Connected - Love, not Likes

So for those of you that do not yet know me (in person, that is) I am a hugger. And not just a regular pat-on-the-back kind of hugger - an over-loving leg hugger that at first makes the person on the receiving end feel a bit awkward. In the end, most love it or at least tolerate it. #score

I have always been a person of physical touch. When people are crying, I hug them. When they get engaged, I hug them. The more people I meet the more I realize, not all are like me and I totally respect it! (though I still might leg hug them…)

What I am noticing as a mom of two boys in her late 30s is that more and more people have connections, but less and less people show physical connection. Most of the time we don’t even see each other. We just “keep in touch” via FB posts and IG videos. Now listen, I am not knocking social media. I have my own health coaching business and I know I need it so I’ve stopped trying to think I don’t. I believe it has its uses and benefits.

What I want to talk about today is 3 ways to get back to human connection, even if we are scrolling our feeds before and after.

  1. Make time for friend dates. Even if it's for an hour to get a green juice or coffee, make time to meet, phones off, looking at each other and really asking about her life. How are they feeling? What is going on besides the filtered photos on Instagram? Does she need prayer in any area of her life?

  2. Join a group. Any group! A local bible study, a group where people have the same interests (our church even has a running group!) or even just cook out with neighbors on a weekend night. Make a habit of it and commit to going for at least a period of time. Like Dabney said in her post, the Wednesday night group she went to reluctantly turned out to be just what she needed!

  3. Make time in your schedule. Here me on this one - ONLY for the places where the people you love are available. There are hundreds of events locally and on Facebook when something pops up, it's hard not to get immediate FOMO. Like, I have to be there or I won’t know what opportunities passed me by. I used to think a lot like this. I said yes to everything and in the end, I truly believe I was missing other opportunities God called me for because I was overbooked and overwhelmed!

I decided early late year that I was only going to leave my family for the events that I know would connect me to people God wanted me to be connected to. There was a toxic group I was giving a lot of my time to that I left to step up as a leader of PBWN. From there, I joined a bible study that met every Monday and changed the way I started my week. I did not connect with these ladies on social media after the study was over. But when I saw them the other night, I remembered their names and what they were praying about months ago and we hugged and could not wait to be together, in person, again.

If you are not sure where to make connections - pray about it. Ask God to bring the people into your life that you can serve and love at this point in your life. We are all in different stages. Something Amy Oliver said at the last PBWN event was really interesting to me. She said it's important to have people in your life that are not in the same stage you were in.

Thanks to Epic Beauty, I have a few women I look up to that I hope to be just like when I am their age! I was only hanging with moms going through the same thing I was - raising young kids while working and cooking dinner and sitting at various parks throughout Palm Beach County. They were exactly what I needed for constant connection and empathy, but I learned I also needed those who have been there before me. God gave them to me as friends to help with advice, sympathy and sometimes just a hug while saying “I know it's tough, but you will get through it. Here is what helped me…”

At the end of the day we all thrive on love, not likes. We love, because He first loved us says 1 John 4:19. If we cannot love people through genuine connection, how can we show love to the world as Christians? I challenge you (and me!) to connect more in person than online, to join a group that can hold you up when you are down and to forget about FOMO and say yes to only the events God is calling you to be a part of. Not sure? PRAY!

--Jes Royston

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