It has been awhile since my last post and hopefully I will be able to write some posts on a more regular schedule in the coming year. A couple of months ago I was perusing Facebook and a shared post popped up from Perry Noble. Perry Noble is/was pastor of Newspring Church, a large satellite based church with locations all across South Carolina. On any given Sunday, Newspring Church would draw upwards of 20,000 people to attend churches located in converted shopping centers and warehouse style buildings. I have viewed Newspring Church many times by podcast and while Perry’s message is aimed at seekers pretty heavily, I have found his messages to be interesting and usually presenting the gospel in a simple manner.
In the Spring of last year, it was announced that Perry Noble would no longer be the pastor of Newspring Church so that he could get treatment for alcoholism and get his life and marriage in order. Evidently, while Perry was a rock star in the pastoral community he had issues dealing with the success and fame that were deeply hidden. In the times that I have heard Perry preach on podcast he was always very quick to preach from the position that he was no better than his flock and that he had issues he had worked through just as bad as anyone.
Perry Noble has been in counseling to deal with his addictions for a good while now and the shared Facebook post was an update on some of the mistakes he identified that led to his issues. His purpose in sharing them was that he felt that these were things that we all deal with in some ways to different degrees and that maybe we can learn from his own mistakes. After reading through his post I felt it made sense to do a series of posts on his findings because I think a lot of men tend to fall into the trap of these issues.
I am going to call these the Terrible “Perry”bles. The first Terrible “Perry”ble is choosing isolation over community.
I think many men who are passive could be guilty of this. We feel more comfortable being alone a lot of the time than making the effort to be a part of the family, communicate with coworkers, or mingle in other social groups. We choose to be alone. We enjoy the lack of problems others may force us to deal with. We enjoy not only the freedom but the control that comes with it.
So, what is bad about finding a little time to yourself to get your thoughts together? I agree that it can be beneficial to find some time alone occasionally to destress, relax, process thoughts, and reenergize. The problem comes when we lose the balance and we become enamored with that time. Perry Noble says, “solitude is refreshing, isolation is destructive.”
Why is isolation destructive? Isolation can cause us to trick ourselves. We can outthink ourselves. We can convince ourselves that we might be right to do some really stupid things. We start to lose some of the balance and guidance of others around us that can help us stay focused and on track.
Isolation can help us justify our vices. We can easily convince ourselves that maybe this or that isn’t so bad or pushing that boundary a little bit can’t hurt me. Maybe it is alcohol, porn, immorality, or deceit that we can find a way to make acceptable when we are the only one casting the vote. Isolation begins to break down any barriers to only acting in a selfish manner. We can justify acting on our own accord without any influence from God, our spouse, our family, or friends. Even if we do acknowledge that we are using self to guide us, we can justify our actions with self pity.
Isolation also can prey on our self-doubt. We can let self-doubt dominate our emotions and cloud our decision making process. Maybe we could be justified because we aren’t good enough or maybe we can convince ourselves that we aren’t even capable of handling the issues that we have.
Isolation can cause us to even be filled with self hatred. We can absolutely hate that we are having thoughts that we may know are bad for our life but convince ourselves that we have no control to change those things. That we are just not good enough to put a stop to the problem.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Where is your balance? Are you using your time alone for production or isolation? Is this a time that you may be getting yourself closer to God? Is this a time that you are being consumed by fear of rejection and sitting on the sidelines? Finding that productive balance can be difficult but we must face our motives for isolation or be consumed by them.
If we are not careful we can be fooled into being a spectator of our own life and not a participant. We have to get out of the stands on to the field and live our own life. We can’t forget that we have a great group of coaches like God, our spouse, and friends that want to see us succeed and thrive in the game of life.