Wired For Connection

Ladies! We’re so excited to kickoff a series on “Connection” at PBWN over the next few months.

It’s a meaningful and critical journey to pursue deeper connectedness in our lives, and we hope that this blog and event series fills and restores you, encouraging you to pursue more of that connection in your life! 

Why Connection? 

We were wired for it, literally. There’s no denying that we were created for connection. It’s a need that can affect our health if we don’t have it. 

Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, researchers warned in a recent webcast.(HRSA, 2019).

Yet in a society where we have a way of life that relies on our devices, we seem to be experiencing a new level of loneliness and lack of connection. 

The average person in the U.S. has only one close friend, according to a study published in the American Sociological Review. One in four people have no confidantes at all. Zero. To make things worse, 75 percent of people say that they're unsatisfied with the friendships that they do have, according to a 2013 study. (NBC, 2019)

How Did We Get Here? 

I think about the massive increase in screen time we’ve had as a society over the last decade, and the uprising of a movement that’s now looking at this, and choosing to cultivate a “slowness in spirit” instead. Rebekah Lyons “Rhythms of Renewal” focuses on daily rhythms that restore our souls - with things like: walking, journaling, being outside, connecting face to face with people, and taking time to create new things and enjoy hobbies (it all sounds glorious right?).

What becomes clear in digging into these rhythms, is that what used to be an assumption, now needs to be an urgent reminder. 

We used to assume that we’d read books, spend time outside, talk to people face to face and enjoy hobbies - we now have to examine our lives to see if we’re making space for it - and be able to put our technology away long enough to be able to do it. 

From 2012 to 2018, the total daily amount of time spent on a mobile device in the US by adults jumped from 88 to 203 minutes a day.

That’s 3 hours and 23 minutes per day in 2018! (Yikes!)

There are so many good and amazing things that technology can do - but there’s also a part of it that I believe is stealing our moments - stealing intentional moments with those that we love, stealing moments for that extra hug, that question that someone asks us when we’re looking down at our phone, that eye contact that conveys understanding and support and love, these “little” moments are big, and when we allow them to become a priority, it’s the beginning of our journey to restore connectedness in our lives. 

The Landscape: What does the landscape of needed connection look like? 

As we began to think through our series on connection, there are 4 different areas of connection that come to mind. 

Connectedness to our Creator. This has been life changing for me personally. Reading the Bible, and praying and asking my God, “what do you want me to do today?” - and lingering long enough to hear the answer - is life giving and changing.  It’s simple, anyone can do it, and it can take just 5 minutes a day to start, and then you’ll find that you’ll want to remain in that place constantly! You don’t want to go without it, because it’s a constant source of direction, vision, purpose, and connection on the deepest level possible. Literally walking one step at a time - keeping in step with the Spirit is the greatest treasure. We need only be still enough to ask and listen. 

Connectedness to Ourselves. Self awareness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. When we are able to spend 5 minutes at a time checking in with ourselves to see what we’re thinking and why we’re doing what we’re doing, we’re able to “real time” process things. It doesn’t leave room for letting things fester - it brings things into the light - it allows us to call things out as they come. The benefit for us is freedom - freedom from feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or in turmoil. Healing is the greatest gift we can ever give to ourselves, and we have a Creator who desires nothing more than to give it to us!

Connectedness to our Families. I crave time with my husband and my kids, like literally crave it and feel this protection over it. Time with no agenda, no projects, and no to do list (nearly impossible) - a sabbath. This has come up quite a few times with friends recently, what does it look like to take a real day or even half day a week of just hanging out? Sitting around reading or playing games or just looking at each other while we talk - this connectedness breathes new life! 

Connectedness to our Friends. When we find relationships that fill us up, it breathes new life into us. Friendships like this can be hard to find, and sometimes issues come up that we don't know how to handle in friendships, and that can work against connectedness. In our February event, we'll be talking about how we can communicate honestly with each other, and how this can help our relationships go to deeper levels. As you begin to think about who that might be for you - write those people down that fill you up. How can you be more intentional about fostering that? Monthly coffees or walks on the calendar are a great start. 

When we have meaningful connection in these places, our cup overflows - and when it overflows, we share it! 

I picture a fountain with a couple levels….when we receive from our Creator, ourselves, our family and friends, we have overflow to pour onto others. But the first priority is the restoration of ourselves, because if we aren’t restored or filled, we can’t pour anything out. 

Don’t let your well run dry. Don’t let messaging and social media interactions and emails replace face to face conversation and connection. Don’t let distractions prevent you from connectedness this year, there are so many good things waiting for you.

We can’t wait to dig into the topic more on February 27th, and hope you’ll join us for the kickoff! (Don’t wait to mark your calendars and grab those tickets!)

--Lauren Shippy

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