A self-imposed exile is a terribly lonely place filled with fragments of broken dreams, bits and pieces of promises unkept, and ominous shadows of betrayals done to you. You are not in that place because you were forced there. You are there by your choice. You have isolated yourself in an attempt to avoid the pain that inevitably comes from having relationships.

Is it better to seal yourself off, to make your world smaller in order to avoid potential pain? Is it better to keep people at arm’s length so that they will not say something insensitive or do something that wounds your heart? In this cave of woes into which you retreat, you will find anger, bitterness, and deeper regret. When you make our world smaller, you make yourself smaller. You may avoid added pain but you also limit greater joy. There is a reason exile was used as punishment; it hurts the one who is isolated.

No one has forced you into your self-imposed exile and no one is keeping you there but you. Emerge. Hear Jesus call to you as he did to Lazarus. Come forth! That cave is not where I intend you to be. I have a whole world for you. Yes, there will be triumphs and defeats, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, but in the exile of your choosing there is only the false security that comes with isolation.

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