We live in a time that is consumed with social networking. We tweet and facebook our daily lives, some in vivid detail. As I write I have over a hundred friends on facebook-many I don’t even know. I live in a world that is adept at networking but is too often unable to form meaningful, rich relationships. Too often ministry mirrors the world in its inability to build, nurture and sustain meaningful relationships with the people we lead and often with our own family. We live in a sort of tension : A God given desire to connect in deep relationship but an innability to do so. As I reflect on this dynamic two major barriers come to my mind. PACE And FEAR.
PACE- Think about the speed of our lives- we tweet, instant message, text while we drive, we eat meals in our cars. We live in a state of perpetual motion without time to rest, reflect or form meaningful relationship. We move more but we weigh more – we’re watching the obseity rate rise in America. It is epidemic amoung the student we work with. Where is this comming from ? PACE. Researchers have determined that without adequate sleep ( 8-10 hours a night) yet studies have suggested that the average American sleeps 5-6 hours per night. Why are we sleeping less – we simply have too many options. Thoose of us who are 40 or over remember at time where there were 20 channels or less on a TV and you actually had to get up and change a channel – now we have hundreds combine this with laptops, PS3 and Xbox- Often we struggle with entertaining ourselves or resting. We as a society have become to busy to form rich relationships. I am amazed at how much down time there was in Jesus’ life – he was absolutely intentional in unplugging from the grid. Look at your schedule . Ask yourself what activities actually contribute to meaningful relationship and what are just busy activity- When possible eliminate activity that takes you away from meaningful relationship.
FEAR- The book of Proverbs tells us that the fear of man will prove to be a snare. Reflecting on my life I have seen this reality at work in my life. Fear prevents me from truelly being present to the people God has placed in my life. What can I fear ? I can fear: rejection, anger,disappointment, failure, or not being liked. If I allow my fear to overtake me I will begin to move from being authentic to managing my image. As long as I’m managing my image I am unable to be there for others, give honest feedback, challenge the relationship if necessary. As I reflect on the life of Jesus- I observe His freedom. Paraphrasing the Gospel of John ” Jesus didn’t entrust himself to men because he knew what was in a man.” Whenever I move from trusting God to entrusting ourselves to people I cease to be able to be real with them. When I entrust myself to people they become my gods. I will place my desires and needs that only God can meet on them and I will both fear them not coming through for me and resent them when they don’t. what needs are you entrusting to people not God. What do you do to get needs met by people.
Authentic community require time and honesty. As I confront my pace I will begin to find time and protect time. As I confront my desires and fears I will be able to become more honset with myself others and God. By doing so I can take a small step to more authentic community each day