Take a moment and meditate on these words, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). If you are anything like me though, you probably just skimmed the words and continued reading on. If that’s the case, pause once more and soak in those words above. Take time to close your eyes and imagine Jesus sitting with you. Then, listen for as he says, “[your name] don’t fear, I am with you.”
This is a pretty revolutionary concept. God declaring He is with us, always. It’s actually really radical and completely unobtainable from a human being. No human can be with us always, and if you think someone is, well, they might just be a stalker.
In our culture today the message of “isolation” may not seem like it is being preached but I can assure you, it is. The term “isolation” is just masked by things like: busyness, self-improvement, or constant self-obsession. To be alive in 2019 is to be bombarded with messages on how to do it better ourselves, in our own strength. This message is built on isolation. You don’t have to be like the guy from “Into the Wild” to be considered in isolation. You can be at your work desk. You can be on a run. You can be at the dinner table. It’s not your circumstances in the natural that isolate you. Instead, it’s a position of the heart.
Simply put, isolation is being unaware of the true reality at work; God with you, always.
We are designed for relationship and our soul thirsts and long for such intimacy. God never asks us to be isolated. He never says, “Go get quiet by yourself, away from me for a minute, and then return”. He never says, “I’ll help you with that, but that other stuff… I need you to do alone.” This is not the heart of the Father.
The Father’s heart is always intimacy.
Instead of isolation, God invites us to intimacy–to a life where He is with us, always. Emmanuel. There is a security that is found when you realize God is with you. It’s unlike anything the world can offer. You know it deep within you but it’s only received as a gift. To become dull to this gift, is to be pulled into isolation.
This intimacy with Him is an invitation, never a demand. Things like anxiety, restlessness, doubt, or worry demand themselves upon us and will impose our every world if there is no acknowledgement of God being with us.
Let me give you a practical example of how I have been returning to the Father’s heart of intimacy. At work, when my mind begins to wander I find myself immediately being overwhelmed with my task list. Usually, I would stay in my head and come up with a plan how to conquer the tasks so I “feel” relieved or better. However, I have been noticing this destructive pattern and instead of adding more busyness (isolation) I begin to sit for a second and say to myself, “oh my goodness God is with me right now.” I’m telling you the minute I acknowledge not just His presence but Him being with me, something inside me gently shifts like a peaceful river.
Keep in mind, we don’t just turn towards intimacy but we are turning towards intimacy. It’s a constant turning, not a one time arrival. Anxiety and busy-ness have become so accustomed in our culture because we’ve been under their control for years. The battle in our own efforts is exhausting because the truth is: the fruit of anxiety is always more anxiety.
I propose, if we took the time we give to worry or anxious thoughts and began to shift our mindset to “God is with me, always” there would be an increase in faith, peace, and joy. This is what God has made us to live in! This is the abundant life. The fruit of the Holy Spirit (God with us, always) is: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control.
Now, take another moment and ask yourself this question. “Am I actually aware God is with me, always?” Then, sit with your honest answer and ask Him to help your heart turn from isolation to intimacy. This is a process, don’t get weary.
And remember, He is always with you. Don’t just turn. Keep on turning.