The third post this week is coming on Saturday, not the usual Friday. See that?! You did not even notice. But, we hope you notice the great encouragement/instruction in this post!
This week we've talked about isolation. Now we want to share with you three things you can do to put a lot of distance between yourself and isolation in ministry. Here we go…
Understand that you are in a deep rut. If you are isolated, it is because over time, you have decided to sequester yourself from others. Area by area, piece by piece, you have cordoned your life off from significant people who would otherwise give input to you on your decisions, actions, behaviors, etc.
This has happened over time, and probably almost imperceptibly to you. All of a sudden, you wake up one day, and read something, or listen to something, which causes you to realize that you are quite isolated. You are not connected in meaningful ways with others. You are, in effect, alone – alone with your worries, fears, cares, dreams, and needs. You are also alone with your secrets.
You need to share your secrets with someone. Rick Warren has made the following phrase well known: “You are only as sick as your secrets.” You absolutely will never get out of your isolation if you do not share your secrets with someone. You need to find someone you can trust, or, who is legally obligated to keep your secrets. :) Find a counselor, therapist, or another pastor who will keep confidences. It is amazing how the headlock those secrets have on you is released when you share them.
Yeah, I know, it's hard. Who can you find? There isn't anyone you can trust. You can't afford a counselor. I know, if it was easy, you would have already done it. How badly do you want to grow, to get better, to get away from isolation?
Again, we can’t stress this enough – you HAVE TO share your secrets with another person! When you do, their power over you, and the isolation they force you into – is gone. Once you realize you are in a rut, in a prison of isolation, this is the first thing you must do, find someone with whom you can share your secrets.
Change your habits, one at a time, by replacing them, one at a time. You have habits of isolation that you have formed over time. Habits that keep you at a distance from others, either physically, relationally, or emotionally. Take some time to identify those habits, and one by one, change them. You can’t change them by just getting rid of them; you must change them by replacing them with new habits.
For example, you have a habit of not connecting with people by phone – so make a new habit of calling one person a week, just to talk personally with them. Not for ministry purposes, or to help them, but just to talk about how they are doing, and how you are doing. Make the call.
Or, you may have developed the habit of not sharing certain information with your husband or wife. Maybe you have secrets about how you feel about what they just said, how you are handling the finances, or what you like or dislike around the house. Make a new habit of talking to your spouse! When those times come, when you would normally say nothing, and even hide something from them, begin to open up, talk with them – and stop keeping secrets.
I think that’s enough for today. If you can realize and act on these three things, you will get a long way down the road from your isolation; a road that leads to relational health and wholeness.
Next week, we are talking about our strengths and weaknesses, and how they are BOTH important in shaping our ministry. We have a great podcast for you next Wednesday on this subject that we think will really inspire and encourage you.
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