Joy in an Era of Deception

Sunshine is streaming through every window this morning. The sky is blue and clear on every horizon. It’s still autumn and the grass around my house is green due to the extra rain we’ve been blessed with this year. The sun’s return is exciting after so many days of clouds and I can’t wait to get outside. I put on my slippers and wrap myself in a throw, then open the door leading to my deck, and then stop. Things are not as they appear from my sunny window, a small cracking of the door makes me painfully, aware of how cold it is outside. I was deceived as much by my longing for warm weather, as by the appearance of a warm, sunny day, despite my knowing reality of cold temperatures, in the high desert during this time of year. Disappointed I quickly close the door, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in front of my sunny window with my Bible in hand. It’s cold outside but thanks to Jesus, I have all that I need and though deception may frustrate my desires, it can’t destroy my joy.

As I read and pray, applying those passages to my life, I consider how easily I can be deceived into believing what I want to believe. I think about the times and the deception that pours into my life through another kind of Windows. I’m connected to the world by the screens filled with words, voices, and images, through Windows that open but offer a sense of glass-like protection from the harsh reality containing the view of the outside world that they offer. Without experiencing the climate and conditions of the hard-copy that I experience as virtual reality, I can’t know the full truth of what I view, read, or hear. I’m very likely, to fill in the blanks with my imagination, fueled by my desire to experience what I am longing for. It is my unmet needs and wants that set me up for deception.

The internet is a virtual world of opinion, fantasy, and longing. It is also, a place that promises wealth and power to those willing to use the internet to manipulate others. We all present ourselves somewhat, differently online than what we are in reality, we can’t help it. It is natural to show our best selves publically but some take it to a whole other level. Social media is a narcissist’s dream come true, giving them the ability to re-create themselves as they wish to be and even, the ability to create many false-selves useful for manipulation. Those with good intentions, looking to fill some unmet desire through online experience, are prime targets for those who gain good feelings about themselves by abusing others. Even when there is no abuse intended, people can be deceived by their own imagination filling in the blanks of limited information with what they are looking for in another. When enough time passes for the reality to emerge, people find themselves feeling tricked and used. Sometimes, they are tricked but mostly, they tricked themselves. Online personas aren’t entirely, real but there are real people behind them. Virtual personas can’t feel pain but the people behind them are badly hurt every day.

As I sit in my sunny window, enjoying the warmth and the glow that is a very different reality on the other side of the glass, I consider how God wants me to walk through this new era. How do I maintain joy in a world where most people now, connect virtually more often than in real life. Just as I need warm, sunny days, I need human companionship. How do I participate in the new world, in the midst of so much deception and maintain my joy? The answer comes to me and it comes by the same source that believers have trusted in for answers for many centuries, from God’s Word. It is in allowing God to govern my desires and in my allowing Him to fill my need that protects me from deception. It is in pointing others to Jesus for answers, rather than to me that keeps others from seeing too much in me. Though, I can’t always control how others might imagine me, or always know when they have an ulterior motive, I can trust God’s protection. As in all the ages past, I am to be in the world but not of it, and fulfill my calling by taking the truth about Jesus into a dying world. It isn’t about me, it’s about Jesus and in that fact, I find security from deception. The world is changing rapidly but Jesus remains the same and the joy I have in Him is enough to satisfy every need and desire.

Open to Joy!

Insular safety, closed off in cavernous refuge;

My hiding place, my home, it’s the natural me;

Needing no one! I’m cuddling in this lie so huge;

Self-imposing my isolation; refusing to be free;

Once it was good reason; year of pain deluge:

Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain! Pain!

Terrible bell! Agony’s relentless knell tolling!

Now, clanging stopped but left memory stain;

Lick the wounds; all the while days keep rolling;

Forgotten, moribound isolation finding no gain;

Satiate isolation fed on old memories re-rolling;

Disconnect! This torturous clanging, re- tolling!

Lone! Lone! Lone! Lone! Lone! Lone! Lone! Lo…

As Holy Spirit wind gusts! Window flies open!

Joyously! As sunshine floods self-incarceration!

Lighting dark corners, revealing all left broken;

As song birds soothe away my need for isolation;

Paving way for hearing His trust Words spoken!

A shattered soul’s reconnection with His Creation;

Heaven’s bells sing! As a new song begins ringing!

Love! Joy! Love! Joy! Love! Joy! Love! Joy! Love! Joy!

Heart wounds fester; mortify in cave-like isolation;

Healing starts when lonely hearts pry open to joy!






Rising Above Isolation and Finding Joy!

Loneliness is a common experience. Everyone knows what it is like to feel lonely. The aloneness of isolation is the deep dungeon of loneliness. Some choose isolation as a means of dealing with the aftermath of trauma but aloneness is counter-intuitive to the social nature of human beings and it is chosen only, in desperation. Isolation is an imposed condition that some are conditioned by and become accustomed to. It is imprisonment and no matter the circumstance that forms the prison-cell, aloneness is a highly painful condition. There is no joy in isolation and complete abandonment ends in madness.


Silence roars in long-empty rooms and time becomes a concept dismissed, in a world that exists only, inside of one head. The need to hear another’s voice and be touched gnaws on every fiber of being, when living within the abstract state of abandonment. Aloneness is self-existent fog, where all life experience blends and co-exists in the present moment. Memories and perceptions fill the vacuum of isolation, as they soothe and then haunt the lonely and confined prisoner. A child who grows up in this state is a haunted child, who trusts no one but themselves for soothing. As they travel though life, they carry the aloneness with them, seeking it out as their normal state of being. They seek self-solace in the false promise of splendid isolation but the gnawing need for another is never satisfied. Even though they may not be able to name that need or define it, the basic human hunger for connectedness remains.


I was a neglected child and I know the torture and the torment of isolation, well. I have come full circle and in my later years and I’m experiencing isolation once again, due to failing health. When hard things come into my life, it is natural for me to retreat back to the state of aloneness I knew as a child and give myself comfort. I learned early in life not to depend on anyone and I only trust others as much as I am able to trust myself to keep myself safe from them. As I face the specter of failing health and fading independence, my natural instinct is to crawl inside of me and stay. I have spent more days of my life than I can count in the dark cave of self, commonly called depression. However, I’m not really alone and I have learned a better way of living and enduring isolation. By my faith in Jesus, I rise above my circumstance and my limited perception of it, as I seek God’s perspective on me and my problems. I pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I open my Bible and as I read, I listen with spiritual ears for direction and insight. As if beside God, I look down on the good and the evil that I am subjected to and over which God reigns. I begin to see things much differently and I realize that even as a small child, I was never alone. My Father was there watching over me and it was because of Him that I survived. From before the world was founded, He had a purpose for me and my life. He even used the evil of neglect and isolation back then to mold me and conform me to His image, into the woman He designed me to be. He is doing the same thing in the isolation I am enduring now. I listen to His still small voice and feel the warmth of His presence. I am refreshed and joyful. I praise Him and lift up my requests and then I begin to pray for others. I rise and instead of waiting for someone to reach in, I reach out. I write, I make phone calls, send cards, send emails, and before I know it, I’m caring for others. My aloneness is consumed and I am replenished by Love and restored to a right attitude of joy.