I’ve been enjoying working my way through the book Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory Over the Lies Formed Against You by Tina Yeager. I met Tina, a licensed mental health counselor, writer, and life coach a couple years ago, and she has shared her wisdom and advice generously with me as I seek to infuse courage into parents who need help fighting for faith when a kid struggles with mental illness. (Find out more about Tina here.) The book empowers women to find their true strength as beloved daughters of God, and to recognize and fight against myths and misconceptions that hold them back from becoming their God-created selves.
A year ago, I wrote a series of blog posts on the Painful Top Ten for parents whose kids have mental illness. Loneliness made the list, so when I got to the chapter on loneliness (Chapter 7 “Prevailing Over Loneliness) in Beautiful Warrior, I was eager to hear Tina’s wisdom and encouragement for the hurting women suffering from this heaviness in their souls. Although loneliness can and does affect people in all kinds of circumstances, women whose kids have mental illness can feels these wounds even more keenly. This chapter in particular made me stop and think through the issues through the lens of a mom who has a kid with bipolar. The questions and challenges helped me ponder the topic for myself.
Tina offers great insight about some of the factors that can exacerbate loneliness. Social media can be a great way to connect, but succumbing to comparison with social media posts can have the opposite effect. Pictures of happy families, graduations, vacations, weddings… all of these can feel like a slap when our family is anything but happy, and we don’t know if our kids will ever celebrate these milestones. When we do decide to connect, we can be beset by fears: with all my brokenness, do I have anything to offer? After experiencing ignorant and judgmental comments, can I trust other people if I let them close? Am I trying connect just to have my own needs met, or to develop genuine friendship?
Leading us to self-examination, Tina challenges us to get to the root of the fears keeping us from healthy connections. “Anchoring our relational identity in our relationship with Jesus untangles the distortions born in loneliness,” she writes. The starting point of our identity in Christ allows us to move forward with healthy relationships that combat our isolation. When we know who we are in Christ, we can trust God to fill what is empty, and to protect and mend our hearts. We can abandon our efforts to fill our loneliness by artificial means, and instead lead with love for others. In God’s upside-down kingdom economy, our lonely hearts are filled when we serve.
Most of all, we need to honor our needs for community with authenticity and the strength of our confidence as the beloved of Christ. If our only connections involve glimpsing the surface on social media, putting up facades to hide our insecurities, building walls to protect us from hurt, or trying to manipulate others into meeting our needs, we will never prevail over loneliness. Tina tells us, “A sprinkle of shared time fends off waves of loneliness.” I know it can be hard to find time to meet up with friends and nurture our relationships. Still, I urge you to make the effort. For some more discussion on the topic of loneliness, click here.
I recommend Tina’s book for women who want to live out of Christ’s strength and truth. You can buy the book on Amazon, or from New Hope Publishers, where through 7/20 you can get a 20% discount with the code WARRIOR20. If you read the book, would you leave review? It is the greatest help a reader can give an author. For more great content, visit the Beautiful Warrior Tribe Group on facebook, or go to Tina’s website, where you can read her blog and see videos on the topics in the book. Tina says, “Besides a daily latte, what keeps me going is my hope of inspiring someone like you.”