We are Wired for Connection

I have had a rich week. I am super relational, a true people person, and I know that about myself. I will choose people over tasks anytime. This week has been quite unusual though because it was people packed.

We are all wired for connection and we need it for many reasons and I believe it’s  beneficial for the soul. Of course, it’s important to rest and practice silence and solitude, too and I practice those disciplines as well.

Yet I am equally convinced people are in desperate need of human connection because we are wired for it. But many people aren’t aware of how isolated they have become. Isolation is a strategy of the enemy of our soul and its so insidious.

One connection was with my dear friend Dana. I was eager to meet for a face-to-face conversation. We devised a plan to meet at a local coffee shop I had suggested. Dana leads a full life and I hoped that she remembered our plans.  So, before heading out, I texted her to confirm and warn her that I may be a tad late. This is the text string:

fullsizeoutput_95d5 I arrived a few minutes before she did so I grabbed a seat in the back, where we could visit comfortably. I laughed because when she sat down we chatted only for a couple of seconds before Dana, who is hyper aware of her surroundings, got distracted.  We have that in common. I mean that in a good way. Dana is amazing at room decor and making the environment beautiful and pleasing.

She was distracted for a few minutes as she looked around and drink it all in. I made her laugh when I told her she was as flighty as me!  SQUIRREL!

She quickly spun her head around to canvas the walls and saw a few things I had missed. “Oh, boy!  Look at those up there!” She exclaimed.

“Oh, golly I didn’t even notice those three and I’m usually pretty observant.” I admitted.4k+piDrVQB2wBjmjiyVUqQ

We reconnected right off the bat and rattled away as we shared life stories. We talked about the real stuff, ” Sorry, to interrupt you Dana, I’m planning to lauch a podcast and it is going to be this kind of stuff…conversations and interviews and may have portions of some of my talks from time to time. I told her the title and said, “I’m going to want to interview you for sure.”

“Oh, “Rache,” she said through laughter, “I’d probably be better off if I didn’t know we were recording!”

She took a sip of her coffee and eyeballed me a second. I scooped up my phone to snap this shot because she is so dear to me. (I didn’t know until later I’d blog and use it.)

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We covered:

  • hormones
  • birthdays and aging
  • social media
  • God’s faithfulness and surprises
  • husbands
  • grown children
  • dear mutual friends
  • our upbringings
  • ministry
  • vacations
  • dreams
  • decorating

It didn’t matter to us that there were two ladies in close proximity, nor an elderly couple who later took their spot. We also had two mama’s with three pre-school boys who ate their macaroni and sandwiches at the booth a foot from us. It didn’t even phase us we just talked above their high-pitched voices and weren’t bothered by their constant activity. We basically closed that back section of the shop down.

It was a beautiful connection. Connection is essential. We are wired for it.

So in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

Dana has been such an encouragement to me in my life, ministry and during hard trials in life too. I sometimes begin my texts to her this way: Hey, Barnabas! She is one of many, who play the role of Barnabas, an encourager, in my life and I am incredibly grateful.

Because we are wired for connection and life gets busy, let me challenge you to call or text someone now. Set up some meetings next week with a few different people. Make sure your “meeting” has no agenda, just be together, simply catch up on each other’s lives. You’ll both be glad you did. Sometimes someone just needs to initiate.

To prove the “SQUIRREL!”easily distracted thing I mentioned earlier, I was mid sentence when Dana’s brow crinkled a bit, she squinted briefly and gasped. “There are acorns on your chair! Look behind you. See ’em?”

She was right. Two acorns adorned the chair I was seated in. “Stay put, I’m gonna take your picture” she demanded.

IMG_4354Because the chair was topped that way, she curiously investigated the bottom of the upholstery to see what kind of legs my chair had. I lifted the skirted pieces to expose the legs. She discovered, “Oh, well they’re just normal wooden ones.”

We had a ball together! We showed our photos of places we’d been. We testified of the ways God had been blessing us with serendipitous moments and the personal ways He has been revealing Himself lately.

After we thanked God for His goodness and the gift of friendship, the barista took this photo at our request. The minute she snapped the photo I knew what I wanted to blog about. I want to blog about how we are wired for connection. 

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We hugged and I headed to my car. As I began to fastened my seat belt, I noticed the clock. It read 2:00! WHAT? 

My seat belt went CLICK and my phone went DING as I received this text from Dana:

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We are wired for connection for sure! So how about you? May I reiterate my earlier suggestion? How ’bout you jingle someone’s line and see if they’d like to get together. Your week needn’t be as people packed as mine, but your life will be richer with human connection, I’m convinced of it. Go ahead, you can be the one who initiates.

BTW: You could also check out Dana’s amazing things on her website: https://burlychic.comI plan to connect with her sometime soon, Lord willing, when I get the podcast going and you can listen in on our conversation. Stay tuned!

 

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From Anxiety to Adventure!

When I was a young girl, I was fearful of new experiences and would experience random anxiety issues over the littlest things, like going over to a friend’s house or attending a slumber party.  I remember having to take medicine, from a brown glass bottle with a cold spoon, even before walking to school in the morning. Even though I wanted to go to school and see my friends, I’d get all hepted-up and have a nervous stomach ache.

I’ve always been relational. I love to be with friends. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t enjoyed learning about and from people. But my desire to be with people was hampered a bit by these pre-event jitters or anxiety related to new adventures.

Even something like summer day-camp seemed scary because it was new turf. I really didn’t enjoy day-camp and begged not to return after the first day. I had made my little sit-upon as a craft at day-camp, I recall.  I went into the backyard to find my mom in the garden and asked her if I could just stay home instead of going to camp the next day.

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“I made my sit-upon, isn’t that enough?”

 

“I’ve already made my sit-upon isn’t that good enough?” I asked her. I don’t remember whether or not I went back to finish the week. But it all begs the question, how did this little girl grow up to be someone who thoroughly enjoys new experiences and has traveled near and far to be with people and encourage them?

The answer, quite simply, no seriously, the answer is… God. He is the reason for peace in my life. He is the reason for any turn around and for every good thing in my life. he is for me not against me. He is working all things together for my good. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is for you too.

He is:

  • in charge
  • sovereign
  • good.
  • the God of instead.
  • amazing

HE is an awesome God for me and for you.

I actually had the privilege of speaking about Hope and I used the topic: “The God of Instead” from the book of Isaiah chapter sixty-one.  This is the passage that talks about Jesus’ Identity and how he is known in heaven, his resume actually. It also speaks of the role of the believer. Read it and look for the power of the INSTEADs of God.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
I have repeatedly experienced the INSTEAD of God.
God has given me:
  •  instead of anxiety, peace.
  •  instead of fear, His perfect love.
  • instead of a spirit of heaviness/depression/fainting, joy unspeakable and full.
  • instead of hopelessness, hope.

Let me share a few photos from my recent trip to the Middle East- UAE and Oman. I had a great deal of firsts and great adventures provided by the God of Instead.

Instead of anxiety I live with adventure!

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As a little girl, I always wanted to see the world. As I looked out at my audience, I thought… I’m seeing the world!

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women’s conference photo credit: Sarah Shalley

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women from 45 different nations were present.

 

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A few first time adventures:

  • visit to a Mosque
  • desert Safari
  • ride on a camel
  • belly dancer performance-live not on television
  • tour in Dubai
  • travels in Oman
  • walks and wading in the gulf of Oman
  • time speaking in Oman

Do you know the God of Instead? He has come to bring life where there is death. Hope where there is hopelessness. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. He truly is a God of  INSTEAD.

Righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, that’s the Kingdom of God. Because of Jesus and the work of God in my life I don’t live with anxiety but with adventure instead.

 

 

 

“Um, Hang On A Second God.”

A young, sweet friend of mine told me she was doing her morning “quiet time” with the LORD. She grabbed her journal, Bible, cup of coffee and sat down. A moment later, with pointer finger in the air, she whispered, “Umm, hang on a second God, I’ve got to go get my bagel out of the toaster.”

We both shook our heads and giggled as she relayed this story, because it’s absolutely laughable, right? “Hang on a second God, I’ve got to go get my bagel out of the toaster?” WHAT?  As if God wouldn’t be with her when she crossed the room and went into the kitchen to get her toasted bagel.

sliced variety of fruits on round baked bread

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

BUT it is a pervasive thought many have. In the morning, when I set enough time aside, God is with me. But when I go about the normal activities of my day, I’ve left him behind. Where do we get this kind of thinking? Is God only with us while we sit in our quiet time chairs or saying our prayers?

No! God is with us everywhere and knows everything about us and our days. Every day is written in His book before any of them come to be. Here is a portion of Psalm 139:1-16. As you read it, I hope you will be comforted by the God who is familiar with every detail of your life. You can’t escape his presence.

O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say

even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
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If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
lighted candle

Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
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We are all in process! We can be thankful for the nearness of God and His presence in the process. He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 

So say aloud.

  • I am in process.
  • God is still working on me.
  • God is with me, right now!

No matter where we go, no matter what we do or how we feel we have these promises of God:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

Do you ever feel like God is distant or is uninterested in your life? If so, I hope you’ll take comfort in the fact that God is a “with us” Emmanuel. He is very near.

Thank Him for his presence even in the morning when you are eating your bagel.