What! You too? I thought I was the only One

Today we look at community, this devotional is linked to Phil’s talks – sign up here

Most people have heard these words of Mother Teresa, ‘the greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.’

Loneliness has been defined in different ways. A common definition is, ‘a state of solitude or being alone.’ The other definition is, ‘loneliness is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, it is the perception of being alone and isolated that matters most.’

Our greatest need is food, shelter…and connection. Brene Brown writes a lot on this subject, ‘a deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.’ 

It is so important to allow ourselves to be seen, sharing the truth of where we are at. Our fears, doubts, extreme thoughts. As Brene says, in doing so, ‘we connect with others and in turn give them permission to be themselves. In sharing our fears and insecurities, we find true relationships.’

Community is woven throughout scripture. I love where scripture writes of the importance of us being joined together, that we cannot function well without one another, that we are called to encourage one another, to bear one another’s burdens. We are designed for each other! 

It’s so easy to withdraw isn’t it, I am often overthinking and sensitive – the familiar villain of fear can cause me to withdraw into my world where I find encouragement in scripture and in God’s presence,

But, that’s not enough.  

Yes, my life is hidden with Christ in God, and I live/love that, but as you know one of favorite lines is, ‘created for community.’ I think the enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to isolate us in loneliness – hiding away in a world of silence and unreality. 

This needs us to make a change – stepping out, being vulnerable and honest, inviting people into our imperfections. 

I love the idea of a community where are arms are wide open, where judgment is abandoned, and encouragement is the norm. Community allows light into the dark places, 

Jen Hatmaker writes, ‘and as we witness this beautiful community, we aren’t just observing vulnerability but rather chains breaking, darkness receding, victory rising… when enough bright places are created, the dark has nowhere else to hide.

To do this, we have to be seen.

‘Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves


I thought I could do it alone. I had chosen not to engage fully in fellowship or let family see what gripped me. I thought that I would be judged by my family, my friends, or anyone who heard about what I had been going through. 

Years later, the movie “Frozen” portrayed how this time in my life felt. When I saw this movie the first time, I SOBBED. For those who need a refresher: the part where from childhood to adulthood, Elsa locks herself in her room. Anna, her sister, tries to entice her to come out and play. Elsa always refuses and sometimes wouldn’t answer. Eventually, Anna gives up and leaves her alone. Fast forward to the end, and Elsa realizes what she needed all along was family and a friend. 

It took me a long time before I would let people in to see what I was going through. Anxiety and depression gripped me hard from an early age. Finding people who understood, or even tried to just understand me was a game-changer. I had placed no value in community for a long time. 

I would encourage anyone who feels like “no one will understand”- to reach out to trusted people. One of the tools I firmly believe the enemy uses is isolation: whether by actually isolating us from family and friends – or making us believe we are. We would have no idea how many people really have been dealing with anxiety and depression, until we reach out, or back to those we love. 

Maybe just start with one person. I used to imagine what these conversations would look like – I would get so worked up that I would not even start them. But once I got going, how freeing it was to build community without hiding something real about me. For me – every time I would tell someone my story, it got easier to ask for help or let someone in. 


Before I had my anxious breakdown, I had a friend tell me about his experience with anxiety and how he was overcoming it, and so, he was the first person I called on when things started getting bad for me. Having someone like that to talk to was incredibly helpful in learning to understand my anxiety and showed me that I wasn’t alone. I haven’t been shy when it comes to talking about my anxiety, and in doing so, I’ve met so many people who have been through situations similar to mine. Some of them sought help from their community immediately, but others say that they have never spoken about it until now and that they have spent years trying alone to find themselves again, which they did but with great effort and lots of time. I was fortunate to speak with people who had experience with anxiety, but I was also immensely blessed to have my whole bible study group committed to praying for me and checking in on me, most of whom admitted to me that they didn’t personally understand what I was going through. It was enough to know that they still accepted me and were interceding in prayer for me. Now that I am feeling mostly better, I still let those people know when I’m doing well or when I have a bad day or two. Maybe the most important part of having a supportive community was having people there for my wife when I wasn’t in a place to be there for her. My anxiety struck hard right before our second child was born, so having people to support her practically and emotionally was crucial to our healing.

Meditate and Memorise

‘Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.’  Prov 12:25

I also love this verse in the The Passion Translation, ‘anxious fear brings depression, but a life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart.’ 

Listen: You Say, Lauren Daigle. 

Vulnerability on Facebook.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

I recently read a Facebook post from a friend (a teacher) who’s very calling and passion had been questioned and undermined. Who had taken a hit by a fiery dart which had left her hurt, confused, floored.

So, she put a shout out on Facebook asking for some encouragement…

The fleeting thought of judgment of asking such a thing disappeared as I drew on my current focus of living in vulnerability. I soon saw the power of it. Remembering: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Brene Brown.

Here’s what she wrote for me:

‘I guess you could say that my post went viral in my own little world. I received 24 pages of encouraging comments from students, former students and parents of former and present students. Each one had a profound effect on me. They made me cry and smile. They brought back fond memories of every single student who responded. They strengthened me. Each word of encouragement was like an arrow shooting back at the enemy who was trying to discourage me. I was humbled again in a different way and somewhat embarrassed. My mother wasn’t. She said she was proud of me and the comments made her cry and smile too. She was the one who asked me to copy all the comments into a Word Document and send them to her so she could read them to my Dad who doesn’t like reading on the computer. That’s how I know there were 24 pages of encouraging comments. You know what else is significant about that number? This is my 24th year of teaching. Yes, Satan may win a few minor skirmishes, but my ultimate victory is secured in Jesus Christ! Let us never underestimate the power of encouragement!

….I greatly appreciated, and now cherish, the encouraging comments that were given to me last week. Without social media, I wouldn’t have been able to reach out in my need or received such an immediate response. There may be those who see only the “evils” in social media, but I for one have benefited in more ways than one from the positive use of social media. God can use ANYTHING for his purposes!’ Thanks Jo!

I’ve read all sorts of posts complimenting each other lately on being a round person in an edgy world. Raw edges? Shattered? Serrated?

How are you on encouragement? Being an encourager that is.

 ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up’                              1 Thessalonians 5:11

F.B Meyer said that if he had his life over he’d spend much more time in the ministry of encouragement.

Yes –  the ministry of encouragement. Is that you?

Healer of serration. Pouring oil on the raw.

Liar fighter. Celebrator. Defender.

Comforter. Hope giver. Creator.

You are real – you know hard stuff happens – in fact doesn’t just happen, its commonplace.

It’s not bumper sticker unreality or


Cotton candy fluff…

They’re THE Word pinning others down as they spin, holding them up as they fall.

“Words kill; words give life.” Proverbs 18:21

If I lived like that were true – that everything I say or write can give LIFE – I…we would be so much more intentional with words.

There is someone in your life, your family, and your circle that needs a word of encouragement today. It’s more than a positive word. Its more than a pick me up. Words give life. Ask ‘Who and how do you want me to encourage today Lord’?

It could be that only you are in the position to help those you come in contact with.

Become part of Gods plan for someone else’s day…who knows, it might be formative in someone’s life, or it might just get them through the next hour.

‘The generous will prosper;
 those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.’ Proverbs 11:25. 

Be (an) encourag(er)ed!

Love, Michelle xoxo