This past year has led to so many ups and downs for all of us. For some we thought it would be really quiet and yet it’s been extremely busy, for others it may have been a much slower pace. Some of our houses may be quiet and others feel like Piccadilly Circus. We may feel young people are not engaging with us or feel totally zoomed out with meetings. No matter what’s been going on, we are all in a completely different situation to this time last year and its very common to feel lonely and isolated. Fiona Stutton shares five steps that might help us.
You are not alone! Jesus will always be with you. God says, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5
Technology brings people together on a screen yet not so much in our lives and not in our hearts. Just how do we overcome these feelings of isolation?
As leaders we may feel we have to be on top of our game for our young people. We may try to cover up our emotions inside, when really we need to overcome them, face up to them and do something positive to work through our barriers rather than put on a brave front.
Many of us will have servant hearts, always wanting to put others first, but in these circumstances of feeling isolated, it’s vital as leaders that we look out for ourselves, that we take care of ourselves and take positive steps to overcome isolation.
Here are 5 steps that may help:
1) Accountability: Find someone to be accountable to.
It’s easy to want to achieve something, but feeling isolated can take control and hold you back, finding it hard to make the effort. Accountability helps to motivate yourself. Three years ago, I had this great idea that I would take up walking again and go out early in the morning to get my steps up before work. However, the mornings were cold and dark and I couldn’t quite find the motivation to go. In talking to a friend, she agreed to be the person I would be accountable to. The next morning, because I knew I needed to report back to my friend, I wrapped up warm and headed straight out the door. My friend had motivated me to take the exercise I needed. Accountability gives motivation, helps you to achieve your goals and gives a focus for your life.
2) Have a prayer partner or prayer triplet.
It’s good to pray on our own, but to feel supported, it’s important to meet with people who become our prayer warriors and lift us up in prayer. “Where two or three are come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
3) Time for yourself
When we serve in ministry, we give so much of our time to others, that time for ourselves can become squashed out. Yet, it’s vital we take care of ourselves. We need to overcome the thought of feeling guilty when we take time for us. Find or discover a hobby that you can spend a little time each week just for you. Doing something that brings joy to yourself can have a positive outlook on your life.
4) Phone a friend – Keep in contact with friends you would usually socialise with, but haven’t seen in a while. Also, take time to phone a friend you wouldn’t normally call.
5) Exercise (if you are able to) – look after your body. Whether it’s going for a walk or a run or something less strenuous, looking after our bodies is honouring to God. Exercise can help you to feel good afterwards as well as giving you extra energy.
Do not suffer alone, know that friends are there to help and support. Continue to trust in God and stay close to Him.