Afraid of Isolation?
isolate (verb): to be or remain alone or apart from others
For the last 2 weeks, my bible study group has been dissecting Psalm 139 from beginning to end, discussing the whole chapter and picking up various gems of wisdom along the way. We kind of started with the middle of Psalm 139, looking at verse 14 which most of us were familiar with:
"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I know it."
As I reflected on that particular verse and continue to during my own quiet time, I wondered just how much time we spend getting to know the wonderfully complex beings we are. Without the understanding of what makes us so wonderfully complex, it's hard to accept those wonderfully complex qualities that we have. Those adjectives used to describe how God created us are not randomly chosen and they are as wonderfully complex as they sound. We know that we are made in God's image and in His likeness and as such, there is no other version of us, except us.
So as we go back to the start of Psalm 139, the psalmist begins with an acknowledgment of the knowledge our heavenly Father has of us. Just as the Spirit of God hovered over the formless earth in the beginning, so the Spirit of God searches and examines our hearts, bringing in light and beauty. At every stage of growth, the Spirit of God moves with us, knowing our deepest secrets and the things the outside world doesn't see. But that's not enough for God; you see, the work of the Holy Spirit doesn't end with exposing the darkness in us. He needs to complete the work of bringing us into the light. There is a transformation that needs to take place, a process we need to go through so that like the work of creation God started, we can be complete.
As we continue to ponder on how well we know the marvelous creation of God (ourselves), we turn to the second half of Psalm 139, we continue to marvel in the attributes of our Heavenly Father who was the only One present when we were formed in "utter seclusion". We must be careful not to think we know ourselves (or anyone else for that matter) better than God does. We know that our hearts are "desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9) and cannot be known by anyone else. Now consider what it means to be formed in "utter seclusion"; how else do we get to know how we are made to function unless we go to the only One who was present in that moment. There are so many things that can feed into our identities and these can be picked up from so many different sources the world has to offer. We must be careful not to be drawn into these. I ask the question about being afraid to be alone because I know there are people who struggle to be alone with their thoughts. But ask yourself, are you really alone? In Psalm 139:12 the psalmist confirms that even in darkness, our Father is with us. On numerous occasions, Jesus went into much-needed isolation (with His Father) to gain strength for the work ahead.
As I write this, as many of you will be, I am self-isolating as per government requirements and I have to say it's been a blessing so far. I am looking into the mirror every day and asking God to show me more. I want to feel His presence every day and I want Him to show me just how wonderfully complex I am. In spending time with God, it goes without saying, I can only understand what He shows me about myself if I understand who He is. There are so many characteristics of God I am yet to learn about and experience for myself and in some ways, kind of like me, He is also wonderfully complex. In my 30 years of life so far, some days, it feels as if I am learning things for the first time and that's exciting. Some days, I feel like there are things that are so basic I should've known even before I was in the womb and other days I get sweet reminders of who God is and as a result, who I am!
Don't be afraid to spend that time looking in the 'mirror' (like a parakeet) and get to know every part of you. You have some time now and you'll be wonderfully surprised at just how much you learn!