Thursday, June 29, 2017

“Socially Connected But Relationally Unplugged”

Tweet this! Follow me! Retweet that! Update my status! Post in this thread! Comment on her comment! Click "like"! It's interesting how we live in a culture that "seems" more "connected" than at any time in history, and yet is obviously more disconnected with reality and life than ever. Texts, Tweets, Posts, Follows, Re-tweets, epic threads, and more! There is no distance in the world anymore it seems. You do something incriminating, embarrassing, or just plain stupid one minute, and it shows up on YouTube the next. Ours is a world that has grown accustomed to instant access, endless information, quick downloads, immediate response, and instant gratification! It really is an amazing, and sometimes dizzy-ing phenomenon to take in! Do you remember the days of phones with chords? Digital pagers? Rotary phones? How about the days before call waiting and voice mail? Today, those things almost seem like folklore from the "dark ages". There was a certain freedom in being able to leave your house WITHOUT a phone. There was an eager anticipation in getting an actual "snail mail" letter. It was an enjoyable experience to be able to sit down and have a substantive conversation with someone WITHOUT competing with text tones, notifications, and phone calls about nothing from people who were simply bored, and just wanted to call you to tell you about the latest app they had just downloaded. We communicate in bite size morels. We listen in "tweet" sized spans of time. And our "relationships" have become "on-the-go-status update"-meals that temporarily satiate a craving or a need, but once the need is filled, we trash the "expendable" relationship like a half eaten McFriend sandwich with cheese. Life is lived through the lenses of gadgets, gizmos, and digital timelines. But where is the heart? Where are the relationships of substance? Where are the worthwhile investments of time, personal growth...AND patience? As I write, I'm a bit disheartened by people who I've attempted to have relationships with who have a hard time even keeping in contact with a 2 minute phone call, cup of coffee, or at the very least, a quick email. Communication with them is in sporadic nugget form, at best. They have no margin in their lives. Their schedules, their cultural philosophy of achievement and "keeping up" determine their time and their priorities. Many of their "relational" connections are opportunity-motivated instead of being developed and motivated from a meaningful "heart" connection. So many people desire that sense of community and connection, but are unwilling to be an active, involved, and committed part of helping to facilitate that. THAT would mean gettin' off "the treadmill", not settling for a text or a tweet. That might involve you seeing someone face to face, having a genuine heart to heart conversation, and perhaps even putting your phone on "silent" while your full attention is outside the frantic pace of your mad mad world, and instead, on the life of another. I've taken a long, hard introspective look at how I've defined relationships through the years, and it's been interesting to watch my relational "philosophy" morph and evolve during that time. I'm at a place in my life where the people that matter most to me are those who are "lifers". People pass in and out of your life, and for a dude like me, it's kind of tough to "let go" of any relationship. But the reality is, some people are seasonal--there for a moment or two, then they're gone. I think as I've gotten older and hopefully wiser, I can recognize certain "indicators" early on that kind of "foretell" what type of relationship it's most likely to be with some people. The key with me has been learning to accept the fact that some people are only capable of being "seasonal" type relationships. And I can no longer take it personal when they "move on" from me to their next "ever changing" season. They may even "cycle" back around in a few months--even years from now. You can engage them on a certain level while they're there, but don't expect much depth, longevity, or substance. And after years of struggling in identity crisis and personal insecurity, I'm finally at peace with that! After all, I'm defined by only ONE, and He is perfectly pleased with me, and nothing I do or don't do can change that! What security! What love! What a relationship! And in the meantime, I look for those people who are on a journey, who enjoy adventure, who are looking to share their stories, and who have a passion to grow in the wonder of Love Himself and the amazing community that is born from finding others who are traveling the same "trail"! I am learning to live life within the "unforced rhythms of grace", and simply observe what Love is doing in and around me. So many naturally occurring relationships are all around us, waiting for us to engage them! Don't waste your time trying to force people into your expectations, live up to theirs, impose a relationship into existence, or chase after people who hardly understand the concept of what it means to be a friend. Just open your eyes and heart and watch Love Himself organically and creatively connect lives and hearts on this journey. I have found that being patient in discovering those life relationships is well worth the seasons of solitude, "alone-ness", and stillness you may experience along the way. I'd much rather embrace those "still" times, where I can have room to grow, listen, learn, and connect deeper with Love Himself, than to waste those times cluttering my life with the noise of superficial relationships, or trying to gain some pseudo validation or acceptance from those people. There is certainly a freedom in re-connecting with the God-given original passions of Life, and the people created to be a part of your "life mosaic". These connections will grow naturally, authentically, un-contrived, and deeply! Keep your soul aimed in THAT direction! All other stuff, and people.....simply distractions! Journey on! 

Colossians 3:1-2 (The Message) "[ He Is Your Life ] So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective."

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