Cup of cold water

isolate verb:  to cause a person to remain alone or apart from others

Why would you want to be alone?

I started listing all the reasons someone would choose to be alone and apart from others, and the list is pretty long. But I can shorten it, because there is something in common with everything on the list. In most cases, we choose to remain isolated because we are looking to ourselves and finding we don’t have what it takes to come out from behind ourselves. Isolation is a means of protection and a by-product of fear and insecurity. Far enough in, and no one can reach me.

Or so we think. But God’s arm is long. I wrote the following lyric in a song:

I’ve been hiding, I’ve been hiding
Staying where it’s safe and warm inside
I’ve been hiding, I’ve been hiding
Making sure that you won’t see me cry

But He found me, and He pulled me out
Before you like a trembling lamb
I don’t know where we go from here
But I know I need you; I know I need you

God’s will is that we all become one with each other through Him, the way Christ is one with His father. You can’t become one with someone unless you show up. You have to give someone something to connect to. You have to be willing to reach out from inside yourself. Don’t calculate this; just do it.

And the best way out is by listening to and caring for someone else. Who is this other person? Even if it’s your spouse, don’t think you know them already. You don’t. Forget you, anyway. What makes them happy or sad? What can you do for them?

You get out of yourself by connecting to someone else. That means that if someone else is hurting, their hurt is more important than yours. And if someone else is happy, their joy is more important than any emotion you have right then.

Get yourself out there. If you’re like me you’re likely to say something stupid or do something dumb at first, but forgive yourself quickly and move on. And here’s the motivating reason you can come out: the Lord is always with you, to work through you.

Last night Marti spiraled into a really bad place emotionally — a lot of it having to do with not being able to be with Chandler on his birthday. I was working late and not wanting to get involved knowing whatever she was going through I wasn’t going to solve it in a few minutes if at all. So I struggled with staying isolated in my work or trying to connect with her feelings right then. Finally, realizing my isolation from her was probably making things worse, I went over and sat with her. It was soon evident that no amount of time was going to solve this one, but I had an idea. I went and got her a glass of her favorite sparkling water she didn’t know I had purchased earlier in the day at the grocery store. The surprise hit the spot. Nothing solved, but amazing what a little cup of cold water can do.

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5 Responses to Cup of cold water

  1. thank you John for showing her love & compassion, it seems so simple & yet it probably meant all the world to her

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Y’all are in my thoughts & sincere prayers… 🙂

  3. You underestimate the power of just sitting with someone, even if no words are spoken and the issue isn’t really resolved. It still matters to that person. The water is a big bonus!! Praying for you both and Chandler. And happy birthday to Chandler. May this birthday be a great turning point in his life. Because nothing can quite turn you face-to-face with God like a birthday! After all, He breathed life into Chandler! For a good reason!

  4. Tim says:

    Interesting you wrote this today.
    This morning/afternoon I was working in my garage. I was just ready to leave and work on a customers roof when my neighbor came over. I thought, well I shouldn’t repeat it. I was in a hurry!
    He started talking and I was loading my truck half listening when I heard him say he was having a surgery that might kill him!
    I set up a couple chairs in the garage and listened to him for probably 30 minutes.
    The couple days working alone in my garage/shop were nice because I was in a leave me the hell alone mood.
    Steve came at a time when I thought I didn’t want to be bothered.
    My time with him was nothing and I got my work done with no inconvenience.
    Rarely am I the most important person in the room.

  5. gitta says:

    ISOLATION is a survival technique I used as a child [for ‘good reasons’]–
    I often want to return there now in my many painful relationships.
    Of course, this is of no value to my walk in Christ– for myself or OTHERS.
    Certainly God is now my refuge & strong tower– and hiding place.
    My early morning time alone in His Presence is so precious to me.
    yes– the trials still come & I still fail sometimes but HE is my JOY & my strength.
    Your messages on isolation really ‘cut to the heart’.
    Continued thanks for your intimate sharing– what a blessing !!

    Marti: I remember once when my [grown] son had a birthday–
    and he was really hurting/ ‘a bad place’– I could not get to where
    he was living & NO ONE was going to be there– I was very concerned
    and almost hysterical– praying every prayer I could.
    God was very merciful and God Himself sent someone totally unexpected
    to take him to dinner, etc. Many trials since then– but I know God
    is all powerful, trustworthy & MERCIFUL.

    [from Ephesians 3:20]

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