There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:9-10 NIV)
Feelings of loneliness are one of the greatest challenges you’ll face in leadership. Often times you’ll be out ahead if your followers and get a sense that you’re out walking by yourself.
Maybe you’ve made an unpopular decision. Maybe you a new. Maybe you’re bad at relationships. Maybe you blurted out something and alienated a bunch of people. Maybe…whatever the cause, you find yourself alone. And honestly, this is a dangerous place to be.
Feelings of isolation and loneliness lead to bad decisions. If you feel along long enough, you eventually begin to believe it.
As leaders, we have an obligation to our followers to maintain and create relationships. Why? So we don’t find ourselves alone. Because when we feel like we are alone, we make bad decisions.
Here are vital relationships to keep up (I left God off the list because HE IS the list–He’s first in life, so listing him at the top becomes redundant.):
I’m a firm believer in this order for life GOD – FAMILY – MINISTRY. When you miss this, you cannot have success (longterm) in the Christian life. Family must be a priority. Do you spend time with your kids? Do you date your spouse? How about extended family? FAMILY MATTERS
Do you have any? I’m not talking about the crowd of people at the parties that laugh at your witty jokes. I’m talking about ones that know you beyond a surface level. People that can talk to you about life and ones that can spot when you’re about to derail. You don’t have to have a bunch. I only have 4-5, but you have to have them!
3. Coaches & Mentors
Everybody does better with a coach. Who’s helping you grow? Who’s helping you learn? (By the way, if you’re looking for a coach, shoot me an email, we’ll talk.)
4. Spiritual Authorities
This is a hard one for people in the ministry. Who worries about your walk with God? Who’s your pastor? Is it your ministry supervisor? A spiritual father? Do you even have one? Sometimes we get so busy doing ministry, we forget about our first commitment — being with God. How do pastors walk away from the ministry? How do moral failures happen? When we focus more on doing and less on being, that’s how.
Many feelings of loneliness are often self-inflicted. Did you get hurt? Did you have bad relationships in the past? Did your family not value connection? Issues of intimacy can cause the loneliness.
Interestingly, feelings of loneliness and intimacy issues are one of the biggest reasons people pursue pornography. Why? Because pornography opens a door to a relationship–even if it’s a false one or based entirely in fantasy. We know that women are almost just as deeply entrenched in pornography addiction as men. Which says to me, relationships and true intimacy are in grave danger.
Elijah felt all alone, but he wasn’t. God showed up in a mighty way.
Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18 NIV)
You aren’t alone either. God is ready to show you where He is in your life. Focus on the relationships that bring you life and you will find true connection and genuine relationship.