experiences to the Lord as well and we can address them with the people in our lives. And the blessing of grace and growth comes through, best, through community because that’s what God has provided for us with Himself and with one another.