Out of the Cave and Back on the Winding Road That Leads Home

Out of the Cave and Back on the Winding Road That Leads Home

I love summer, but not so much when it gets outrageously hot. That’s why the cool Autumn mornings and evenings with its delightful fresh air is so welcome right now. Heat can make me grumpy, discouraged, and depressed. The hot months mean it’s cave time, and it’s easy for me to hide inside in the air conditioning and try not to let my thoughts and emotions take over. Like Elijah, who was running and hid in a cave (I Kings 19:3-18), I know there is only one way out. I must choose to walk out of my cave and move forward.

What causes our discouragement that can lead to depression?

Many different things can cause discouragement and depression. We often hear how health issues or chemical and food imbalances cause it. I found myself in a depressed state many years ago and couldn’t figure out why until I was diagnosed with a thyroid issue that was causing it. Sometimes depression is just the weather, but hiding can also be a choice we make when fear takes over.

What we focus on matters? When Elijah ran for the cave, he left his servant behind. Discouragement and depression make you want to isolate yourself, and that’s the biggest mistake we can make. Many people are still trying to get out of their cave from the isolation they went through during the pandemic. Some live in a cave because they spend too much time on social media comparing their life to others who seem to be living the high life. Sometimes we stay in our cave and hide because of the stigma of being labeled as a failure if we’ve been let go from a job, been caught in an unforeseen economic situation, or perhaps been caught in a challenging family issue. If we hide, maybe it will all just go away. In our “all about me and my influence and success” social media culture today, people back away and don’t want to be associated with someone deemed a loser. It might damage their reputation.

Is the solution spiritual?

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The Physical Touch of God and Why Your Touch Matters

The Physical Touch of God and Why Your Touch Matters

“I just wanted someone to hug me.” This was the comment I had from one of our Influence Women members on a Zoom webinar as the pandemic was coming to an end. We had been discussing why relationships matter and why Influence Women is essential. She was single and, during the pandemic, had been left for weeks without much outside conversation or actual physical touch – a hug. “It was one of the most difficult times I have ever had to experience in her life,” she said.

Touch is essential to humans.

Many studies have been done on the effects of babies left and never touched or picked up, of people who were left untouched in nursing or care homes, or even for long periods on deserted islands. The result is often irreversible trauma emotionally, physically, and sadly even spiritually. God created us to be in relationships. Jesus touched the people He healed. Thomas required Jesus to show him his hands and feet after He had been resurrected. Jesus said to him, “… “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27 (NIV). The reason God sent Jesus to our broken, sinful world was so that we could touch, see, and hear God physically through the flesh of Jesus. In today’s 24/7 access to information and emerging AI technology, physical touch is becoming more important than ever to knowing and experiencing real truth and love.

I’ve been blessed to be married for many years (more than I was ever single) to a loving husband who likes to touch things. I do too. He sometimes laughs at me when I shop because I touch things. But I have had to stop him from time to time when he talks to someone he doesn’t know because he, with his caring manner, will lightly touch their elbow or back when he stops to talk to them. People today don’t like to be touched because they aren’t touched anymore. It can unfortunately feel offensive instead of caring. My children and grandchildren don’t live near me, and I miss their physical touch, and not being able to squeeze them regularly makes my heart ache. “Facetime” is great, but it’s just not the same as hugging their necks.

We can still feel God’s touch on us today.

God wants us to touch Him and longs for our engagement with knowing Him intimately. He doesn’t require anything of us but to love Him and spend time with Him. He is love – perfect love. We feel His touch through our personal encounters. It’s a mystery to me still, but I feel God in my prayers and meditations when I read the Bible. I feel Him through the arms and hugs of other believers. Sometimes it is just the squeeze of a hand in a prayer circle or a pat on the shoulder, or a high five. Sometimes I feel God in a crisp Autumn breeze or in the sound of ocean waves pounding. Sometimes it is the aroma of flowers or pine trees or the smell of a baby’s cheek. I sense God’s joy in the sound of children giggling, a dog’s wet nose-nudges, or in the expressions of praise, song, music, and worship as believers gather together.

God touches you when you touch each other.

My heart leaps for joy at Influence Women’s gatherings when you come together at events, and I see you touch others’ lives. When you hug each other, the room explodes in a deafening noise of love. It’s why the Influence Women community of women touching each other needs to grow more. We need to gather others so that we can touch the world with our stories, projects, music and art, and ultimately share God’s loving touch with a depressed and lonely world. Our culture needs to touch each other through our artistic and creative work. When we collaborate and intimately connect, the darkness in our world is changed by the Light of the World.

I hope you will make an effort to schedule the Influence Women event dates in your calendars when they are announced and show up to touch others. Join the relationship-building INspire gatherings and bring a friend to the larger professional events. Register for the online Bible study or a mentorship series. Come and volunteer. Your touch matters to someone, even if it’s just a smile on a screen, a caring prayer you give, or an encouraging word about something you’ve learned. We grow stronger and more powerful when we touch each other. You have touched me, and I am forever grateful. Keep touching others – they need you. We need you.

Register for the in-person Hollywood Chapter Professional Brunch, and bring a friend – We want to see you there and hug your neck!