Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Would You Be Missed?

Here is a sad truth, we lose contact with people on a regular basis and we never miss them. In churches today, people come and people go and often no one notices. I served at a church for 4 years, and when I left I lost contact with several people. We exchanged pleasantries here and there on social media, but those people who said they loved me and cared about me, when I was gone I wasn't really missed. I admit my part, I didn't reach out and put the effort into it, the relationship was built on convenience and when it wasn't convenient, it was gone.

When work or health or other issues take you away from a community, be it work or church or a social group, we lose contact quickly. Let's be honest, it happens. We get distracted and we mostly move from relationship of convenience to the next one. People we work with, go to church with or live by are those we have relationship with. When it's no longer easy to maintain these relationships, we just sort of them let me. First, let's tackle why this happens.

First, we are too busy. I am going to say we are stupid busy. We are busy with work and school and hobbies and events and stuff we are always chasing. We are busy with our kids and parents and family activities. We are so busy that we basically live to go from activity to activity. This doesn't give us time to build deep relationships.

Second, community has given way to convenience. Wal Mart has taken over the local market, we don't get to know the local grocer, we don't know the name of the checker at Wal Mart, and let's face it, they aren't known for great customer service. We go to Wal Mart because it's cheap and we can get all the things we need in one giant warehouse building place. We want big and cheap and cool. In the city I live in, we tore down all the small community schools and merged them into big schools. Even churches are no longer small and friendly, they are big and loud with lights and powerpoint presentations, cool music and videos. We roll in, get the stuff we want, we roll out. Community isn't what it use to be, when is the last time you borrowed a cup for sugar from a neighbor? When is the last time you actually talked to your neighbor?

Next, we have false connections. We have fake relationships due to a myriad of factors. We are too busy, we are looking for convenience and we have all this technology that makes us feel connected. The problem is, it's not real. You can learn about the aspect of myself that I post on Social Media, but you never know me. We aren't real on social media, we are shallow and superficial. There is no real exchange of information about who we really us, just social posting that portrays whatever we want to portray.

Bottom line is we have shallow relationships. I do, I'll admit it. I don't want to be judged, I hate it when people give me the 2 minute "here is how you fix your life" speech, and that is what we have become. If you are struggling, someone will just fix it for you. Why? Pride. People want to have all the answers to appear they have their lives all put together. We hide behind how great our lives are and how much we know and how we aren't screwed up like everyone else. It's because we are shallow and our relationships are shallow. I'll be your friend if it fits in my schedule and I can make time and effort for it.

Here is some honesty, I don't have many deep relationships. I have a friend in Arizona who is my Jonathan, or I'm his Jonathan. Not sure which one of us is David, but he is my closest friend. My brother in law is awesome, but I'm sorta stuck with him, cause he's family. I have a good friend here in Iowa who can call me on anything, but life has caused us to grow apart, and I don't see him much these days. Outside of that, I don't have the deepest of relationships. I have tried, but I have learned it's not worth it. Sounds horrible, doesn't it. I have had people try to fix me without knowing me, I've been tossed aside in exchange for something trivial. A man who I trusted with my dream ended up crushing that dream in an attempt to "increase morale". Relationship of convenience. As long as we provide the goods, we are good to have around.

Being a true friend is messy. It takes work, it takes time, it takes humility and compassion and vulnerability and most of us are in short supply of all these things. We don't have the time or the energy or the patience for it. We would rather just have surface friends. It's easy and not as messy. Unfortunately, we miss things like accountability, we miss true fellowship. Our iron never comes into iron of another and no sharpening is done.

Here you go, here are the solutions. First off, we need to realize that we don't need to spend all of our time doing stuff. We don't have to fill every moment with activities. We need to slow down and we need to calm down and give ourselves some time to build relationships. Schedule some unscheduled time.  Second, you need to find someone to connect with. You don't need a thousand or hundreds or even dozens of close friends. One, two or three is you really like people. You need someone you can share your hurt and pain and hopes and dreams with on a realistic level. You need someone you can tell about your lust, lies, hurts, and pains who won't judge you, give you the quick dime store fix and will walk with you. You need to have a small group Bible study. One of the reasons I am SO very passionate about Flake Formula Sunday School is that it's the perfect group for this type of relationship building.

The most important thing we can do is be honest about our relationships. We need to understand how relationships are in this day and age. Realize that if you leave your church, most people won't notice. It's not because they are bad people, it's because we don't know how to really connect anymore. If you stop talking to someone because they are not convenient, know this is a reality. Find someone who you can be real and authentic and human with. Find someone you can really connect with and will walk with you on his journey of life.