Hope you are having a stupendous and productive day! Welcome back to the Ask Anything forum! I’m excited to share with you this question from one of our readers, Claire, and have you weigh in on her situation in the comments. I feel confident that some of you may have found yourself in a similar situation and have much wisdom to share. She writes:
I recently relocated to a new area and have found it very challenging to connect with other Christians. I’ve joined a church but my working schedule doesn’t allow me much time to get involved, unfortunately. It hasn’t been a very long time, but I already feel an emptiness that can only really be filled with other believers. Is this just a time in my life to grow in my faith on my own? Sorry if this is a heavy question, I’m just discouraged and could use some advice!
This is a great question! My heart breaks for you as I read this. I hear the pain behind the question and I oh so wish I could be that physically present Christian sister to help spur you on in your walk! I am able, however, to be a virtual sister in Christ who can encourage you while hopefully help you think things through in a God glorifying way.
So, my baby sister lives and travels all over the world. One time when she was home visiting she begged my mom and I to get a matching tattoo with her. Yes, really. I think she’s probably the only person in the world who could talk me into a tattoo (currently, she holds the title for being the one and only to succeed). But nevertheless, we went and got a small anchor tattoo on our ankles.
Why an anchor? Well, you see, anchors were an early symbol of Christianity that precede use of the cross symbol. As my sister travels around the world, I want her to always keep Hebrews 6:19 in mind,
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
“This hope” is in the unchangeableness of God’s promises. So, we chose the anchor tattoo to help her (and me too) remember to keep our lives in the proper perspective; that life, no matter our circumstances, is anchored and grounded by faith and hope in Christ and the promise of His Word. As Christians, the Word of God is the foundation upon which we build our lives. So, in times of tested faith, we grow weary, or in your case, feel isolated from the body of Christ, we turn to the only place we find Truth worthy of our trust. The security we find there I hope you will find encouraging.
Things to Realize:
- God is Sovereign. You are not in this particular situation by mistake. God lead you the this new place for His purposes. Ephesians 2:10 says,
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
God is still shaping you and using you to touch people’s lives for Him in spite of or maybe even because of this time of emptiness. Be encouraged that God does not waste our suffering so listen for the areas in your life from which the Holy Spirit is prompting you to learn.
- Relationships take Time. These things do take time, in the sense of time to become established as well as time invested in them, in order to see fruit and feel a genuine connection. Relationships may come easy to you but, if you’re like me, trust takes time to earn as does a certain comfort level. Be patient, persistent, and prayerful with these new friendships.
- You’re Not alone. At the risk of sounding cliche, let me remind you of a forever truth. God is always with you. Ever vigilant in your life, the Holy Spirit moves in and through you no matter what. Even though your heart may feel spiritually isolated make sure your brain recognizes that you are not alone.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Things to do:
- Make church a priority. You mentioned that you had found a church. Make every effort to be there anytime you are able! I think you’re seeing the wisdom of Hebrews 10:24-25 which says,
… And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The Christian life is meant to be lived in community with like-minded believers so be sure to give it the priority it deserves. And don’t forget that, not only are you to be encouraged by the fellowship of believers, you are also are meant to encourage others in the local body. Someone is missing out because you aren’t there! Giving in service to others is a huge part of being renewed spiritually!
- Get spiritually fed, even when you can’t make it to church. Spend dedicated time in the Word and in prayer. Listen to sermons and podcasts to feed your understanding. In this modern age of technology, it’s particularly easy to submerge yourself in all sorts of godly goodness! Read blogs and have devotions sent to your email inbox everyday! One of my favorite online resources for is SheReadsTruth.com….
- Memorize Scripture. Everyone knows Jeremiah 29:11,
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
But I want you to also commit to memory, verses 12-14 as well.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:12-14
God spoke these words to the Israelites while they were in disciplinary exile because of their sin. This is how God views His people in the midst of literal exile! How much more can we rest in knowing that He will sustain us during times of this “spiritual exile!” Chew on this promise everyday. He has a plan for YOU! He will bring you back into a place of renewal and fellowship!
- Pray for God to send you a sister in Christ. God is teaching me a lot about the power of prayer. I don’t have time to share all of that here and now, but I do want you to pray for a sister in Christ to come along and come beside you.
And I will pray for you too! Many blessings! I hope this helps!