I found myself admitting a problem area tonight. I have been isolating from church. I go to work (a church) every day and engage with no boundaries. Once I leave, I head home, and that’s where I stay. I have had no desire to socialize, join anything, or gather.
My mental health is in a stable place right now. This type of isolation is different than depressed isolation. Stress is complicating life. I feel peace, but my thoughts race. I juggle, giving myself space to think and not overthinking. I call it overstimulation in a bipolar mind.
Many people call this behavior selfish. Is it? Jesus often withdrew to experience his Father. (Mark 1:35) He is separating himself from the desperate crowd of the lost and broken — my most profound moments are in solitude when it’s Jesus and me.
Are we selfish in isolation? Possibly we are, at times. When our minds are focused internally on ourselves, I suppose it is selfish. I have done this in the past. However; mental illness is complicated. For me, if I separate myself from the community of believers, it’s more about being completely focused on Him.
Christians don’t always comprehend the road to robust mental health. Our detour isn’t always a sign of slipping away, but can be a sign of rising up. My illness is hard to explain. Many give an impression of not wanting to listen, which is fine. Where they fail to fill the gaps, Jesus is already there.
I challenge those battling an illness to consider the following:
- Why am I isolating?
- Am I focused on Christ or me?
Whichever it is, you are not alone and you will make it through.