i might be alone for now

i might be alone for now cartoon drawing by nakedpastor david hayward
“i might be alone for now” by nakedpastor David Hayward

We all know one of the severest costs of choosing to walk your own path towards your own independence is experiencing loneliness. To find your own land and stake your own claim requires you to become a pioneer. And pioneers know loneliness. Pioneers simply understand that in order to enjoy their own lives to the full they are going to have to leave the herd.

Read any of the accounts of pioneers, such as the fascinating Canadian explorer, David Thompson, and you will read the story of courageous people who experienced loneliness. The further they got away from home the fewer their companions became.

For many it just isn’t worth it. Comfort is better than change. Safety is better than freedom.

Are you at the crossroads now? Will you forge forward?

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28 Replies to “i might be alone for now”

  1. I love the use of “explore” rather than “search”. Christians often want to classify non-believers (or even heretic Christians) as “searchers” but and explorer is not desperate, not needing answers, not expecting. Explorers enjoy the journey — no greed for destinations.

  2. Your posts and artwork always touch something deep within me- I think because you can relate to spiritual abuse and pain, yet despite it you continue to seek truth.
    This particular post and artwork hit right at my core. It is where I am in the moment and it is an excruciating place to be. Here is hoping I find new land soon.

  3. David: Brilliant. The moment we start to leave the herd and begin moving a direction that is significantly different than others, the relational landscape around us changes very quickly.

  4. “Explorers enjoy the journey – no greed for destinations.”

    I like this Sabio. I think one of the most palpable deficiencies in my Christian experience was the inability to enjoy the journey so prevalent in the churches I attended. If our focus was not always on the eternal, then we were seen as being to worldly.

  5. hi! i like what you wrote! ja, sometimes i feel very alone. not only from people, also from God. i don’t know why. i don’t talk to HIM not as much as i did before, when i went to church. since i left the church everything changed and it’s still changing. i never saw me as a pionieer. i hope, that i will find that land or what God has in store for me. blessings to you!

  6. True–Real change is never easy, and for many it can be very terrifying. I know I lived most of my life with that framework dogging me at every turn.

  7. Forging ahead. I think what helps is that I tend to be a solitary person anyway and over time I’ve come to understand that I’m misunderstood by many and that’s okay with me. I realize that to be misunderstood does not mean that I’m wrong. For too long I thought that and would go with the sway of the crowd, but no more. Pioneers often go it alone or with a much smaller crowd and if you think about it, we probably wouldn’t have much of the advancements we have in the world today (even some of the changes in the Church) if pioneers listened to the naysayers. Not every idea works or is good, but to give up just because people criticize you without offering any substantial alternatives is to never know the taste of possibility.

  8. Something else that I’ve found is that often as a pioneer, unbeknownst to you, you serve as an example to others. I’ve at times had people to contact me or pull me aside and ask me questions as a result of things they’ve seen me do. Being a pioneer is lonely in that hardly ever are you commended for what you do, but in those rare moments that people do or come to you for advice, you realize that your acts have not gone unnoticed. Sometimes they embolden others or at least give them hope that they too can do whatever it is that they fear to do.

    This topic is also quite telling, because it tells us what we fear most: the rejection of others. If we would let that realization sink in, we might realize that we’re allowing others to hold sway over our lives. We’re living captive to the thoughts and opinions of others, and I for one, want to live my life to the fullest and not with the regrets that I held back because of the opinions of others. That is a miserable feeling and leaves you angry at yourself.

  9. “Pioneers simply understand that in order to enjoy their own lives to the full they are going to have to leave the herd.”
    I didn’t understand why I had to leave, I just knew I couldn’t stay. The further out I got…the darker and scarier and lonelier it seemed to get….fear almost made me turn back.
    I am so thankful that I had a spiritual counselor who encouraged me through the process, that fear was a natural part and that it would pass.
    Now…I am enjoying the journey and consider myself an explorer…or maybe a good description would be a Free Range Free Believer 😉

  10. God calls us into a family of believers when He calls us. We are part of a group. There are no lone ranger Christians.

    Other Christians need you, and you need other Christians. Even as you desire to be alone and do things your own way.

  11. Pat, I think your example is so true. I have had friends who have suddenly found themselves leaving the herd, walking out similar experiences, calling and asking me about my own journey. And even though we can only live out of our own destinies, it is comforting to know that as pioneers, we are not the only ones.

  12. The Old Adam
    Leaving the herd is not necessarily synonymous with severing relational ties. Its just that very often, in order to follow your heart, to explore the possibilities of all that God wants to show us, we can not do it within the confines of tradition. I left the herd three years ago, yet continue to have fellowship with those members’ of my ‘Christian’ family who have also found themselves leaving the herd. And one of the most amazing things all of us ‘herd leaving individuals’ have discovered, is that God is moving in incredible ways that look nothing like the ‘herd’. Fact is, we see Holy Spirit in places we didn’t think She ever went.

  13. Well put Shawn. There will always be those who seek to define for us terms like “family” and “the body” in very narrow ways attempting to tie it to the religious institution. For those of us who have chosen to “leave the herd” (great term BTW) we know such a limited understanding can no longer contain us.

  14. LOL Gary: I’ve actually seen more of “God” in the last 3 years, than I did for the twenty before that. I love my ‘Christian” family, yet I’ve discovered that my ‘family’ is so much bigger, diverse and glorious than I ever thought possible. The Bible says that the glory of God fills the whole earth; not just churches, temples, and mosques. And you know what, it’s true. I see it everyday, in very non-traditional-christian places and ways – God manifesting Themselves through people – so not ‘traditional’.

  15. Bible reference? often said in churches but never quoted… It doesn’t make something true.

    The greco/roman culture (context of most of the NT) believed it was much more difficult to be an individual but if the divine (muse) inspired you to be. You should do so with excellence. I think almost everyone on the site will agree that ‘lone ranger’ing as you call it is harder.

    Yet, isn’t that lone rangering in some ways what the apostle Paul did when the Spirit called on him. Support himself with long hours of dilligence and hard work. Preach where Christ was not named. Strive to reach people where they were at. People came along afterward and he was like a father to them.

  16. Old Adam: what shall we say of Philip in Acts 8? or of Saul in Acts 13 and 14? I think that there are explorers/pioneers, by all means. They abandon the ‘family of God’, and create a new family of God on their journeys… and because of them, the news of Jesus goes to the Samaritans, the Romans, the Ephesians, and even one day, to the Barbarians. Even if the ‘church’ refuses to pray and fast for them, they should not be ‘disobedient to the heavenly vision’ of His calling away from the known into the unknown.

    Old Adam: There will always be believers in Jerusalem, so to speak… and by all means, they are believers. You may grow best there, in Jerusalem among the ‘pillars of the church’. However, I offer that you should allow those that are called to hear what the Spirit says to them, to respond and say, “Here am I, send me.”

    I also offer that there are also those that are satisfied with their exploring, and have returned mostly to the ways of the sea. They may go between the ports of the New World and the Old World, carrying passengers along with them. They are our sailors and medics. Their joy is walking in the light, as He is in the light, and having fellowship with the travelers, the explorers, and the returnees.

    I think that some explorers are deeply frightened by the variability and danger of the New World, and need quick passage back to the Old. They are returnees. Of such was Mark, who ‘turned back from the work’ [in Acts]. They need the sailors to understand and hear out their fears… and to help them travel back to the Old World. In my experience, such passengers can never fully ‘return’ to the Old World and re-prosper in its caste system of theology. I’ve come to see, after a time of healing, the ‘Marks’ of this world will often try again to book passage to the New World and re-explore. It is all right to explore and then retreat, and then try again. We need sailors that are open to helping them across the oceans once again. We all need our Barnabas.

    Other explorers find that the ‘christ’ they were taught is inadequate for explaining the New World and its apparent ‘wildness’, richness, and vastness… and they may abandon the ‘christ’ they knew to find a more complete view of the ‘fullness of the godhead’… and they are often thrilled at the depth of belief they soon develop. Such depth of belief could never have been developed in the Old World or by returning to its customs. Indeed, the Book of Galatians talks about the shallowness of Peter, who tried to live out the New World in terms of the Old; and the Book of Colossians introduces us to a definition of Christ that is mind-stretching, indeed.

    On the other hand, other explorers abandon any relationship with Jesus altogether; or abandon any faith in the divine. I often pray for them, that God will give them a true ‘gift of faith’ once again, for in my mind, they were among the brave that dared. I am sad that they shipwrecked their faith? – well, yes. But I never forget they had the courage to build that ship, to sail out on the oceans, and to face a New World. And, I think our Father has a special place in His heart for His Joabs, His Samsons, and His Josiahs… for they did not bury their ‘talent of gold’ in fear, but invested with bravery.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  17. Hi David…find your stuff very thought/heart provoking…. a kick in both at times.
    Have experienced terrible isolation in a church where hubby & some fellow travellers I stood up against head honcho ..[looking back we think that he has N.P.D.]
    2 yrs to recover, now in completely diff. church… KOINONIA , community of faith and love… no power trips..very cool.

  18. Absolutely David!! I have a play on words here………..

    I’m now more free and more alone without as many other churchy folk, BUT I’m less alone than ever!

    …….More connections with more peace now than since before I “became a christian 33yrs ago!”

  19. hi folks! with me god is dealing totally different. i always was with people around me and i was listen to them and to this person. now i have to learn to be with HIM! and to listen to HIM more than to people! i don’t know exactly when it started that it did not matter so much for me anymore, to be by myself and nobody around. but it’s ok for me now. i don’t need so much people around me anymore and i’m fine with it.
    2 or 3 years ago, God helped me to leave very special people to me. it was very hard in the beginning, but it’s getting better. i can not and i want not going back to church. there is nothing what i’m missing. i thought i had so many friends but it seems like there is no one left over… blessings to you!

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