Straight from an Isolated Heart
By Lisa Elliott
HELLO…Hello…hello out there! How’s your social distancing going? Are you feeling the effects of self-isolation?
I’m hearing mixed reviews from those I’ve connected with (from a safe distance of course). Some have absolutely no idea what to do with themselves while others are thrilled to finally have time to catch up on things they’ve been putting off for years. Some are frantically finding projects to do and missions to accomplish while others are savouring a welcomed time of rest. Some are taking advantage of every possible source of social media while others are savouring time to themselves in solitude.
For me, this entire experience takes me back to a little over a decade ago when I lived in self-isolation with my 18-year-old son, Ben as he battled leukemia. Given that his immunity was compromised, I had limited contact with anyone in the outside world. Life as I knew it shifted significantly. Social interaction was taboo. Dietary restrictions were put into place that excluded buffets and salad bars. I was scrubbing down before I touched anything, wearing a mask, gloves and gown as I sat next to his hospital bed. Not to mention sanitizing everything around my house to keep it as germ-free as possible. I even had a hand-sanitizer station set up at my front door to welcome anyone who crossed the threshold. “Normal” life came to an abrupt halt as my family and I were thrust into a “new normal” with a single sweep; learning to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
Sound familiar? It’s not unlike what we’re going through in these days of coronavirus precautions. See if your experience feels anything like this:
- Managing a situation you didn’t see coming that has overtaken life as you knew it; affecting your health, influencing your thought-life, adjusting your activity, and altering your relationships.
- Making noble attempts to go about business as usual with an underlying awareness that nothing about it is usual.
- Keeping your cool on the outside while an undercurrent of uncertainty, unknowing, anxiety and fear simmers on the inside.
- Attempting to live life as freely as possible with tangible limitations and a growing list of imposed restrictions.
- Being carried through your day in a surreal, dazed oblivion with a hovering sense that something in your world is off-kilter.
- Grasping to maintain a semblance of control realizing how little control you actually have.
- Choosing to live your life with purpose wondering if there’s any purpose to it.
- Transitioning from writing things in pen, to writing them in pencil, and always with an eraser on hand.
- Constantly adapting your life as it changes from one minute to the next.
In these days we’d do well to heed James’ words,
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15).
What if this time of unprecedented upset and chaos is intended by the Lord to wake us up and alert us to the things that really matter? Maybe He’s set us apart from life as we knew it in this extraordinary time in history to recalibrate our lives? Perhaps this pandemic has happened “that we might not rely on ourselves but on God” (2 Cor. 8-11). Could it be that this social isolation is providing us with a unique opportunity to connect with Him on a deeper level?
One thing is for certain amid all the uncertainty we are definitely not alone in our isolation. He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). His Word will offer unshakable hope for our unsettled lives as we connect to and anchor ourselves in Him.
Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:8).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org