You have been hanging out on the shore line with some of your friends. You each have a boat resting along the shoreline. The boats are different colors and sizes and each has a unique design.
You have been on many of the boats docked along the edge of the water. You have journeyed with many people, while others you have provided supplies for, especially when they were traveling to waters that were unfamiliar to you. It’s not a problem for you. You never mind sharing what you have and it actually makes you feel good to feel needed.
One day as you are running from boat to boat, you notice your boat. It is docked and not being used at all. It’s just sitting there. As others return they are strengthened and built-up. Their boats have been refurbished and sharpened for the next voyage. Meanwhile, the paint on your boat looks new, but is peeling… Upon further inspection you realize that your supplies are heavily depleted and your boat is in need of repairs.
There is no cause for alarm because you are confident that someone in a neighboring boat will be able to assist you. You expect that because you have been on so many voyages with others. You suspect that there would be so many people wanting to journey with you that there would be too many passengers for your little boat to handle. Instead what you find is that those you thought would be able to go with you either choose not to go or are ill-equipped to accompany you on your journey. Some of them try to provide rations and supplies, while others simply wave good-bye.
How can a one neglect his or her own journey for so long? How can people ignore their own need to process LIFE? It is potentially devastating to find yourself surrounded by those you love one moment and then, in the next, alone during a season that seems unbearable to endure by yourself. Ultimately, it is each individual’s responsibility to maintain their own ‘boats’ (Matt 10: 35-39), but when we find ourselves lacking in some area of our lives, it is reassuring to know that we are not alone.
One of the enemy’s common schemes is to overtake us is by persuading us to isolate ourselves. One way he does that is by convincing us that no one understands how we feel or has ever experienced what we are going through (Heb 4:15). Or we believe the lie that we don’t need anyone. Neither of these thoughts is true. We are made for relationships and made to know and be in fellowship with others. This doesn’t only refer to the marriage bond or closeness experienced in worship to God. We need other people, too.
As Christians, we quickly remind one another that ‘all we really need is Jesus’, but Jesus left a different example for us in his relationships with His disciples. There were those that He asked to accompany Him where no others were invited. Similarly, I believe that God has given us a desire to have intimate fellowship and friendship. It isn’t necessarily easy because those that are the closest to us have the greatest potential to cause us pain. Jesus experienced that when He found Peter, James and John sleeping during one of the most challenging times of His earthly life and ministry.
It’s always someone’s turn to embark on a journey. Sometimes the person will choose to go alone or sometimes they take others with them. How do you know who is supposed to go with you? I’m not sure but, perhaps those who are willing to inconvenience themselves and are able to journey with you by supporting you are people God has brought into your life for this part of your journey in one way or another. These people are invaluable not simply because of the compassion they offer us, but also for the accountability they are able to bring to our lives.