Here we are, December 2016. How did the year pass so quickly? As we are beginning to look forward to Christmas, decorations are filling the shops, streets and homes and horrible renditions of Christmas carols bombard us from everywhere. Same old, same old…
What might initially seem to be a word out of season, it being the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, is actually exactly the message we need to be reminded of. Christmas is not merry and festive for all of us…some people are fighting hard, lonely battles even as they are surrounded by a sea of people.
We celebrate One who came as a Gift, One who was born with one purpose only…to lay down His life, One who is holding space for us right now. In this blog, Amanda is issuing a challenge…will we be His hands and feet, will we be to those doing it tough, what He is to us? Will we be the gift, be prepared to give ourselves away?
To every person who had been reading our thoughts all year, thank you for journeying with us. We bless you with love, peace and hope this Christmas.
Nicky and the team
The Sea of Loneliness and Isolation
by Amanda Byliefeldt
In this month’s blog, I am going to be very transparent and although I might be judged in thoughts or hearts, this needs to be said. I want to write about something that most people don’t talk about, because it could reflect badly on them.
We tend to hide the fact that we struggle. We want everyone to think that when you are in Christ you don’t suffer and you don’t struggle, as if this make us righteous or “good” Christians. We don’t share when we go through seasons where it is difficult to pray…. seasons when the Bible accumulates dust on the nightstand and we are unable to open it, even when every religious cell in us is telling us to just read more… seasons where we just can’t bring ourselves to the place of lifting our arms to worship the One and Only God.
There are seasons when I am so on fire that anyone that comes close to me will ignite with passion instantly. This is not my doing, it is all the Holy Spirit working through me. I have seasons where I will get revelation upon revelation and prophetic word upon prophetic word. I will get opportunities to speak life into people and touch lives, all because God is good and loves us. I will dance, flag and worship for hours on end. These experiences make me feel alive. I will read my Bible for hours, and pray for hours. Understand that I am not trying to tell you that you need to pray more or read more or worship more. In fact, I am trying to tell you that seasons change and we all go through it.
Struggle is a part of our daily lives. Jesus never promised us a happy life, without struggles and suffering. Suffering is a constant part of life too, but we mostly do this in private…afraid of judgement. We don’t share our struggles, and because we don’t share, so many young Christians fall away from the faith because they think that life as a Christian should be all moonshine and roses.
Jesus said, in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I have been going through a tough season lately. In the beginning I did not want to talk about it, afraid of being judged. My religious mindset told me that I am the problem, that I am backsliding because I do not do enough. There it is again…the real question…is this me, trying to impress man? Me trying to earn grace? It is so easy to fall into this trap. I don’t share this because I have an “image” to uphold…. I share this so that everyone will know that THIS DO HAPPEN.
It is normal, but it is not widely talked about. King David felt alone and wrote in Psalm 13 about his struggle and feeling abandoned. In verse 1b (The Passion Translation) he says “How much longer, Lord? Will you look the other way when I’m in need?” Psalm 142 too, was penned down by King David because he felt lonely and isolated. Jesus, the best example, struggled so severely that He sweated blood: Luke 22:44, He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
I’m not a poet but these words flooded my heart and thoughts, so I wrote them down. I am sharing this so that you can see, it’s OK to be in a place like this.
I am floating in a sea….
It feels calm, flat and uneventful
this sea is called the sea of life.
I don’t see my beginning,
and I definitely don’t see
where I am going.
I feel stagnant!
But am I, really?
Movement is slow,
I don’t feel the wind driving
me, and I don’t see the current
I am aware of YOU, Daddy God.
I sense Your presence… No wait,
I don’t sense it; it is a knowing because
of past seasons. The knowledge of
YOUR Word that says “I will never
leave you nor forsake you”. I believe that
with all my heart….
I don’t hear YOU, right now.
I don’t see you, right now.
I don’t feel you, right now.
Where are you? Do you hear me?
Does this mean You are no longer
there? No, it is just my senses that
I can’t trust. My senses that I use to
rely on to know that YOU are there.
How long LORD do I need to float
in this stagnant sea?
Where is my passion?
Where is my fire?
Nothing is driving me…
Nothing excites me…
What happened? One moment
I am surfing the giant wave, high up there;
next moment I plunge and slide off this
giant wave into the stagnant sea.
I need you LORD!
I need Your touch, LORD!
I need to hear Your voice, LORD!
I need Your Fire, my KING!
Where are You?
I want to feel Your
touch and warm embrace.
I want to hear Your voice and
sweet melodies in my ears.
I want to see you, my Lover.
I want to dance with You like before!
How long do I have to float in this
ocean of loneliness and isolation?
How long do I have to hang on?
How long before You stretch my
sails and set my course?
How long till Your Spirit pushes me forward?
How long till I can surf Your waves of
How long till I feel the passion again?
How long Lord, how long?
I am an emotional being; I know that and I have embraced that my whole life. I engage my senses. I used to trust my senses and my emotions to guide me. I feel, I see, I hear, I sometimes smell His presence and then I have this awareness of Him being right next to me. It’s been a while since I felt alive, engaged in my senses.
In the beginning of the year our Pastor’s wife did an exercise with us. She asked us to close our eyes and then she asked us 3 questions. One: How do you see Jesus? Two: How do you see the Holy Spirit? Three: How do you see Father God? During this exercise, we had to wait for a picture, not knowledge of what the Word of God says.
My picture of Jesus startled me…it was so not religious, nor Biblical. I saw Jesus on the cross and as I looked at it, the cross become the backbone of a small boat and I was standing in it.
I saw the Holy Spirit as water, a river or ocean. This was not as far-fetched as Jesus as a boat. This I could agree with. This I could understand.
Father God I saw as a tree, an electric tree. It was alive and it was energetic, the energy radiating from this tree just electrifying and brilliant. Sharp, piercing light radiated from it.
At that moment, I did not understand the full meaning of the pictures. Only now do I comprehend its full meaning. God, through His Holy Spirit, prepared me for this season; the “stagnant” season. God gave me this picture so that I would understand when I am floating in the sea of life, unable to fathom whether I am going forward or backwards, I am in JESUS and that is all that is important. Even when there are no storms and progress is unsure, the importance is that I am secure in HIM. The Holy Spirit is the water, the ocean. The ocean moves, the currents are not visible to the untrained eye, but they are there and they are moving. I am moving forward…
This season is teaching me never to judge when other people are in the ocean of isolation and loneliness. It is teaching me to not tell those people to pray more, read their Bible more, fast more or worship more; that is not what they need to hear. When you sense someone is in the ocean of isolation and loneliness, a place of stagnancy, YOU pray for them, YOU read to them, YOU feed them. Sometimes we don’t need others to bring us spiritual food because God made sure we have reserves for the season and something we need to be fed nutritious, real food. We need a helping hand and a friend.
Are you willing to walk the extra mile for a friend? Are you willing to lay down your life for that of a friend (John 15:13)? A few months ago, I received this scripture as a prophetic scripture and at that moment I was shocked, thinking I must die for someone. Now, suddenly, this verse means more than physical death…it means putting your life on hold and listening to one who struggles. Feed that friend that has zero energy to feed herself. Pray for the friend that is struggling to breathe, let alone pray.
Seasons come and go… seasons of isolation and loneliness happen and it brings spiritual growth and you might be in the sea of isolation and loneliness sooner than you anticipate. Are you willing to put your own life on hold and feed your friend?