The Danger of Isolation When You’re Hurting (How to Lean into Community)

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” (John 10:10 VOICE)

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. We’re surrounded by celebrity suicides, and those that shock our local communities. A common thread weaving through these tragic losses is silence. So many of us suffer quietly. John 10:10 empowers us to swap loss for restoration. Every life has an immeasurable value to the Father who crafted each with specific purpose, in His own image.

The statistics are scary, but that means there’s probably another soul within arm’s reach that truly feels our pain. The story of Queen Esther often comes to my mind, as I take stock of my placement in another’s life, as well. Perhaps, “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14) that cup of coffee brings enough camaraderie to soothe a soul. God is not a God of coincidence. He’s purposeful and loves us perfectly.

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“Back Roads to Belonging,” by Kristen Strong

“Back Roads to Belonging,” by Kristen Strong, subtitled, “Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People,” is a wonderfully written work about fellowship, friendship and actively engaging in community. “Don’t berate yourself for not belonging where God never intended for you to belong,” writes Strong. In nineteen chapters broken up into three parts, “Wandering,” “Finding,” and “Inviting,” Strong encourages us to engage in Christ’s idea of community. 

“If we’re the new coming to the neighborhood, the newest congregant at our church, or just can’t figure out how to connect with our coworkers,” Strong writes, “we can absolutely be thankful for the goodness of God yet still struggle with our sense of belonging in those places.” 

This book was timely for me, as I’m walking through a season of newness in my life. Change challenges us to grow past comfortable faith. The advice and encouragement, and the way Strong ties the truth of Scripture into the pages she writes, will help readers see connecting with community in a fresh and inspiring way. It’s a quick read that grabs attention from the get-go. 

Throughout the book Strong tells “traveling companion” stories and shares “belong blessings,” in order to illustrate and cement the overarching message of the book …you belong.

“When we speak the truth of what God says about us and has done for us, whether before others or before our own tired selves, we will not be put to shame.” Kristen Strong, “Back Roads to Belonging.”

I highly recommend this book. Strong is encouraging and relatable, rooted in Scriptural truth and an excellent storyteller. 

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Click here to purchase a copy of “Back Roads to Belonging.”