Monday, May 28, 2012

Never Alone

"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted... 
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you." 
- Psalm 25:16,21

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard was the "H.A.L.T. Principle": Don't make any major decisions when you're hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. 

It is a fantastic piece of advice to live by. Looking back, I know there were plenty of dumb and idiotic things I did or was about to do because I was in one or more of those emotional states. It's not a fun place to be because that's when we're most vulnerable. Our defenses are lowered, our thought process is reduced to a jumbled mess, and we just get downright stupid.

Right now, especially in the last couple days, my major struggle has been with loneliness. I'm gonna be straight up honest with you here, because I have a feeling we've all been there before. We have all dealt with bouts of loneliness in our lives. Either from physical distance. Emotional distance. Hurt or pain. Betrayal. There are a bunch of factors that could lead to loneliness creeping into our lives and jacking us up. And that loneliness can drive us to anger and sadness... which could lead to even more personal wreckage.

In a new environment without no real friends, no church yet, no family, no real support system to speak of... things can get pretty rough. Which is why it is so important to have community with people you trust and who you know will be there for you no matter what. Surround yourself with those people.

But what happens when all that is taken way? Sometimes we need to have it all taken away. There are benefits to time alone; even Jesus took the time to draw away and pray.  I'm finding out I needed things to be taken away and to be separated from the people I care about in order to let God work in my own heart. So that he could get my attention and focus, which many times can be easily shifted to other areas of my life. And also so that I can turn immediately to him instead of other people. God should be the first person we run to in times of trouble. He is our counselor, our refuge, our shelter. He is all I need and all I will ever need. Every good thing comes from him and him alone. He will never leave me nor forsake me. That truth has become real loud and clear here in San Antonio.

One of the many things that this move has revealed to me was how dependent my emotions could be on people and on circumstances. 

The last three weeks have been some of the toughest I've had to face... very few other times in my life have I felt more alone than I feel right now. Physically... emotionally. 

But God is reminding me over and over and over again that he is constantly present. That he is always there. Maybe his presence is clearly evident in our lives or maybe he's feeling distant (I've been through both), but he is there.

The best thing to do when loneliness settles in is to remember who you are and whose you are. When the enemy whispers "You're all alone", you can call him a flat out liar. God has promised to fight for us through difficult times and through the storms that we encounter in our lives.

Take the time to "HALT", take a deep breath, and remember the greater vision that God has placed in our lives. That he is God and I'm not. Remember how faithful he was in other times of need when we fully and completely surrendered to him. Remember that our joy is not determined by circumstances, but by the truth that outlasts them all.

No one said the road was easy. No one said it would be pain-free. No one said it would be without sacrifices. It's time to start making mine.

I kindly ask that you pray for me as I go through this. I know I might feel lonely, but I'm definitely not alone.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: Luke 5:16, Joshua 1:5, Isaiah 41:10, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 34:18-19

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