You and I might think that the cure for disconnection is just putting the phone down. And sure, that may help. I’ve tried technological abstinence and had moderate success. It is possible to live without technology for a few days or longer. But ditching technology is not the real solution to our problems. Afterall, disconnection is a human problem; technology just makes it worse.
For that reason, let’s pick up from where we left off last week with confession as a conduit to connection.
First and foremost, we need to stop making excuses and giving reasons why our life is so miserable. The challenge is that you and I need to stop blaming others and take responsibility for our own sins. Blame is insidious as it will keep showing up in your mind to convince you that nothing is your fault. We all have excuses, reasons, explanations and justifications for why our life is the way it is. There are reasons why your self-esteem is low. There are reasons why you struggle at work. I get that. Yes, as real as those reasons are, most of the time, in our thought life and prayer life, we focus on the things we can’t control. We demand that our spouse change, our kids treat us better, or the boss behave fairly. But when are you going to stop focusing on what you can’t control and instead start focusing on what you can control? What if, for one month, your prayed only about the things within your control. Well, to begin with, I believe you would stop making excuses.
I’m sure you are wondering to yourself – what do I do, do I just forget the past? Pretend that the divorce did not happen, that my heart was not broken, deny the bad things that have happened along the way? Absolutely not! But instead of using those experiences as excuses, try use those pivotal moments in your life as explanations that can lead to transformation. Explanation is different to excuses as explanation carries with it the language of inquiry. Explanations are the fuel for the curious, the brave and the driven. When you search for an explanation as to why you have a hard time trusting or opening your heart to people, you can make progress.
When you stop using your past as a justification, you will also realise that maybe, you have problems for which you are responsible. True, you didn’t cause your parents’ divorce, but you’ve chosen to hang on to the hurt past its expiration date because you refuse to face it and or address it. You tell yourself, “it did not affect me, it’s their life, not mine, it will just go away“. You’ve refused to look inside, to forgive, to ask God to help heal you.
Remember my friends, healthy people treat reasons as explanations, not justifications. Justifications lead to stagnation and eventually either to denial or self-pity. Self-pity chisels into stone what discouragement whispers. Once you start confessing your sins, you will start to see yourself as the problem and God’s transformation of you as the solution in your life.
Finally, another way to connect to people is to stop being in a hurry. I love to push the limits and squeeze out the most of everyday and our connected world has made that possible but this brings with it a few concerns. I have come to realize that a hurried life is an unexamined and disconnected life. Hurry kills intimacy with God, with family, with friends. Slowing down your pace is the only way you can pause long enough to confess the mess you are in and the mess you’ve created. It’s the only way you can engage the people around you. It’s the only you can be truly present with your family. Love has speed, and it is slower than I am. Love pauses, love lingers, love offers full focus and gives far more than it takes.
Here’s something I’ve observed; the leaders I admire most and who have accomplished the most tend to be people who never seem in a rush, who have all the time in the world. Hurry kills so many things, including intimacy. So, what would it take for you to really slow down and connect? What would it take for you to stop rushing through life? What would it take for you to just put down your phone, look into the eyes of the people you care about and connect? What would it take for you to cross out some activities from your to-do list and add people instead? What would it take for you to slow down long enough to hear the sound of your own breath, to pray and reflect, to rest in the quiet that has eluded you for so long?
In the process of connecting with others, you might finally connect with God…and something more unfamiliar may happen, you might just connect with yourself?
Do you need our assistance to connect with yourself? We are here to help you.