About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Jen,
    Good question…I think why I tend to draw back, inward, to my island is that I feel like no one could truly “get” what I’m going through and no one wants to hear my petty problems. I know the enemy loves when I start to have my pity party of 1. If he can get me alone and out of touch with others, than I am fair game for him to devour and destroy. I know this, yet, I give him a foothold. Thankfully, God sends me reminders in His word, or here through you, that solitude is okay for awhile, but then I need to get back in the game of community – even if community is just one other person (I don’t do large groups well). God didn’t design us to be islands. If he had, Eve would have never been created for Adam. From the beginning, He’s let us know we need each other. Thank you for a timely reminder this am…needed this!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Yes, I’m so with you on this. Solitary is okay and necessary for a bit. Just like Jesus. He retreated for prayer and rest and then went right back at serving. We retreat to refresh and be refilled so we can pour out again. 🙂

  2. I completely identify with the realization that our social interactions change when our kids grow up. When they don’t need us to shuttle them to and from the homes of friends, suddenly we are no longer hanging out with the other mums, drinking tea, and enjoying the background bedlam.
    Recently, I’ve been making a point of SCHEDULING time with spiritual friends. If it never makes it onto the calendar, it’s not likely to happen.

    • Yes, my dad always said, Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. So important to addd that to the schedule.

  3. I felt so alone. I was immediately drawn to your message this morning. I know they don’t do it intentionally & I wished I weren’t so sensitive. Then I thought about that wish & regret that I hoped to change who He made me. If I weren’t sensitive I wouldn’t recognize & feel so compelled to reach out to others that seem to be on their own island. I need to remember that sometimes we’re ships – bringing His love & showing hospitality, sharing possibilities with those that are isolated – reminding them that there are other islands out there & encouraging them to have faith & put their trust in Him – to be courageous & step off their island. To bring them that message that He has set in my heart, I can’t be an island ❤️

    • Yes, Sandy. It’s easy to something wish away how He’s made us, but you’re right, while I haven’t met you, I know your sensitivity is definitely allows you to see those needs in others. 🙂

  4. Fear and habit, being a homebody but I come back to fear again, this is what holds me back. I shouldn’t let it.

  5. Jennifer, thank you! What a beautiful and encouraging post. “Walk in the light!” Thank you for leading and encouraging today! Right on time. Warmly, Patricia

  6. Due to past experiences with others I’ve said within, “Maybe you just don’t know how to be a friend.” Someone once asked me that question and it’s stuck with me. Being an only child, I’ve stated several times that since I’ve always been by myself, I’m fine. Especially since something happened in my past few close friendships and it was because of me, I suppose.
    “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7).
    This scripture stood out to me because it’s so hard at times to fellowship with some. I look at myself first in case there was something said or done wrong. Then it’s time to step out with a hug, hello, or something but it’s ME with authenticity and I wonder why, or how many times it’s going to take for me to stop being the one making the first step. Hence, my island. We do get tired sometimes. Nevertheless the island isn’t where we should live. I’ll at least connect with one other person here and there to build COMMUNITY. Thank you Jen.

  7. Such a good question. Pondering as I sit waiting for a friend. Ironically it is this friend who faithfully reaches out to intentionally schedule time to chat. Sometimes it takes weeks to coordinate a time but she keeps trying. And although it feels luxurious somehow to drop the to-do list for a couple of hours, I am reminded of the words of Jesus to Martha. What does Jesus value? What are His priorities? As I have stepped back into the work world after many years at home with the kids, it has been a real challenge to not feel that sense of isolation that you talk about. Time is so fleeting… and yet it feels overwhelming to try to reach out and connect. I pray that God will speak to our hearts today as we sit and listen to His heart on things. I need more connection….

  8. Wow, Jennifer! This really resonated with me. I have had times of aloneness and times of real community in my life. I have let past hurts rob me of the gift of hospitality and community for awhile now. I will now, with God’s help, try to reach out. Stay tuned.

  9. This weekend at a small retreat another woman and I were talking about church and feeling alone, especially during hard times were maybe you had a surgery and no one calls or seems to notice. It takes all of us reaching out to one another to stop this isolation and people feeling alone. Fear, worry, shame, not knowing how to cook or be hospitable, are some of the reasons I think we don’t reach out. Just think, though, how many people would be clamoring to join church if we had true community and no one felt isolated?

  10. Wow, I just posted about this very thing on my personal timeline this morning having no idea this gift was waiting for me in my inbox. I just moved. Not far away. Just across town but I am also attending a new church that I love with all of my heart. I *know* I need to join. My dad has texted the pastor his blessing {I never ever saw that coming!} It’s such a long story. Nothing is holding me back from joining and becoming part. It feels like home to me. I look forward to going to church for the first time in years! And yet I ask myself if I should really get involved and join. Thank you for writing this.

    • Heidi –
      ” I look forward to going to church for the first time in years! ” YAY!!! I can’t wait to hear a follow up on this. 🙂

      “And yet I ask myself if I should really get involved and join” Oh yes, you should. Nothing like the local church and diving into a body of believers. It may not always be easy and bumps and challenges always occur, but it’s worth it.

  11. I can identify with what you are saying. I feel very alone yet I know that God is my everything. I have very few friends because I choose to be with those that bring encouragement instead of condemnation. My family is all over the place, no connection. It’s heart heavy and also working on my relationship with my husband. So many times feel like I am walking in the desert. BUT I know God loves me and is for me so I am learning to walk toward Him and trust Him alone and know He knows me intimately and Blessed me in so many ways. God’s love is incredible. I am thankful that He never gives up on me.

    • Barb – thank you for sharing your heart and I’m sorry for the journey you’re going through right now. It can be a difficult place to be, and it is amazing knowing that never ending love of our Father. I will also pray that you can reach out and find just a few of those people who can walk alongside you and with you. It is so important.

      blessings to you.

  12. I just want to say that I while I agree with all of the above and can certainly identify, I want to remind us all that there are times when we see a friend or family member dealing with that island situation. Let us resolve to walk along side these people and not allow them to to dwell in that isolation. I recently had this very thing happen to a friend. It was a fine line from being a busybody to being truly supportive. But I bit the bullett and dove in and just bared my heart and soul to let my friend know how I cared for her and yet give her space to be what she needed for the moment. It’s a risk but worth every bit as the alternative would be worse. Her feeling that no one cared. I’m sure we have all been there. A huge relief to know that another living breathing earthly human cares. We know God does but often where we are requires a human touch. He knows best what we need, let us be that human link so often needed. Much love and blessings to all of you where ever you may be in your walk – being needy or able fulfill a need.

    • Absolutely, Loretta.

      We are to be image bearers of Him and pursue others as He pursues us.

      That’s why I stressed this in the post, “The bottom line? We weren’t created to live alone on an island. It may appear a lovely place to visit for a few days, but we must not stay there.”

      We need to be that bridge builder. Love that you get that so much. 🙂

  13. Jen,

    No man is an island unto himself. Lysa terkeurst in her book “It’s Not Supposed to be this Way states “If the enemy can isolate us he can influence us.” One of his best tricks is to keep us alone in our misery. The more alone we are the more down & depressed we feel. God made us for community. We, especially Christians, are bad about wearing masks. We think we have to be “perfect” in church. Emily P Freeman in her book “Grace for the Good Girl” states: “It’s time to take off our masks & be real”. Everyone knows we all have problems. Quit trying to be miss perfect & be yourself. Find a friend or two & confide in them. Make room in your heart & soul for community. It may be the best thing you can do for yourself now. There are times when we can be an island. We need time alone with God to just sit & listen for His voice. Don’t isolate yourself from the world. We are here to listen, love & encourage you. Open up & talk to others. It may surprise you that they say “me too.” Let us love & encourage each other. Don’t be an island unto yourself. It isn’t healthy.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Oh Yes, Beth – I so agree. Maybe you missed the ending of the post because I am right there with you and completely agree. Isolation is one of the tools Satan uses and I’m so cognizant that it’s important to share that struggle because so many women feel they’re the only ones who don’t have friends or are feeling lonely.

      “The problem with islands is that sometimes, while beauty abounds, they are very inaccessible unless someone bridges the gap and makes the way clear.

      His loneliness brought additional distress.

      The bottom line? We weren’t created to live alone on an island. It may appear a lovely place to visit for a few days, but we must not stay there. If you choose not to leave, at least invite others along for the journey.

      Isolation is an enemy. It can roll in, take hold, and you never realize the riptide effect. Lies we believe breed in isolation because light can’t penetrate.”

      While I wrote that post years ago, I know more than ever that loneliness and isolation are even more prevalent now than before. That lifeline must bridge the gap.

      Always thankful for you support of this community.