Monday, May 26, 2008

Isolation or Relationship

It's funny how different conversations run together in the same theme. I met an old friend for lunch the other day. We've walked some hard roads together in the past. We no longer live in the same city so our visits are sporadic. As we sat over our meal the conversation turned to a discussion on relationships with other women in our lives. She asked, "What is it with female friendships? Why don't we seem to get to the deeper things?" My friend, Tiffany (Titled: Too Tired To Care), wrote about this too this week.

Often I hear women talk of not having that "really close friend" to share heart connections. Most seem to have no problem sharing the good things they are learning. But how many do you know that reveal their deepest struggles, desires, longings and fears? Isn't it easier to talk about how we're growing? If you have a friend who you can share the depths with, savor the relationship. They are a rarity these days. More and more women find themselves alone relationally.

We were made in the image of relationship. Trinity gives us a picture of what Papa desires for us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one, all with separate distinctions, yet connected in unity and purpose. We were created in the image of relationship for relationship. Not just intimate companionship with Papa, but with others. We were meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Isn't it true, that most of the time we don't even know that people around us are hurting. After all, Sunday morning church we show up, and enter into worship. It's not really a place to "let it all hang out", now is it?

My husband and son went caving with some of friends a few weeks back. They met up with another group of people. Somewhere along the way part of their group had gotten detached and lost in the darkness of the cave. It's easy to get confused in a dark cave. Things get distorted. The perceived way out isn't really the way out. Instead it leads you further in. My husband's group stayed to help. They made a plan, set people in certain places, and went back in to find them. Several hours later everyone emerged from the cave. The lost had been found.

It's a perfect picture of what Papa intended. The enemy always seeks to distort what Papa deems good. He whispers lies to us to keep us isolated and alone. They sound like us. "Nobody else seems to be talking of their struggles". "What will they think of me?" "I don't want to bother them, I know they're busy." "I'm OK, I can do this by myself." "I don't need anyone."

I called to check on a friend the other day. She had been struggling all week. No one knew. She finally admitted it and said, "I kept telling myself I was OK, but I wasn't OK." "I should have called you." I wish she had. I could have helped her find her way out. I could have told her what Papa says is true about her.

The shroud of isolation leaves us vulnerable to the lies that get us stuck in a dark cave of despair, hopelessness, disappointment, fear...etc. Like the group in the cave we get turned around and struggle to find the way out. No matter how hard we try, we find ourselves dazed and confused, unsure of what the way out looks like. We need allies in our lives to come looking for us, reminding us of what is true, leading us out to daylight. Papa knew that, that's why He created us in the image of relationship.

It's sad how women are in friendships today. Not many allow that need for intimacy to emerge. More often than not we have just enough communication to make us feel relational. But not many of us venture into the depths with each other. Like my friend we sit alone with our lies telling ourselves, "I'm OK".

Genesis 1: says we were made in the image or shadow or relationship. Our lives were made to cast a shadow of intimate companionship with Father, Son & Holy Spirit indwelling us. How's that going in your life? What shadow are you casting? Are you one who gets stuck in the cave of isolation? What holds you back in relationships?

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness." Genesis 1:26 a

©copyrighed 2008 by Julie L. Todd


mer said... Reply to comment

Great thoughts, Julie. I feel myself retreating into isolation when I make agreements with the "I'm too much, my struggles are too much, etc, etc". Isolation is way more comfortable for me. Relationships are risky. I am thankful though for two dear friends who won't let me stay in that place. They make it easy for me to confide in them, and they're faithful to show me areas where they know I'm agreeing to the lies.

This is totally off topic, but I ran into Julie G at the grocery store tonight. We didn't talk much, just exchanged pleasantries, etc.

Heather@Mommymonk said... Reply to comment

I feel so blessed to have FINALLY found a kindred spirit friend like you're talking about. I had friends like that in college and as a missionary, but since marriage and kids, it's been tough to develop those deeper friendships. Except with my husband - who is my truest and deepest friend. Anyhow, just recently, I've made a great friend who shares honestly with me and vice versa. It's so important.

You made such a great comment on my thankful post this week (about kids). I need to be reminded to savor these moments with them more.

Becoming Me said... Reply to comment

Oh how I have missed your writings. I struggled with these issues for year. And, now I have went to the other end. I don't bare my soul to strangers, but I often first dive into honesty with humor and then go from there. I know that at those times when I put my heart out and admit to my mistakes and to not being perfect, others tend to relax. A few times I have felt stinging glares and glances from people, but most times I find that when I am honest, good things come...of course discernment comes into play.

dancingdreamer said... Reply to comment


What a wonderfully written article! I could have never made it through the pain and sorrow I have endured during the past 15 or so years without the love and support of the women God has placed in my life. I think my spirit would have died!

Your words are a reminder that even when things aren't desperate in my life - I still need to cultivate intimacy my friendships.

Thanks, Julie, for being one of the women God chose to help me on my journey!

Love you,

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

"Like the group in the cave we get turned around and struggle to find the way out. No matter how hard we try, we find ourselves dazed and confused, unsure of what the way out looks like. We need allies in our lives to come looking for us, reminding us of what is true, leading us out to daylight."

Wow, you just described my struggles with depression and trying to reach out when I don't even know where to reach. There are a few I will let in, but it's embarrassing. You truly have to die to self to heal. I'm learning this day by day, and I hope, doing it day by day. xxxooogretchen

Marsha said... Reply to comment

argh! I just wrote a long response and I don't think it posted! I'll be so glad when my new computer gets here. Anyway, I was agreeing with you 100% but added my 2 cents to it. Oh well.

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Hi sweet Julie,

Thanks for your steadfast love on my blog. I am so glad we've "met" via mer on the internet.

I've switched my blog to Jewels in My Crown...Someday. Here is the new URL (goodenough4now is gone).

please come visit sometime. xxxooogretchen

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie, It is hard when our kids are hurting. I want everything to be perfect, but it is always so far from that. I will be praying for you.Thank you so much for your willingness to share with us.

Chelsey said... Reply to comment

Kind off topic but I wanted to let you are truly an inspiration to me as a mother. I am just now entering in to the teenage years and feel like I have so much to learn.

Thank you for allowing yourself to be a true Titus 2 example.

I would liek to invite you to join my Titus 2 Blogroll. You can find out more about it here:

Thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom!