I don’t have vivid memories of many of the teachings and sermons I’ve heard over the years, but one talk from my first week of college stands out to this day.
I was at a get-to-know you campus ministry picnic and after the meal we gathered for a brief talk from one of the leaders. He shared from Luke 2:52, saying that his hope for us during college was to follow the overall guidelines and like Jesus grow physically, intellectually, and relationally with others and God.
I know, starting off with Jesus as the model is both the “right” answer and a bit discouraging because he is, you know, Jesus! Of course he grew and connected and flourished.
As I’ve been thinking and praying through this post, this talk popped into my soul right away and God smiled and say, that’s what I desire with connection too. “I desire a holistic connecting where you connect physically, intellectually, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, for fun and for serious, in all areas of your being! I made you, in my image, for connection!”
So, I set off in my head to write this post and it was a good. Oh yes, it was. But then I sensed God say, “OK, now that you’ve got the basics, let’s go deeper because there will be women reading this who will want to roll their eyes at connection because they’ve been hurt so much and there will be others who will want to laugh or cry because every time they put themselves out there in some way, they get shot down and they are weary. They are weary of trying and if all you offer is rah-rah happy connection is great, they will be even more disconnected.”
If this describes you, know that God knows and he stopped me cold before adding to your pain. God sees you. He knows you long for connection and that when a part of you connects with someone else, that is a whisper of your true self.
One of the beautiful gifts of living overseas is that I learned to connect with a much larger range of people than I had connected with back home. When I either connect with you or have HOURS and HOURS that lead into DAYS and MONTHS and YEARS of loneliness, suddenly you look a lot better :)! And I’m all the richer for realizing someone doesn’t have to be my same marital status, age, or even like what I like, for me to find (and even make) connection points!
This summer my niece Emily went on her first cross-cultural trip to inner city Los Angeles. When she got back I asked how she got along with Grace, who is a year-older and rather quiet by personality. Her answer was one we could all learn from. “You know Aunt Amy, Grace asked if I’d talk with her about popular music (Grace’s interest) for 20 minutes and then she’d be willing to talk about whatever I wanted to talk about for 40 minutes, knowing that I’d talk about Emily Dickinson and poetry.”
“How’d that work,” I asked her. “Great, we both got to talk about what we wanted and was heard.”
It’s that brilliant? Ask for what you want and be willing to listen to someone else talk about what interests them.
Back in the day when TV was a rare thing overseas, my teammate and I lived for the packages of VCR taped TV shows. When all you have to watch is what shows up, and you like TV, you’ll watch whatever arrives! My teammate was into PBS Shows like
- This Old House –Renovating old houses before it was cool and the hosts were your average carpenter men and it wasn’t SPECTAULAR and GORGEOUS, it was educational and functional. Norm taught me a lot!
- Painting with Sister Wendy – A Catholic nun in her habit sat in front on an easel and, you guessed it, explained how to paint. She had a slight lisp and a heart of gold.
- Master Piece Mystery – Not Downton Abbey, no, these were the long drawn out British Mysteries of the 80s and 90s.
Let’s just say I broadened her with ER, Friends, and Frasier. OK, so one of us high culture and one of us not. But by watching the shows the other person liked, we grew to like them too and created more connecting points.
Can we briefly circle back to those times though that we are not connecting? There might be three reasons we’re not connecting:
- I want to say this first one very lightly and in no way to blame you for not connecting! But I also feel invited by the Spirit to tell you the truth, so I’m going to. It’s possible you’re not connecting because there is some area of your life that is unhealthy and until that area is addressed, you will not connect in ways you l-o-n-g to. Often we know what that area is, but it is hard or embarrassing or you simply don’t know where to start. If this is you, pray about it asking the Holy Spirit who is one person you could talk to about this area of your life.
- Maybe others around you are not as healthy as you are emotionally or spiritually and though you can be friends, you won’t connect in deep ways with them. Unfortunately, we can often only go as deep as someone else is able.
- Maybe we’re not connecting because we have an ideal of what connecting looks like that unrealistically high or low, keeping us either perpetually disappointed or not willing to try and risk.
Well, now! I’ve said a mouthful. Let me end by returning to God’s desire for us – that we are women of connection. Connecting with ourselves, our teams, the cultures we live in, with Him, with others, with nature, with art and poetry and music. Doesn’t the mere idea resonate with your soul?!
What are some ways you have connected with others you wouldn’t have had the opportunity if you’d stayed home?
Come share with us on the prompt, “Connect”. Here’s how:
- You can share with us in the comments if you don’t have a blog of your own. We have the amazing ability to post images in our comments! So post images of your art and/or share yourwords there.
- If you write a comment, please avoid copying and pasting from Word as this will publish a lot of junk computer code. It’s best to type it directly into the comment box.
- If you have a blog, write or make art based on the prompt and join the link-up!
- Be sure to add the Velvet Ashes link (https://velvetashes.com/the-grove-connect-2) to your blog post. You can add the prompt image too!
- Please select the permalink from your post (so not your blog’s url,daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.combut your post url:http://www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com/2013/11/todays-day.html)
- Click on the blue “Add your link” button below to add your blog post to this page.
- It will walk you through selecting which image you want to show up in the link.
- Then your picture and link will show up below!
- Then be sure to go visit each other’s sites and share some comment love! It’s the rule. We applaud brave hearts!
If you’re reading in email, be sure to click “Read in Browser” to go to the site to view the link ups and conversation in the comments.