On How rugged individualism can kill you

This is a time in our western civilization when we are becoming more fragmented and disconnected as people.

Oh, we say we are more connected than ever before with our cell phones and txt-ing and emails and blogs and on and on it goes.

But the truth is we are still separating ourselves from others at an alarming rate of speed.

It might be that a new job opportunity moves us away from home. Or we work longer hours and hours that take away our opportunity to be with people we care about. Maybe we feel like people are busy with their own lives so we don’t fit in with them any longer.

Whatever the reasons, we are simply coming to the place where there are less and less significant people in our lives on a daily basis.

Doctors are saying that this is one of the reasons we are increasingly living with low level stress in our lives. That leads to physical ailments, emotional problems and relational breakdowns.

It also leads to spiritual deadness.

Paul reminds us in Colossians 2:19 that we are joined together in Christ’s body “...supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”

The ligaments and sinews and some translations include “Joints,” are the connecting points of the body of Christ. They are the places where two parts of the body meet together, where they “Relate.”

Since we as followers of Christ are part of Christ’s body, we are growing in Christ as we connect and relate to others in his Body. If we separate ourselves from others, then how can we grow in Christ?

Indeed, if we are cut off from his body we will die.

So these days I’m thinking about whom I am connected to. Who do I have relationship with, who do I invite into my life and share life experiences with?

I need friends in my life who will walk with me and challenge me and grow with me because that is what causes me to grow.

Who are the people in your life who have access to your heart? Maybe spending some time cultivating relationships is the best and most spiritual thing we can do for a while?

Build something eternal and gracious and life giving in your relationships. Start by calling somebody up and go out for coffee, and welcome them into your life.

Then pay for the coffee.

Comments

  1. It seems that more and more, people are becoming pros at barring others access to their hearts. It's the false facade that we think others want to see. I'm sure there are those who are saying that "yeah, everything's ok" but at the same time they are silently screaming that life is unbearable at the moment.

    I agree that we need to let others in a little more. But.....are we as a society even wanting to be let into another's life? or are we too wrapped up in ourselves to really care beyond the cursory "how are you?"

    Just a thought....

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  2. Great post. You're absolutely right.

    I am acquainted with quite a few people, but I know very few.

    I'm not even sure I know how to do that anymore? Most of us aren't willing to open up to others and other people don't want to make the effort of getting to know us and don't want to risk opening up to us. We're afraid to ask probing and difficult questions, because we might offend or might hear something we don't know how to deal with.

    Relationship means responsibility and we already have enough responsibilities in our lives, don't we?

    Well said, Randall.

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  3. Intentionally connecting with people is sometimes what saves me from spiritual deadness. But I am amazed at how incredibly difficult it is at times! It's the most natural thing in the world for me to grab someone, of any age or gender, and buy them a coffee. The reception I get is usually one of surprise. "You want to have coffee with me? Really?" Like no one has ever invited them before...they don't know what to do. They don't know how to carry on a real conversation, even, don't know what to talk about. But once we get past the initial awkwardness - God always blesses that time for the both of us.

    I so wish more people would call and invite me for coffee. :-) Sure, it's hard sometimes with the kids and all...but that connection is vital. I just don't experience it on a Sunday morning, or even in a small group.

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  4. What I've been thinking about lately re: the Body of Christ is that, b/c there are many parts, it means that I, personally, don't have to DO EVERYTHING. It's okay for me to play my part (no matter how small it is) and do it the best I can, and not worry about the fact that I'm not also being an arm and foot and a back and kneecap. And that notion is slowly giving me the freedom to be who I am and just do what I'm doing. I tend to connect with friends quite well and we have significant discussions and are open, so the "relational" aspect of it is less of a struggle. But when it comes to letting people "do" things for me instead of doing it myself, that's when I have the struggle. Does that make any sense?

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  5. I wonder if a part of the issue is that we want to see into the lives of others.... but wish to keep our own secret and safe. Consider:

    'Reality' TV.
    How we surf
    Stories we read

    I appreciate those who are transparent to me through choice. Sometimes I struggle to be transparent (which is funny, as for so long I was ALWAYS naturally open) but it seems the only way forward.

    Randall - come on over for coffee. I'm buying. ;-)

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  6. :)

    I'd love to.

    I think that for many people it gets easier to have and grow an emotional attachment with a TV Character than it is to develop our own relationships.

    They are easily accessible, don't cause personal problems for us, and you can just turn them off when you've had enough.

    Same for some books and perhaps even some blogs. It's easier to get emotionally attached with a blogger than it is to work on your own relationships...

    Hmmm, I may have to think where this all goes.

    again.

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