I was thinking the other day, what would it be like to be ‘off the grid’? I thought, how nice it would be to not have to color my hair, I would have plenty of time to write and read books, I would exercise. Oh, my worship would be go good, because I wouldn’t have all of those distractions. I would live off of fruits and veggies and seafood in my tropical, coastal home; my health would be better, my outlook would be better, I would be better.
Of course, I wouldn’t be totally disconnected, because I would still want to be in contact with people and would need to do research. Pinterest is research, right? But I wouldn’t have internet in my home, I would have to go into the village to use it at the library or coffee shop. I would go into the village just enough for the folks to know my face, but not remember my name. Such an awesome picture I was painting, it my mind, I was picturing the place where Jason Bourne lived at the very end of Bourne Identity.
However, I more I thought about this picture, the more I realized that I had created this perfect life, complete with hammocks and coconuts, but devoid of a very important element in God’s design for me: People. In my dream retreat, I had isolated myself, apparently, even from my family.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy being around people, but I also love to go on trips. Weekend trips, weeklong trips; as a family, we took a two-week vacation last summer and that was the greatest for me. I love to travel, see new places, meet new people. I’ve always said, if money were not an issue, Molly and I would be on short-term mission trips all the time. We love being around people, so the idea of actually being without people is foreign to me.
This is because, God did not create us to do this life alone. Even in the garden, with life as perfect as it could possibly be, God saw that Adam was lonely. Genesis 2:8 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” This always blows my mind just a bit, because Adam communed with God, but God could see that Adam needed someone more like Adam and less like the Almighty. I can picture it now, God telling Adam, “I love you little one, but you need some friends of your own.”
I can hear all of my introvert friends screaming now, “but I like being alone!” Yes, you do! I do too, sometimes, but total isolation isn’t healthy. Through many of the stories I’ve read, even those of people who may have lived well off the grid, they still had contact with other people. One man, who only talked to one person 27 years, still had contact with other people when he would go into their camps and stole their property. Even in my own dream of living off the grid, there are still people.
There are countless studies about the effects of loneliness or being alone; depression and poor health are at the top of the list. English author John Donne said the very famous words, “No man is an island entire unto itself,” and Tenth Avenue North even have a song about it. But the Bible, God’s word, says a lot about it.
“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.” ~ Hebrews 10:24-25
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” ~ Romans 12:4-5
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” ~ Psalm 133:1
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~ Matthew 18:20
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17
My favorite, coming from Jesus himself:
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Matthew 22:36 – 39
There are so many more scriptures in the Bible about being with other people; God did not intend for people to be alone. He created us for community, He wants us to live with and learn from and love other people. You are not alone and you don’t have to be either. Join a Bible study, go out with friends, make some friends. Go on a date, go to a family reunion. You are not alone.
Father, you are so amazing, you created us to be a people that live life together. It is your desire that we are with people who will lift us up, encourage us, and walk with us in our journey. I pray Lord, that you will open doors of opportunity for us to meet new people, be in new places, grow in the knowledge that You designed us with two purposes, to love you and to love other people. I pray this in Jesus precious name. Amen.