“If you are living in isolation because of shame, God wants you out of hiding and into the arms of a healing community.”- Steve Arterburn
Have you been isolating yourself? Are you ashamed of your struggles? Has it been hard for you to connect with others? One thing that will either make or break your recovery is connection. You are more likely to succeed in recovery when you choose to connect. But isolating, withdrawing, and separating is dangerous. Why? There are three reasons why isolation is dangerous.
Reason 1: Isolation hurts your relationship with God.
When you go off course, you tend to run from God. We’ve all made mistakes; we’ve all done things we’ve regretted. If you’ve gone off course and think God is finished with you, think again!
Throughout Scripture, there are a lot of people in the Old and New Testament that went off course. Abraham essentially prostituted his wife. David murdered an Egyptian. Aaron worshipped a golden calf. Despite everything they did wrong, God blessed them because they turned back to Him. If He worked in their lives, He can work in yours, too!
Don’t let your sins and shortcomings keep you from turning to God. Perhaps you feel shame for something in your past. That shame led you to turn to addiction. Then, your addiction makes you feel shame. But it’s not too late for you to interrupt that vicious cycle by turning to God. James 5:16 tells you how when it says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” To begin the process of healing, confess our sins to God and another person.
Reason 2: Isolation hurts your relationship with others.
Perhaps you have believed the lie: “All I need is my Bible, God, and me.” But that’s wrong—there’s nothing in Scripture that supports that. You must look at the biblical principles of staying connected to other people. If you’re isolated, you don’t have anyone that you’re accountable to.
The writer of Ecclesiastes put it best when he said, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Eccl. 4:12).
But developing relationships is easier said than done. How do you form healthy relationships? You can start by attending a Life Recovery Group weekly. Another option is to go to a Bible study or join a small group. Look for a group where you feel everyone is vulnerable and is a safe place to share your struggles. Once you find a group, make sure you open up and be vulnerable with others in your group.
Reason 3: Isolation hurts your relationship with yourself.
If you isolate yourself from God and others, the person you’re hurting the most is yourself. Isolation causes us to fill our minds with regrets over the past. To make matters worse, you probably have false beliefs about yourself that hinder you. One way to help you overcome these negative thoughts and lies you’ve believed is to keep a journal. Another way is to find a licensed Christian counselor who can help you deal with any root issues of why you struggle with false beliefs about yourself. Finally, make sure you have found a sponsor or accountability partner in your Life Recovery Group who can help you overcome negative thoughts.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Don’t isolate yourself from God, others, and yourself. Instead, commit to connect. After all, connecting is a choice you make each day—and it’s the best choice to make for your recovery.