For those who have spent a little time around the Lighthouse, you’ve learned this phrase as a recovery principle. For many of us who battle mental health issues or addiction, we have learned that we are at our worst when in isolation. Our first instinct when struggling is to isolate. When we do our illness tends to worsen and our darkness becomes darker. We get in our own heads and for many of us, that’s a scary place to be. If you have a loved one who is struggling chances are you worry when they isolate. But the same is also true for you. You may isolate in your worry. You may isolate to help control the situation. Unfortunately it rarely helps. Early on in our Lighthouse journey I coined this phrase, “Isolation is our enemy!” It was born out of my own lived experience.
Well, enter Covid-19. So what do you do when isolation is the essential protocol for staying well. This week has been very challenging for my psyche as well as my leadership. I’ve spent years telling the people I love and care about, “DON’T ISOLATE!” Now I’m telling people to stay home. A phrase common in the recovery world comes to mind. “This too shall pass.” Remember, it’s temporary. God is still in control. God is still good. This too shall pass.
So, what are we to do? First, be smart! Stay connected to God and your support team. There are still a few meetings taking place in small groups. This is true at the Lighthouse. Use technology. Pick up the phone. At Lighthouse we are doing our best to use technology, especially Facebook to stay connected and to keep in touch with people. Finally, please, if you are not feeling well, isolate. This is too critical to ignore. Remember, as followers of Jesus we are not only concerned about ourselves, but also about the welfare of others.
I strongly encourage my Lighthouse family to be checking on each other. Check in with your support team. I learned this morning that a former Lighthouse family member, Steven Andrist, died last night from the disease of addiction many of us battle. Steven has been living in Minot. I hate the disease of addiction. Please keep in touch with one another. Reach out if you need help. This too will pass.
I’ve heard people say that the world will not return to what it was before this pandemic. It might be true. Thank God for technology. We are able to stay in touch in ways the world didn’t have in previous crises. But I worry that we may resort to more and more distance between us and rely more and more on technology for communication and, in turn, move further and further away from healthy and essential human contact. Let me remind you that when this is all done, isolation will still be our enemy. My friends, we need each other. We are at our best together. A computer cannot replace a teacher with her students. It’s true I can worship God alone, but it is not the same as doing so with my brothers and sisters. You can watch me online, but I promise you it is different when we can look each other in the eyes. We can meet in virtual small groups, but it will not replace sitting side by side with others going through their own life journey.
In the book of Hebrews, the author reminds us of this. “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (10:23-25 NLT)
What if today we each think of a way to motivate ourselves and someone else to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect figuring out a way to meet together, for many of us know what happens when we do that! And today, I want to encourage you! This too will pass. There is still much to be thankful for. If you’ve read this, you have the ability to read and the technology available to see it and stay connected. Be thankful for it! God is good!
Father God, we pray that you would draw close to each of us in this time. We want to stay connected to You. Lord, you have created us for community. Help us to stay connected to one another as well. Lord, we know this too shall pass. We pray it would pass quickly by Your hand of grace. Keep those infected alive, make them well again, and protect those of us not yet infected. We love You, Lord. We trust You! We rest in Your tender love and care. In Jesus name. Amen.