Recently, I was talking with a group of women when a question was asked that stumped us all…
“How often do you have meaningful conversations?”
As I glanced around the room, I could see everyone clicking through the days, the memories, the conversations, until one brave soul spoke up and said, “Not often.” Everyone nodded in agreement, and a few offered further explanation…but all confessed that it was definitely not often enough.
But why is that?
It’s not that we don’t communicate at all, far from it. With an abundance of technology and communication devices at our fingertips, we can “reach out and touch someone” clear across the country any time we want. (Some of you millennials may need to google that phrase, but I promise it will make sense when you do.)
But the problem isn’t quantity, it’s quality.
We live in a fast-paced world that teaches us just the opposite of that. More bang for your buck. The bigger the better. Value this, and super-size that!
But just because we can get an entire meal from McDonald’s for less than five bucks doesn’t mean it’s going to nourish our bodies….and just because we comment on a post or like a picture doesn’t mean we’ve actually built relationship with that person.
As much as I love social media for keeping up with friends and family who live far away, I feel like it has all but taken the place of face-to-face conversations, and in many cases it has. Hiding behind our phones, we pat ourselves on the backs for “reaching out” when really we haven’t accomplished much at all.
God didn’t intend for relationships to be built on 140 characters. In fact, he didn’t intend for wifi or a data plan to be necessary at all.
Do you remember before you had a smartphone? Sure, it was a little harder to keep in touch, but you had to make an effort. You had to write that card and send it in the mail, pick up the phone and hear a voice on the other end, or meet for coffee to catch up on what’s happening in a friend’s life. As a result, conversations happened.
Now, we are so inundated with technology that we mistake casual contact for building relationship, and it has rendered us useless in common situations.
How many times have you walked down a hallway at church or an aisle at the store and suddenly pulled out your phone to avoid eye contact, saying hello, or starting a conversation? If we avoid even the smallest of pleasantries, then how can we expect to ever go deeper and engage in meaningful dialogue?
And if we can’t engage in meaningful dialogue, then how can we expect to have healthy relationships with each other or reach others for Jesus?
But technology is not the only thing that hinders us from nurturing the “ships” in our lives (relationship, friendship, worship). We often hinder ourselves by making excuses. We’re too busy. We don’t have time, money, energy. Someday…
I hate to break it to you…but life is not going to slow down. Not.one.bit. And conversation is free.
We can make all the excuses we want, but the fact of the matter is that we make time for what’s important to us. And what’s more important than making time for the people you love. What’s more important than cultivating the relationships with which God has blessed you. What’s more important than spending time with God period.
So let’s put down the phone a little more and be intentional about building quality relationships.
Let’s sit as a family around the dinner table.
Let’s make eye contact and give hugs.
Let’s laugh loudly in rustic coffee shops, and go on double-dates with good friends.
Let’s join small groups and start supper clubs.
Let’s FaceTime loved ones across the miles, or better yet, visit.
Let’s talk to God.
Let’s do less typing and more talking.
Let’s have meaningful conversations.
Let’s make time.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20