Skip to main content

Insulated and Isolated


I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as you promised.  When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed. I was up at once, didn't drag my feet, was quick to follow your orders.  The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.  I get up in the middle of the night to thank you; your decisions are so right, so true—I can't wait till morning! 
(Psalm 119:58-62 The Message)

It is not an uncommon thing to tell God that we want ALL his blessings - each and every good thing that he has promised to us.  I wonder how many of us really know how to receive what has been given!  Most of us do a good job with the "asking" part -- but when it comes to "receiving" we stink!  We simply don't believe the provision is true, or we just don't reach out and make the blessing fully ours.  

David reminds us that it is in the times of taking those "long and hard looks" into our lives - truly seeing the way are headed by the choices we are making - that we come face to face with the provisions of God.  In the "pondering of our ways" we often realize that course corrections are in order.  We have a tendency to drift without even knowing we are drifting - yet our choices are clear cut indications of the direction we are traveling!

When we are "adrift" in life choices, we often find ourselves at a point where our "feet are swept out from under us".  Many times we don't even know what happened to get us "down" -- we just know we are no longer standing strong.  Yesterday I told a co-worker that I sometimes feel alone in a whole crowd of people.  I can be surrounded with people enjoying life and having a great time celebrating each other -- yet in the midst of all that revelry, I feel isolated.

Why is it that I get to this place?  Why is it that you may find yourself alongside me in that same place of "isolation" in the midst of so much activity?  There are probably a couple of reasons:

- I think it might be because we have "insulated" ourselves so that we cannot really be approached by others and affected by their lives.  There are times in life that we just don't want any influence from "without" to impact what it is that we are experiencing "within".  So, we insulate ourselves, keeping what we are experiencing to ourselves.  This can be a very dangerous spot to find ourselves in -- isolated people who insulate themselves from the influence of others often drift deeper into the "stories" they are telling themselves!  For instance, if we honestly believe that we have not one talent that the group may benefit from, we isolate and insulate, so that we won't be hurt when we experience their PERCEIVED "rejection".  In actuality, if we never venture out of our protection, we will never know if there will be rejection!

- Perhaps it might be a result of some failure that we are brooding over.  We find ourselves bemoaning some aspect of character flaw that we continue to struggle with and "pull inside" so as not to allow others to see that "flaw" any clearer than it is already apparent.  Guess what?  No matter how much "cover-up stick" we apply to a blemish, there is still a blemish underneath all that make-up!  It may not be glowing bright red on the end of our nose, but it is still there!  It is amazing to me that we think that our character flaws will simply not be apparent if we skillfully cover over them with some type of "mask" we apply.  The truth is -- God is in the business of uncovering us so that we can be comfortable being just as we are -- no masks needed.

David reminds us that he gets down sometimes.  He gets off course at others. Maybe the two go hand-in-hand.  Yet, when he does, he recalls God's promise to be gracious to him -- a sinful man, prone to act in wrong ways on occasion, given to thinking wrongly about himself and others.  The grace of God is the basis of all of God's promises toward us.  Look at just a few of God's promises that David often recounted:

 8 Real help comes from God Your blessing clothes your people! (Psalm 3:8 The Message)

3-4 The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on you and fell on their faces.   You took over and set everything right; when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.  (Psalm 9:3-4 The Message)

8 And I'm an olive tree, growing green in God's house. I trusted in the generous mercy of God then and now.  (Psalm 52:8 The Message)

David knew his help was found in God and no other.  He recognized that the blessings of God are an encompassing thing - clothing his people in grace and mercy.  His protector and deliverer was none other than God - he kept that squarely before him even in the times when enemy influences seemed to be closing in around him, making him feel isolated and insulated.  He counted on the fact that God would regain control - even when he had taken the control out of God's hands for a while.  He owned up to the fact that growth was simply impossible unless God did the planting.  Look at the theme of what he repeatedly recounts -- I trusted God THEN and NOW.  

Getting back up on one's feet is not an easy matter -- it is made much easier when we trust God to do the lifting!  Trust him when you see no way out.  Recount his mercies when you feel no hope in your failure.  Open up to him when you begin to feel isolated and insulated from the very blessings he has placed in your life.  Then, and only then, will you be able to say, "I am walking in every promise you have given!"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Hey, friend me!

When we really determine to walk the pathway of a disciple, it will cost us. The pathway is not always traveled by as many of those we call "friends" as we'd like to think. Yet, when we find someone to travel with us in this journey of faith, what a blessing it is! We need each other to understand and fulfill God's calling on our lives. We each compliment the other, challenging and uplifting, learning together what is contained deep in the Word of God.

Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to you. I say to God, "Be my Lord!" Without you, nothing makes sense. And these God-chosen lives all around—what splendid friends they make! (Psalm 16:1-3)

David's words ring true in the hearts of many who engage in this walk of discipleship with Christ - without you, God, absolutely nothing makes sense at all. We can attempt to make sense out of tragedy, loss, or even a success all on our own. Without God, and those he places in our lives as fellow travelers…