“You aren’t walking alone.”
That single line from my recent conversation with Mike Joyner has hung with me since we recorded this month’s podcast episode. When I reflect back, I’m not even sure that Mike intended to be so subtly profound…he seems to have a knack for sharing bits of wisdom like that, though.
The quote, itself, was directed at anyone who might be struggling – to serve as a reminder that there is a network around us at all times. Ready to help.
The problem is that our brains can be real tricksters.
Even though we might not be alone, we have a tendency to convince ourselves we are. When times get tough, we often revert to a bootstrapping, go-it-ourselves mentality. It’s a dangerous frame of mind.
Think back to some of your tough times. What was your go-to reaction?
Some people adopt a sense of shame if they feel they need to rely on someone. Some may experience guilt, believing they would be burdening others with their personal issues. Some may suffer anger or resentment if they think they can’t succeed on their own. And some are just stubbornly independent.
The risk we run in these scenarios is isolation.
If we allow our brains to chase that rabbit too far, we really can convince ourselves that we are alone. We place ourselves on a metaphorical island far away from those we love…we push away or feel undeserving of any sort of support.
All of this “walking alone” concept reminds me of the Book of Ruth.
Whether you are a Christian or not, I believe there is some significant relevance to the story. (Side note – I also believe a faith or belief system can be GREATLY beneficial for your overall mindset and ability to navigate difficulty…but that’s a different story for a different day!)
While Ruth is the key character and namesake of this book, the story starts with some background on her in-laws. More specifically her mother-in-law, Naomi.
Naomi’s family chose to leave their home in Judea to escape a famine and made their way to Moab. While there, Naomi’s two sons both married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth.
Unfortunately, Naomi’s husband and sons pass away, leaving her in a strange place with only the wives of her sons. Naomi, undoubtedly, must have been overwhelmed with the loss. When she heard of the famine passing in Judea, she decided to leave Moab and return to her old home.
We can start to see signs of Naomi’s struggle with grief when her sons’ wives offer to return to Judea with her. She tries to dissuade them from joining her. Not once…but twice.
While one daughter (Orpah) finally accepts the urging of Naomi and stays in Moab, the other (Ruth) remains by her side on the road to Judea.
“Where you go, I will go.” (Ruth 1:16)
There is much more detail around the story of Ruth and Naomi. But that lone verse takes me back to Mike’s comment…we don’t have to walk alone.
No matter how much Ruth was pushed away, she remained by Naomi’s side. And, despite Naomi’s best efforts to isolate, it didn’t change the fact she needed Ruth.
When we experience challenging times, we have to remember to leverage the network of family, friends and colleagues around us. No catch. No shame. No guilt.
On the flip side, we also have to remember to be a support system to those around us, even when they might be attempting to isolate themselves.
To hear the full conversation with Mike, check out the most recent podcast episode at the link below!
Looking for information on specific subjects or have ideas on who could make a great guest? Feel free to reach out with any comments or suggestions!