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Fighting Shadows by Jefferson Bethke and Jon TysonSample

Fighting Shadows by Jefferson Bethke and Jon Tyson

DAY 1 OF 5

Uncomfortably Numb

It’s hard to articulate just how loneliness feels, but an apt metaphor might be all the colors draining out of your world. You gradually start seeing—and feeling—everything in black and white. But you have a wife, kids, responsibilities, a job to tend to, people depending on you . . . so you don’t stop to process or think about it.

You just keep chugging along. Things might even look good on the outside. Your business is rocking. Your kids are thriving. Your wife likes you. Even so, you’re starting to lose touch. You’re sad and numb. You might even feel like a zombie.

At the same time, the prospect of being doomed to loneliness can essentially freeze and dull us. That’s exactly what loneliness does: it deepens our sense of unwanted disconnection. All too often, we reach a place where we can’t feel anything. At first glance, we might think it’s because we’re strong, that it’s a superpower to move through life without being overwhelmed by emotions. But the reality is that we are suffering and dying on the inside, and we are just too numb to realize it.

You might be wondering, Can loneliness really kill? The answer is yes. Loneliness can, in fact, be just as strong a predictor for illness and death as smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Sleep is also less restorative for the lonely. Loneliness weakens your immune system. It also increases the risk of dying of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Not only does it kill, it warps our view of reality. Problems seem to loom larger on our own.

What can we do to escape from this shadow? I (Jefferson) don’t think “getting in touch with your feelings” is the cure for loneliness. Nor do I think group therapy is the answer.

Can those things be helpful? Of course. But the real cure for loneliness is friendship—deep, enriching, long-term relationships with friends who stick “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). But many guys don’t have a lot of friends, and we struggle with being a friend. Help is on the way: we’ll look more closely at the superpower of friendship in our next entry.

Heavenly Father, thank you that you see me in my numbness, fear, isolation, and longing, and you remind me that I am not alone; you are with me. Amen.

Day 2

About this Plan

Fighting Shadows by Jefferson Bethke and Jon Tyson

So many men today are living in the shadows, hiding from hurts, fears, and regrets. When shadows fall over our hearts, we tend to overcompensate (with aggression), shut down (through passivity), or medicate (in escapism)...


We would like to thank HarperCollins/Zondervan/Thomas Nelson for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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