Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Have you ever sat in a church filled with worshipers yet felt all alone?
The welcome was given with a warm handshake and hug. The praise team ushered in the presence of the Lord. The prayers were powerful and the rhema word of God was right on time.
After church, those same people who greeted you and welcomed you left in their cars going to their respective homes. You were left standing all alone.
You have attended that church for a while, yet very few people know your name. You have overheard the conversations, “So, we’re meeting later at so and so’s house?”. You’ve seen some of the sisters in restaurants together. Your children know that their children have play dates or group dates, but they have never been invited.
I’d wager to say that most Christian women have experienced that pain, excruciating pain. Unintentionally inflicted pain, I’m sure, but pain nonetheless.
In a survey of church women aged 30 and up, conducted by Ellen Rife, 50% of those participants thought that the Church as a whole was not fulfilling Christ’s mandate to love one another, resulting in a feeling of isolation among many.
Sadly, local churches are guilty of tantalizing new comers. We advertise our friendly church community. Our weekly commercials are appetizing, with all the faux family encounters demonstrated on the church grounds. From the outside, looking in, the church is a great place to be. It appears to be just what Jesus intended, an incubator for the preemies and a wet nurse for infants.(Matt. 16:18) Instead, it has become a cold bottle of cow’s milk.
Some of us have been left alone in the bassinet way too long with loneliness as our pacifier.
Loneliness creates a deep psychological wound, one that distorts our perceptions and scrambles our thinking. It makes us believe that those around us care much less than they actually do. It makes us really afraid to reach out, because why set yourself up for rejection and heartache when your heart is already aching more than you can stand? Ellen Hinkle Rife
According to Erik Erickson’s theory of psycho social development, between the ages of birth and 18 months, infants learn if they can trust the people around them. Infants depend on their caregivers to provide their basic needs, and develop trust when those needs are met. Otherwise, they will grow up to be suspicious and mistrustful.
Are you one of those who have not had your needs met? Have you been neglected too long?
If so, on behalf of well meaning believers in the body of Christ, I apologize. I can’t go back and erase your past hurts but I can start here, today. I love you and I care! God cares! I invite you to meet me here each week for a good conversation.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”. Deuteronomy 31:6
Rife, Ellen Hinkle. “Feeling Alone In The Pew?” Feeling Alone In The Pew? OakTara, n.d. Web. 02 June 2016.
Winch, Guy. “”Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid”” Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid. Feb. 2015. Web. 02 June 2016. TED
“Stages of Social-Emotional Development – Erik Erikson”.childdevelopmentinfo.com. Child Development Institute. Retrieved 8 May2015.