The irony of this generation is that we are some of the most “socially connected” people, but more than ever we are battling the grave of isolation. Just the other day someone was sharing with me the paradox that the more she browses Facebook, the more isolated and alone she actually feels because it seems as though the world around her is all connecting…without her.
We are longing for relationships. For true, genuine, heart to heart connections with others. It’s one of the desires of my heart as well. But isolation is a relentless monster, willing to pounce the moment he gets a chance. And around the holidays, it seems that he pounces even more.
I’ve noticed, though, that there are three kinds of people when it comes to techniques in facing the trap of isolation. Some compare, some complain…and then there are those who actually make the time to connect. Which of the following do you tend to be?
The Comparing One: It’s easy to compare, isn’t it? And now with social networking as incredible as it is, it’s WAY easy to compare. Photos, events, parties, get-togethers, status updates…with one click of a button you can be lining yourself up against every friend in your queue. Comparing makes the world around you seemingly incredible- while the world you live in becomes smaller, and darker, and far more alone. Comparing takes your eyes off of what you have, and puts them on what others have. It’s a pit that is sure to leave you feeling more and more alone with every passing thought.
The Complaining One: We can all think of someone who fits in this category, and like Michael Jr. says, if you can’t think of someone…then maybe they’re thinking of you! People who whine and complain about how they are miserable and alone, how no one wants to hang out with them, thinks of them, or includes them in anything. They are the passive ones, who live their life reacting to what others do…and most of the time, that reacting is in negative form. Complainers don’t get very far in connecting, because by the very nature of complaining- it pushes people away.
The Connecting One: Rather than being reactive to the world around them, Connectors are proactive. When it comes to fellowship and community, they play offense not just defense. They don’t wait for the desert of isolation to become the norm, because the moment they feel it, they are picking up the phone to call a friend. Connectors are the people who seem to get 100 text messages a day (unbeknownst to us, they’ve sent 500 texts that day). They’re the ones who have people over, plan dinner dates, call a friend for coffee, take part in a small group, or join the church softball team just to stay connected. They practice hospitality, and they don’t wait to be invited before they take the opportunity to invite. They ask questions, make others feel important, and serve with all of their hearts.
I know some connectors, and I’m inspired by them, because at the end of the day, I really believe the connected life is the life God calls us to live. Jesus was a connector, taking the time to really give to those around Him without waiting around for them to give to Him. And the miraculous thing about people like that is when you refresh others in that way…you find yourself supernaturally refreshed.
With the new year approaching, I want to be proactive, rather than simply reactive. I don’t wait to wait around for someone to notice me, to love me, and to connect to me. I want to be the one who shakes hands with people at church, invites a new couple over for lunch to get to know them, has a neighborhood get together, and calls a friend just to see how they are doing. I want to be a person who is connecting with others and loving others the way Jesus loves me.
I don’t want the trap of isolation to take over and lead me into believing the lie that I am all alone…because in all honesty, lonesomeness is the fastest road to sinfulness, whether it be through my mind or in my heart.
I want this year to be a defining year for me when it comes to battling isolation. I say it’s time to make some real connections and squelch the disease of isolation. What say you?
Do not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
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