Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thrive in Relationships: Speak From Your Heart

"Dialogue is the "elixir of life" because it may be Divine in origin! " James Lynch, author.

God created us for community; belonging to Him and one another. Never, never lose your voice...speak from your heart to others that know you matter and to God Himself. To live and thrive, this dialogue is vital.

James L. Lynch, scientist and researcher, has written two books on the deadly effect of loneliness: The Broken heart: (the medical consequences of Loneliness Life Stress and Essential Hypertension) and Cry Unheard: New Insights into the Medical Consequences of Loneliness.

According to Lynch there has been a veritable explosion in knowledge about the connections between social support and health, as well as an increased understanding of the links between human loneliness and the vulnerability to disease and premature death.

Lynch has come to one inescapable conclusion: Dialogue is the exlixir of life and chronic loneliness its lethal poison.

Our culture in America does not encourage physical closeness and face to face dialogue. Lynch is dogmatic in his concerns, "forces that disturb, disrupt, and destroy human dialogue must be viewed with the same concern and alarm as has been brought to bear on other plagues, infectious diseases, viruses, bacteria and cancers.

For all of the recent health data suggest that if current trends persist, and its resultant loneliness, will equal communicable disease as a leading cause of premature death in all post-industrialized nations during the twenty-first century.

A wide variety of statistics suggest that large numbers of people fail to recognize the dangers, that they are unable to fully appreciate the potent health benefits derived from various forms of social support, including that provided by family, friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

Health experts inform us that "excess" mortality has more to do wih social isolation and loneliness than it does with economic stress.

All of these situations share in the absence, the breakdown, or the failure of human dialogue, reflecting an increased struggle with a recently understood hidden type of "communicative disease" that exacerbates social isolation and loneliness. The resultant physiological stress can be unbearable, and even break the human heart.

It is, to say the least, a sobering and humbling perspective; certainly one that gives language a far richer and more awesome potential .

Can loneliness really kill you?

For it is dialogue that offers the hope of uniting us, not only with one another, but with the rest of the living world. It is dialogue that unites, and dialogue that ends our separation and isolation.

Dialogue unites — dialogue abolished the "I" of separateness. Dialogue is the vehicle that takes us back towards the paradise of union with others. It is dialogue, real dialogue, which fuels our journey through life.

Loneliness is different from being alone. At times, everyone needs to be alone (like having time with God and away from the busyness of this world).

· Is a feeling of isolation
· Is a deep feeling of being disconnected from others
· Causes a person to feel alienated
· Happens when there’s no one to share joys and disappointments with
· Can result in an overwhelming feeling of sadness and imprisonment
· May bring about despondency when left unchecked

We weren’t created for loneliness. God made us in His image. And that means relational. Obviously, this goes beyond marriage. God provides people to be friends and confidants, too! But remember, turn to God first. Friends will let you down. He won’t.

The world’s greatest tragedy is unwantedness; the world’s greatest disease is loneliness.—MOTHER TERESA

Human beings need both vertical intimacy (with God) and horizontal intimacy (with people) in order to be fulfilled. Without those relationships, they are vulnerable to the complex set of emotions described as "loneliness."—MIRIAM STARK PARENT

Your loneliness can be healed.
  • Attend church (Hebrews 10:25)
  • Be a friend to someone else (Proverbs 18:24),
  • Listen to Christian music
  • Ask God to work in and through these things to take away the lonely feelings.

Read Jeremiah’s prayer journal. Look into the life of an intensely lonely man. Pages of anger, resentment, and self-loathing jostle with praise and confidence. Jeremiah fought to communicate with God! He knew he wasn’t completely alone. The intensity of his feelings never overshadowed the deeper reality of God’s presence. As overwhelming as his gripes and challenges were, he found comfort in having Someone to listen to his complaints.

As I have shared with you on this blog, I am a recent widow. Since I helped my mom and mother-in-law with their widow season; I have been aware of my danger of loneliness and isolation. "When alone facing the greatest challenges of life, the Spirit of God within you will shape and draw you out to live for Him. " I don't know the author, but I found this wisdom has been a comfort and a reality for me.

But I am calling out to my friends and family. I push myself beyond my comfort zone to have meals with them and have dialogue and hugs. My formal college emphasis was in chemistry and biology. I worked in surgical research for a few years. My husband was a physician for over 40 years. So this week's posts are my scientific search to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually in this new "widow land."

I've been tempted to crawl into "isolation" and safe places before I landed in widow land. I believe it is a tempation of everyone at some point in their lives. For Christians, I believe it is a temptation to divide the church. With email and cell phone text messaging we can delude ourselves into believing we have meaningful diaglogue and we endanger our lives with no meaningful face to face, heart felt dialogue.

I know this is a busy time of the year with businesses cranking back up after summer vacations. Children are back in school, but I hope some of you will write in about your thoughts on isolation and the need to get real in dialogue from your heart.


Nicole said...

As I was reading my Bible in Proverbs 17 and 18 and Ephesians 4, somewhere in there in my commentary it talked about feeling alone in a crowded room. Over the last few years I have had a tendence to isoloate myself due to my illness. Part of this reason is because it has been so difficult for me and others to completely understand what has been going on and to me it was easier to not have to explain my situation.

I believe that I have felt lonely for a good portion of my life. Since High School, which was about eight years ago I really have not had (other than one) any deep true relationships. I started to get ill, and then that kept me at home, and then I continued to push others away. I now currently struggle with a fear of commitment to hang out with others as I never know how I am physically going to be feeling.

The Lord has been challening me and showing my husband and I that we need community. I have been longing for it so much recently. This may be a big step for me but one that I really need to take, and one that recently I desire to take. Part of this stepping out for me is going to mean that I am not so sensitive and get offended by others comments. I need others and they need me. Oh, Lord, please teach to me to stay committed to meeting with others and to not run the other way.

Thank you soooo much for this post. I believe it was healing for me today.

I will be praying for you, as I'm sure there are times that you are lonely, especially in these recent months.

If you think of it, please pray for my time tomorrow with a friend from my lifegroup. I want to enjoy that time and to feel connected. Thank you!


Marilyn said...

Thanks for the reminder that I really do NEED those face to face friends .....that although blogger friends and email friends are nice....it's not enough! I'm so prone so seclude myself!

God bless you Kay....you've been a blessing in my life!

Marilyn in MS

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.