The Isolationist Mentality
Helen Keller once said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”
Thinking about that quote, one question came to mind: Do we sometimes mistake solitude for isolation? I think I do.
On Monday, I touched on how I want to take advantage of the “little solitudes” that come about during my day. What that means for me is intentionally spending time with God even during the seemingly insignificant moments — simple moments like my commute to work.
But in larger examples, after thinking about it, I think I may suffer from what I call The Isolationist Mentality.
Definition of an Isolationist: a person who believes that his or her country should not make alliances with other countries
An isolationist refuses to enter into alliances or agreements with foreign entities. Isolationism, at its core, focuses on its own country–it’s own people. While the definition of an isolationist has political roots, I find it can directly translate to how I view relationships at time.
Rather than viewing solitude as an intentional time to commune with my Father, I look at it through a self-serving lens. This mentality feeds on self-service, thrives on covetousness, and breeds isolation. How can I recognize these tendencies in my life? For me, the following thoughts are indicators of this mentality’s presence in my life:
- I can do things by myself.
- I don’t need to call this person–they’re probably doing okay right now.
- I need to have/deserve some “me time”.
- I don’t want to rely on any friends for help.
- I am not going to make a difference anyway.
Instead of saying to myself, “Oh, I don’t need this person in my life right now”, I want to switch my thinking and tell myself, “Maybe this person needs me in their life right now.” I also want to remember the importance that God places on friendships and community. He has placed certain people in my life for a reason. In the same vein, He has placed me in other people’s life for similar reasons. Not only has He has called both you and me to fellowship with other believers, but He also desires both transparent and authentic living. I feel a solid example in scripture is in Acts 2:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and good, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)