In this episode, we're diving deep into loneliness in the Christian life. Inspired by listeners reaching out, we ask the question: Why is it easy to feel lonely in this Kingdom of now and not yet?
We hear you when you say you've experienced deep loneliness in your walk with Christ. In your relationships. In your ministries. In your parenting journeys. We hear you when you say you've wrestled as a discple of Christ trying to be obedient to God's Upside Down Kingdom while surrounded by lack of likeminded community or family.
Even in this advent season, pangs of loneliness bubble to the surface, too.
I'm grateful to have lead this conversation on loneliness in this faith journey. It's heavy and rich and there's a lot to unpack -- but wow.
As Lindsy says, following Jesus isn't popular. Even among other believers. In times of isolation, we have a desire to tell ourselves "it's going to get better." But it's not necessarily true this side of Heaven. We're promised Christ, yes, and we have the Ultimate Hope: but being a Christ follower is accepting some degree of loneliness.
In "The Cost of Discipleship” by Deitrich Bonhoeffer, (on page 105 if you're reading along!) he talks about “discipleship and the individual”:
"Through the call of Jesus men become individuals. Willy-nilly, they are compelled to decide, and that decision can only be made by themselves. It is no choice of their own that makes them individuals: it is Christ who makes them individuals by calling them. Every man is called separately, and must follow alone. But men are frightened of solitude, and they try to protect themselves from it by merging themselves in the society of their fellow men and in their material environment.
They become suddenly aware of their responsibilities and duties, and are loath to part with them. But all this is only a cloak to protect them from having to make a decision. They are unwilling to stand alone before Jesus and to be compelled to decide with their eyes fixed on him alone. Yet neither father nor mother, neither wife nor child, neither nationality nor tradition, can protect a man at the moment of his call. It is Christ’s will that he should be this isolation, and that he should fix his eyes solely upon him."
Bonhoeffer asserts this idea that we have to lose to gain: Specifically, that we have to lose some aspect of community before we can -- through Christ -- have redeemed relationships. He says that relationships before Christ weren’t fully relationships -- only through Him can we have true, authentic relationship.
As Lori mentioned, if we only experience Christ in community, things become muddled. Do we idolize community? Are we finding our identity in our community?
What happens when we cut the noise and seek the Solus Christus life? Maybe in the in-between, there's sancification. And maybe that's lonely. And maybe that's okay.
We have to take responisbility to follow him where he wants us to go, even if it's lonely. Maybe periods of isolation -- of stripping bare -- are what God can use before He launches us into something big.
Listen and go forth, sons and daughters of the King: Take a breath and take Lindy's advice of preaching the Gospel to yourself, returning to the Cross and becoming whole -- even in the midst of the painful -- yet holy -- periods of isolation.
I'll leave you with Lori's words: "There's abundant life in the hard. Because it's Christ. He's in the hard place."
We want to hear from you: What stood out to you in our conversation? What have you learned about God in your seasons of isloation?
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Grace + peace from wintery Iowa,
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