Here is a basic premise in life: If the connection is weak or nonexistent, there will not be the productivity desired, expected or needed. Ever had a battery cable in your car not making good connection to the post? Ever had a light switch in the house where the wire had stopped making a good connection? Ever had headphones where the plug was not making a good connection to your phone? The experience is the same in all three scenarios – the item needing the connection did not work properly.
The same is true in the life of a Christian. God created us as relational beings. He created us in His image (Genesis 1:26). He created mankind and then awakened a desire to have a companion (Genesis 2:20). God brought all of the animals before Adam for him to name them. Adam recognized that all of the animals had a mate, but he did not have one. God was doing two things: 1) teaching Adam to be dependent on God; 2) awakening a God-given desire for companionship in Adam that God would meet through a wife. We were not created to be Lone Ranger Christians.
I am an introvert. I enjoy my time alone. I enjoy pulling away from the hustle & bustle of daily life. I enjoy the solitude and haven of our home. Yet, I enjoy being around people. I enjoy the company of others. In fact, I miss it when it is not in my life. If I am away from church on the weekend for travel, when I get back it feels like I have been gone for a month. As an introvert, I was practicing social distancing before the CDC and White House coined the phrase.
Technology is such an integrated part of the human experience that, many times, we do not even notice how it has moved in. Sending a text, Tweet, or Instagram post happen without thought or effort. Zoom, email and other technology have improved processes by simplifying the task and bringing the world to our fingertips. However, I sense that we have become so disconnected from others in our interpersonal communications, yet we do not realize it.
In the recent weeks, we have watched as the world has been slowly, but surely, taken over by the COVID-19 virus. In our communities, we are now experiencing the restriction and cancellation of social events. The anxiety is high for all generations. Ultimately, we like the convenience of technological connection, but we crave human interaction. We were created for it. Conversation is encouraging. This is why we love ” catching up with old friends”.
I’m not advocating for elimination of technology. I am advocating for the inclusion of the element of human connection. As our nation grapples with the restrictions from the necessary guidelines for combating the COVID-19 virus, people are going to feel different degrees of isolation and loneliness when their social events are restricted and cancelled. Christians are going to miss the fellowship of the Body of Christ as our ability to gather corporately is restricted.
I would suggest a few action steps for both now and post-coronavirus that will help us with having healthy connections with others:
- Make a phone call instead of a text. Make an in person visit instead of a phone call. People do not just “stop by to visit” anymore. Use the most direct and personal means of communication to help stay connected. Texts have a place, but let us not lose the art of conversation.
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Regardless of what street or road you live on, you have neighbors. When we lived in a more rural area, our neighbors were sometimes a quarter mile or more away, but they were still our neighbors. Do I know my neighbors’ names? Do I have their phone number? Is there anything I can do to serve them?
- Go for walks in your neighborhood. You will be more likely to meet neighbors. You will become more familiar with your surroundings. You will likely learn to love where you live in a new way.
- Attend the local festivals and celebrations in your community. Purchase locally grown food, produce and crafts. This develops a healthy sense of appreciation for your community.
- Get involved with local organizations and causes. Serving is a guaranteed way to develop connections and friendships.
- Avoid making connections to advance your agenda or standing.
- Pray for God to stir in you the desire and commitment to make connections with others.
- Be the friend to others that you want others to be for you.
Remember, if the connection is weak or nonexistent, there will not be the productivity intended, expected or needed. May God grow us in our relationships and friendships so that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength while we also love our neighbor as ourselves. Spiritual growth will be measured in our incremental growth in love for God and others.