Isolation Can Be Healthy + Holy or Risky + Destructive
In today's IG Live Video I share some thoughts about seasons of isolation.
It was provoked from my pastor friend, Isaiah and thought it was worthy of having a conversation around.
Have you ever been processing through tough stuff in life and found yourself feeling a bit isolated and alone? So have I. And many others. Let's talk through it and discover how it can be healthy and holy and when it could be risky and destructive.
Processing life in isolation is really subjective and relative to how one functions. Some personality types are more introverted and others are extroverted. Some people enjoy time away in the quiet place, to pray, journal or just soak in God’s presence…others really get breakthrough by externally processing with friends, family, trusted advisors, counselors or coaches.
Jesus Isolated Himself
We’re given a few biblical accounts where Jesus broke away from the crowd and isolated himself. He did so to remove distractions and commune with His Father. There’s so much peace, healing and revelation available at the feet of Jesus. In the hardest, most agonizing seasons of my life, I just imaged myself crawled up in Abba’s lap and tried to imagine listening to His heart to soothe me into a place of rest. My most intimate times encountering love is when I chose to go straight to Him for refuge and rest before anyone else. These moments developed such a deeper level of intimacy with me and God and are times I am so thankful for. They are the moments that have empowered my faith…far above some fabulous worship night or profound message from my favorite preacher. In the quiet place, under the shadow of His wings, barricaded with His strong arms of love….I pray you experience an intimacy like this as well…and not just as a result from hardship…but in elated seasons of celebration as well!
Prolonged Isolation Can Be Dangerous
Extended periods of isolation could be dangerous because it leaves us vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. A lone soldier is more susceptible for attack then when he’s with his crew. Even most animals travel with their flock, pack, or herd so that they can protect one another from the threats of their enemies. The enemy loves to play mind games with us and always does through through lies and accusation. When you’re hearing things like “Nobody cares…” “You’re just a burden…” “Everyone has their own problems, they don’t want to help you through yours…” Friend, these are lies. Jesus instituted The Church as a Body and the Body can’t function properly when all the parts aren’t connected. I know it’s particularly hard to process these thoughts, especially in times of processing betrayal, accusation, divorce, breakups, job loss, etc. because you’re wondering who is safe to confide in. But, hear me when I say…you are NOT alone and there ARE people that love you and actually want to be included in your healing process.
Know Your Core Group
It’s super important to have a very well defined group of people that are your trusted advisors, wise counselors, genuine friends; your advisory board. These are the people who are tried, tested and true. They’ve weathered storms and walked with you through many seasons of your life and have proved to be for you, with you and not against you. They are the people you invite into the sacred places of your heart and give permission to speak into your life. These are people that steer you to truth and speak life into you.
In order to avoid making unhealthy agreements and writing a story based in 1/2 truth and emotionally charged, your Core Group of Counselors and advisors They aim to call you UP and into the fullness of your identity and refocus your mind on God’s promises and His faithfulness…they’re not ones that call you OUT or use blame, shame and manipulation tactics. They’ll sometimes challenge your paradigms, confront your bad attitudes and offer you and alternative way of understanding things. It won’t always feel good, but it’s worth it.
I’m sure you already know…maybe you’ve even felt the pains of this reality: But not everyone who is WITH you is FOR you. You have every right to guard your heart. In fact, Proverbs 4:23 advises us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Some people, though well-meaning, yet uninvited may try to insert their unsolicited advice. Often times, they don’t know the full story and so it will be common for them to fill in the blanks with their own assumptions and then offer advise out of ignorance. Take it from me, it happens all the time. And it can be very intrusive and hurtful.
If you encounter this, my encouragement is to set very clear boundaries with the person. Maybe you could say something like this, “Hey Betty…I’m sure you mean well and I appreciate your desire to encourage me. I want you to know I’ve been praying and processing with the Lord as well as my trusted group of counselors and advisors. I know I have a strong support team to walk me through this.”….and leave it at that.
There have been too many times in the past when I’m in my most vulnerable state and I’ve not set these clear boundaries. I then found myself in the middle of these unwelcome conversations feeling the pressure of having the explain the whole story to people who really have no business to know it. There have been so many moments where I then felt like I had to counsel someone else through their assumptions or emotions and I, quite frankly, wasn’t in the place of emotional strength to do so. Then there have been other times when I felt the frustration of being misunderstood and feeling the need to defend myself. But I recognize now that I am the manager of ME. And I am under no obligation to process my life with anyone other than the trusted ones I choose. It is simply up to me to communicate boundaries with clarity and love and choose to remain confident in that despite how they react. Because, just as I am the manager of me, they must manage their emotions as well. That’s not my job. And it’s not yours. I know it can be uncomfortable or seem harsh, but Dear One, it’s your responsibility to use discernment and protect your peace.
If you’re an external processor, it can become really easy to become overly dependent on others to see you through things. My advice is to “take it to the throne before you take it to the phone.” In other words, your first place to process is at the feet of Jesus…not calling your best friend or blasting all the things on social media.
There have been times in the past I expected my pastors to be there for me through hard times and was so disappointed, hurt and offended when they couldn’t be. As I processed through my disappointment and evicted the offense from my heart, I realized I had unrealistic expectations and had become overly dependent on them to hold my hand through hard times. I needed to extend grace and forgiveness when I realized they were humans too, dealing with their own life’s demands and I couldn’t assume they meant to harm me, neglect me, ignore or dismiss me but that they just couldn’t be there at the time I needed them. I know what that’s like now that I’m ministering to many…I have let people down in the same way many times and it’s a yucky feeling. However, I can’t be all things to all people and I’m not “on-call” 24/7. I still owe my family and friends the best of me, to be fully present…I can’t afford to burnout. Yes, there are people who depend on me but there are different levels of access.
Even as a coach, I discuss with my clients early on what I’m able to give and how and when I’m available to respond. We talk through dependency and how it’s my intention to help guide them through processing emotions using methods, tools and practices so that they can experience a healthy level of emotional sustainability. Yes, we are created to be interdependent but the only codependency we should have is with Jesus. And ultimately, Holy Spirit (who is living and dwelling within us, closer than our breath) is the best guide, counselor, teacher and advocate we have. He must become our very best friend through all of life’s up’s and down’s.
There’s No Shame in Professional Help
Unfortunately, there are too many life coaches that are “against” professional counseling. I am not one of them. Coaching and Counseling approach things in very different ways. I have actually worked with a lot of clients that also see a professional counselor. We just communicate what areas they’re getting counseling in and then we agree that in our coaching sessions, we’ll take caution around that and focus on other things so as not to interfere. I also am a huge advocate for inner healing sessions like Sozo.
I’ll actually have to share on another blog post/video about my Sozo experience and why I so highly recommend every person on the planet have periodic Sozo sessions. But here and now is not the time for that. However, if you want to learn more and have a private conversation about this…just send me a message through the FB Messenger Chat or CONTACT ME and we can chat!
I hope this message was encouraging for your today! If so, give it a “Thumbs Up” and be sure to subscribe for more encouraging videos just like this one! Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@HeatherFerroni) to catch me LIVE!
You never know who in your sphere of influence might need to hear this today….do them a favor and share! We’re all in this together to live a life loving God and loving others!
…And don’t forget to share your results with me!