Life has a way of leaning on us all, and when we are greeted with that ugly day of desperation, we seek reprieve. Whatever the coping mechanism you initiate against this awful burden, they often run their course with little to no impact, leaving you feeling defeated. The pain gets becomes unbearable, what are you left to do?
My pain path was fairly typical: raised in an emotionally unstable home, developed unhealthy coping mechanisms, never told anyone about my struggle, the pain became too great that I had to start self-medicating, the drugs and alcohol stopped working, I arrive at a breaking point. When other medically suggested practices fail, I turn to the ethereal for release.
The pain became a touchstone to my spiritual growth. My saving grace was not found through the saviour in which I was indoctrinated with at as a young child, but rather, it came through a group of people I invested myself into.
It was made quite apparent that if I was to survive the low spots ahead in sobriety, I would need to draw upon a power far greater than myself. This thought brought up tremendous resistance for me, because in short I thought that position of demi-god had been reserved for no other individual but myself.
It was also came made clear to me that there were several other delusions I would need to make peace. Reluctantly, I will admit that I still continue to reconcile my twists in thinking.
One of the most powerful steps in this re-wiring of beliefs comes as a result of admitting that I will always need an agent of perspective. I need a checks and balances system when it comes to my decision making, because at a core level I don’t believe the universe will look after me. I always revert to making decisions from a state of lack, and the irrational fears that encompass that type of thought affliction.
God speaks into my life through trusted confidants, through mentors, and even sometimes through strangers.
If I allow myself to be open enough to listen, I’m often gifted with all sorts of comfort and wisdom, the trouble is I’m a fear-based closed off individual. The whereabouts cause to why I shut down from the world and distrust people is layered, but the good news is that being teachable is a skill that can be learned, and regularly put into action. An affirmation if you will, that there is good in the world and even that some of them want the best for me.
One of my go-to moves is isolation. I lock myself in my room, and shut myself out from the world and the people about it. I tell myself that I need to recharge my batteries and while that may be true for a 24 hour period, a week long isolation bender also blocks the flow of God being able to guide and speak into my life. And trust me when I tell you that I need people to speak into my life, my strong propensity to linger in existentialism bring me to a place of despair more regularly than not.
Living in a place where I am blocked off from the sunlight of the spirit is no longer an option for me. Once you get a taste of the truth, it’s hard to go back to living the lie of a disconnected life. The even more self-defecating thing is that regardless of knowing all of this about myself, I will still find myself settling down on isolation island again, suffocating myself with distressing thoughts. While I don’t think I’m a textbook masochist, I often question just how far off the mark I am. The bottom line is, we all need to humble ourselves and ask for help in life.
To help us better understand what fellowship is, and why it is important, I will use the analogy of an orchestra playing a symphony.
God has composed a symphony called His eternal plan. To play this great symphony He has formed an orchestra called the church. And to each one in the orchestra, God has given a part and an instrument to play called their spiritual gift. “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”. In other words, the purpose of the church is to hold God up to the world and display every aspect of His glorious being for all the world to see.
Just as no individual can play a symphony, no one believer can fulfil God’s eternal plan alone. God’s plan requires many working together to show His perfection to the world, and to truly glorify Him. We are individual members. It takes a unified orchestra to play the symphony. When we co-operate together to play the symphony, that is called fellowship. Fellowship is co-participation in accomplishing God’s purpose.
While this analogy may not be fitting for you, please don’t miss the vast beautiful forrest due to a few ugly trees. The point I’d like you to connect with is the great value in having a place of in worship. This may look like: An AA meeting, mosque, temple, synagogue, or any other gathering place of your liking. The uplighting power of a group has synergist effects that are very palpable. It is the relationship that I’m encouraging you to seek after, and unfortunately for some, committing yourself to being around others might be a muscle you just don’t enjoy flexing.