A Dangerous Disconnect
Oct 31, 2018
Many of us would probably admit to being addicted to our phones and understand the need to disconnect from time to time. As I get older, I am learning of the necessity to periodically disconnect from such things as social media, internet access, work, etc., so as to get a chance to rest, recharge and refresh myself. When we see the word "disconnect" within this context, we can all agree that it is a good thing to pursue. But in my own life, and perhaps in yours as well, there is another form of disconnect that I find myself choosing from time to time and it is the "emotional disconnect." The problem with an emotional disconnect is that it can also lead to physical disconnect, and it is in that transitional moment that many of us make decisions that we can't take back and that we often deeply regret. Why do I sometimes find myself wanting to emotionally disconnect? As I look at back at the times I have done so, it usually comes about when dealing with either insecurities or sin. Let's look into both a little more...
We all have them, and sometimes we may even have similar ones. But whether our insecurities are the same or different, if they aren't brought into the light and given to God and His healing work, they will rear their ugly head at the most inopportune time to wreak havoc. For example, I have insecurities about the level of education I possess. When these thoughts of insecurity start to crawl their way into my mind and heart, I find myself wanting to withdraw from people or from opportunities that I feel I am unworthy of being a part of. What hurts so much is the knowledge that that if these thoughts are left untreated by the work of God, our insecurities can rob others of the work that God wants to do for them through us. I recognize that my insecurities can be overwhelming sometimes, and in my own strength I often let them win. However, I have learned over the last couple of years that when I process my feelings, emotions and insecurities through the filter of God's Word, I end up with fewer regrets. Instead of living a life where our insecurities and our frailties paralyze us, we should admit that they are there. But rather than submitting to those insecurities, we submit instead to the promises of God. Promises such as,
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
In the times when we sin, we can face the strong temptation to disconnect. Disconnecting is an easy route because with whatever sin you commit, shame and condemnation aren't too far behind. When we allow the shame and condemnation to take root, we want to hide. We try to hide from God and we try to hide from others. I have seen in my own life that one of the biggest struggles that I face when dealing with sin in my life is trying to disconnect from my emotions. I don't want to feel the conviction of whatever it is I have done. I don't want to have to see the emotional pain that I may have caused. If I can quiet my feelings and ignore my emotions and somehow go into shut down mode, then maybe, just maybe, I won't have to deal with the consequences of my actions and/or be forced into a period of self-reflection and required growth. But that process of disconnecting doesn't bring healing. When I look at the way God has worked in my life, set me free, delivered me, and molded me, there is one common denominator that has helped me to overcome: I chose to stay connected to God and to others. I pressed in with all of my emotions and all of my feelings in spite of the shame, the pain and the hurt that I felt. I was willing to walk through the valley to get to the mountaintop.
And finally, there is one more way that emotional disconnection can tempt us into physical disconnection and it's within our marriages. I have seen far too often that when a spouse starts the process of emotional disconnection, then the perceived justification for physical disconnection is just a matter of time. In my own life, I have had to deal with insecurities and sin as a single man and as a married man. In both cases, I have learned that emotional disconnect only stunts my personal growth while magnifying the pain of those closest to me.
Do I still face the choice to disconnect from time to time? Yes. However, I have also learned that to emotionally disconnect is to take the slippery slope to a lifestyle of regretful choices. To stay emotionally and physically connected takes effort, and some days it takes a lot of effort, but I have never regretted giving the effort needed. I have found that staying connected to God and to others is the safest thing to do.