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I was listening to the radio station KLOVE today as I was driving and heard a Christian singer talk about a time in his life when he was de...

Friday, December 16, 2016

Is Isolation Leading You?

Brrr! It's cold outside, folks! It's already in the 20s during the day here in the midwest state of Missouri. But we've got some nasty weather that is supposed to move in on Saturday--the sleet and some snow. My daughter is a new driver and has to work that day. So she is freaking out a little about having to drive in it. I think we'll make other driving arrangements for that day ;-)
 
As I am sitting next to our lit Christmas tree writing this, I am reminded by a friend of ours who said that this year he was finally going to decorate his apartment, after not decorating for about 5 years.  Christmas decorations just cheer things up for the season. They don't make things perfect, but they are happy to look at. Of course, the reason for the season is Jesus. I am always so touched by hearing the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and Jesus each year. It's a message of hope to the hopeless. And everyone needs more hope, right?
Isolation can sneak up on us sometimes. I am talking about the bad kind of isolation--the kind you don't want; not the kind you need to energize yourself after being around too many people, for example.  This happens all too easily  during the holidays. People get together a lot for potlucks or gift exchanges or whatever it might be. It is easy to feel left out, especially if you are single. You always have God with you. Yes, you've been told that before. But it's true. Lately, I've been watching Christmas movies by myself, even the old kiddie Christmas stories like Frosty the Snowman that I saw when I was little. It makes me happy. I'm the kind of person, an introvert, who doesn't mind being alone, but even the isolation can sneak up on me and hang around too long for my liking. When this happens, other than watching Christmas movies ;-)--I will pray, and sometimes I know my yucky feeling is because I haven't been in the Word enough--the Bible. If I feel it's a real problem, I will ask my family and friends to pray for me. Ask your pastor for prayer. IF YOU START GETTING TOO DEPRESSED AND YOU ARE SINKING DEEPER THEN CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY OR GO TO THE ER.

MAKE yourself do something positive--it doesn't have to be productive like laundry or doing the dishes. That's not fun and there's a time and place for that. But part of taking care of yourself is taking the time to do things you enjoy. If you can't really think of any, get a pen and paper and try to make a list of things you like to do or just things you like. Then see how you can turn that into a hobby or even volunteer somewhere that would be fun for you. Ask God to show you what you enjoy or what you can do to help others, if that's what you want to do. Grab a friend and do something together. I don't know if they have these places where you live, but there are those 'mud rooms' where you go to paint pottery and the place fires it for you and you pick it up a week later. The prices are based on the item you pick to work on and then the studio fee which is about $5 here. Then there is another shop that offers painting lessons where everyone paints the same painting but they all get step-by-step instruction. I haven't done that one yet, but it sounds fun.

No transportation or city bus service? Take a walk with a friend. Weather too bad? Walk to a friend's house or ask for a ride, play games together, bake something yummy, fellowship, ask God to be part of your conversations to keep them Godly.
This may sound strange, but because I am a creative person--one of the things I enjoyed about going to Charter Behavioral Hospital was the occupational therapy. They had us go do something like make something in the craft room or throw a basketball around in the gym. That helped me a lot mentally.

I KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS OF NEGATIVE ISOLATION. I don't want you to go there. And if you are there-get out of it quick with maybe what I've suggested here or something you know about yourself that helps. MY SUGGESTION: Do not do anything negative as your 'something to do' or go see a 'dark' movie that you think won't be, but turns out to be really depressing. Things can look disguised as something to do but drag you down more. I've done that. It's not good.

My prayer for you is to not stay alone when you don't want to be alone. If you don't want to talk to anyone, that's okay.  Sometimes, I go for a drive and stop by stores I like just to get out of the house and have something different to look at. And when I get home, I can tell I am mentally more positive. It does me good. Do what works for you. Don't wait.

God bless you all!
Leslie