Lockdown. Shutdown. Stay at home order. Isolation. Social distance. These are words that have become all too familiar in the past four months. Everywhere we turn, we are told to stay away from others to stay safe.
This type of behavior is also a defense mechanism some of us use to keep our hearts safe.
Once we stepped out and found a friend we could love, but it took a wrong turn. They hurt us. They did something to us that no one should do, let alone someone we care about. They walked away and broke our hearts. They became upset and pushed back because of our failures. They saw greener pastures and moved on to other relationships leaving us behind. Maybe the worst scenario of all, they got sick, and we lost them into eternity.
As a result, we put our heart into lockdown. Shutdown. Isolation. We distanced ourselves socially. All in an effort to keep us from getting hurt again.
One call of a believer is to leave our self-created seclusion for a life of community. It is a call from isolation to inclusion.
For this to happen, you have to open our hearts. We must be willing to let people into our life. The locks need to come off, the gates fly open, and the walls come down.
The first step is always the most difficult. Send the text. Make the call. Stop by and visit. Open up a conversation with someone. Invite people to enjoy a meal. Reach out in some way.
I cannot promise that we will not get hurt again. People are strange creatures that have erratic behavior, so there are no guarantees. I do promise that if we put ourselves out there enough times to enough people, we will find a friend. There is someone who will warm our hearts by their presence just as we do to them.
It is risky to step out of lockdown, but with all risks come rewards.