The Importance of Connection

connect1Who are the most important people in your life? Do you spend regular time and quality time with them? How do you make sure you stay connected to them?

When we are disconnected, we have less patience with one another. The less quality time we spend together, the more we get into the habit of living separate lives instead of living life together. Not a great feeling. Sort of lonely.

Connection takes deliberateness. It takes compromise and sacrifice. And, it also takes creativity.

By no means do I have this connection thing figured out. In fact, I write this post in hopes of finding ways to better connect. With that being said, consider the following ideas for connecting.

Books – My fiction reading revolves around what my 14-year-old reads. Basically, I read whatever he recommends. We talk about the books, watch and talk about associated movies, discuss actors/actresses good for playing certain characters, and look forward to new books coming out. I am willing to let my son choose my books indefinitely, even for the rest of my life. What if no matter where either of us goes, we connect through the books we read? Yeah, I would be okay with never choosing another fiction book to read.

Food – My youngest loves food. He’ll try just about anything. He also enjoys cooking. So we choose recipes and make meals together. I’m not a great cook, but he loves helping me. I’m not also very good at asking for help or accepting it when it’s offered, and that needs to change.

Coffee – I truly enjoy good coffee, and I love having coffee with my husband. We have it Saturday mornings together when possible and every day when on vacation. We even have coffee “together” when we’re apart. And usually, not always when we’re apart, we talk while we drink coffee. We need this to exist no matter what else is going on in our lives.

Mom – My mom & I text regularly, and she’s faithful about stopping by each week to say “hi.” We take a yearly weekend trip together in lieu of birthday, Christmas & Mother’s Day gifts. We sometimes exercise together, and we try to schedule family game nights often. Connecting with mom has always existed for me, and I need it to always be there.

Friends – Exercising together. Coffee together. Going to each other’s kids’ sporting events. Grocery shopping together. Finding ways to connect in the everyday events of life. A connecting text or email helps when face-to-face can’t happen. Online friendships involve commenting on blogs regularly and sometimes sending personal emails. And, even for those of us who don’t care for it, sometimes talking on the phone needs to happen to make sure friends stay connected. connect6

Why is connection so important? Scripture tells us to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and to stir one another up (Hebrews 10:24). It says we need each other to make us better (Proverbs 27:17). God’s presence becomes amplified when we’re with other believers (Matthew 18:20). We are also to have unity and brotherly love (1 Peter 3:8). None of this happens consistently and with much effectiveness without regular connection.

To better understand the importance of connection in your life, consider how you feel when you lack connection. Even though I’m an introvert and a loner, I need regular connection for encouragement, motivation, improvement, more of God’s presence, enjoyment of the blessings of unity and, most importantly, to truly give and receive love.

Sure, I can motivate and improve myself. Sure, I can experience God’s presence on my own. I can also say I love others easily. Yet, none of this quite measures up to the experience of connecting with others. Nothing can replace connecting. In fact, connecting with others amplifies my life in a way that isn’t otherwise possible. Without connecting, I am truly limited in virtually every area of life.

DISCUSSION: What are your thoughts about the who, what, when, where & why of connecting?

37 thoughts on “The Importance of Connection

  1. I am an extreme extrovert so I look for ways to connect. Very seldom am I alone (unless imposed). The other evening we were going to hear a band at a church and I said something to Jo about asking so-and-so if they wanted to go with us. She said, "You are so social." She's right and she is not.

    • How do you and your wife balance your extroversion & her introversion? As an extrovert, and especially in your role as a pastor, are you aware of how the introverts you know do life differently than you? I only ask this because I find that many introverts sort of blow through like a violent wind unaware of the introverts who now need a nap just because of watching them.

  2. Well Kari. The email said all I needed to do was hit reply, answer and send and it would send my response. In the past I have always come directly to your site to reply to a reply. 🙂 Reckon I will do that for now on. First, absolutely NO offense taken. For one, I don't offend easily. For another, I appreciate someone willing to learn. I'll try to give my answer. (I went back and copied and pasted so here is what I wrote): That's a good question Kari. I have, in the past, blown through life and hurt feelings and never knew it. Jo has pretty much been a backstage kind of person and gone with the flow. Unfortunately, she also avoids conflict so there are many times I never know when/if I hurt her with my blow through. As I have gotten older and "wiser" I have also become more understanding and less "I don't care what you think" and more sensitive to others (especially her). For the record: I am an extreme Sanguine with some Choleric mixed in, a pinch of Melancholy (do things right but not OC or perfectionistic) and zilcho Phlegmatic. At one point I was almost pure Sanguine but as I have gotten older, the other two (especially Choleric) have crept in. Jo is almost extreme Phlegmatic. I'm not sure she has much of anything else in her. Does that help or do I need to address it more? Please feel free to ask.

    • Two points emerge from your comment that I want to touch on. First, I like that you point out how we change as we age and gain wisdom. I'm not sure our base ever changes, but we learn to be more relatable. Second, while staying true to who we are, I think we sometimes forget to allow others to do the same. We insist on being who we are but fail to try to get to know people where they are and in their personality. I guess this comes from having so many sanguines in my life telling me to "just be more outgoing" as if being sanguine is what we all need to be. In other words, the idea of being aware of who others are and where they are needs to happen for effectively loving them. Now, AM I making any sense?

  3. Kari, Discussing books you're reading with your 14 year old is a great idea. That is a great idea for connecting with grandchildren too. I will remember that as they get older. Thanks for a great tip!!

  4. Kari, melancholy and extroversion are opposites. The differentiator is what energizes you. Are you energized by being with people or drained? I'm energized. I'm a Sanguine and an Extrovert. But there's a continuum. I get tired from being with people after a while, too, and need some downtime.

    I love your idea of taking a trip with your mom. Not sure I could talk my mom into going away somewhere, but I could try. If I let my oldest pick my books, I wouldn't get anything else done. He reads circles around me! But I would like to keep up if I could.

    • That I know all too well. My youngest is energized being around others. I need alone time. There definitely is a continuum, and I want to be sure to not put anyone into a box. I know we can classify by personality, but I don't think we should let us say "this personality defines me" because we are so much more than a personality box. My point in the examples is to find what works for you, but to find SOME way to connect. My oldest reads way more and way faster than me too, but he's so patient with me. He waits for me to ask for another book before he picks one.

  5. Kari, we are doing the 10-week Wired That Way study at church right now, so personality is foremost in my mind. God can help us to live up to the greatest potential our personality will allow, but we aren't going to change personalities. People are surprised that I haven't always been organized, for example. That's been a very long process for me. I will never be naturally organized. I need lots of supports in place (an iPhone alarm reminding me of appointments for example). But I can be as organized as a Sanguine (half Choleric) can be.

    It's not a box that I'm after, but understanding. The main thing that emerged in class was frustration with people who don't think like we do. A friend sent me something so great on understanding between introverts and extroverts that I will share with you if I remember and find it. LOL

    • Sounds like a great study. I've done a lot of reading and studying and even some teaching on personality styles, and it's definitely true we can't change our base personality and temperament. However, I do believe we can learn to operate in an area that is less than natural for us if we're called to do so and when we're given the grace to do so. For example, I am not sanguine, outgoing or extroverted. Yet, I was called on to be a college instructor for five years. I HAD to be more sanguine, outgoing and social than what comes naturally. I learned a lot about myself, and boy did the work exhaust me. It was also very fulfilling. So, I agree that our personalities don't change. However, I do believe God can transcend those personality styles to do some great things through our lives. In my studies of personality styles, what emerges for me is frustration over other personality styles wanting all others to be like them. Instead, I would love to see more of an appreciate of the variety of personality styles and the unique combinations that come with each individual. Great discussion, Melanie!

        • How we approach things really is often shaped by our personalities. Honestly, I'm don't make a point to label people. I am about understanding how and why we operate… a root cause picture. I like depth of meaning. God has so much knowledge and information available to us, and I like to get as much as I can. I do really try not to hedge people in or pre-define them, just to better understand them and myself.

  6. Sorry folks, I don't like labels. I just try to accept people as they are but it is certainly easier to connect with some people than others. As I read the blog I thought about how God brought you Kari into my life and how though we have never met face to face I feel a connection with you. I have many friends who I do not see or talk to for a long time, yet when we do meet up, or connect on phone or computer, we pick up right where we left off. It is easier if you can connect on a common level, like books, or food, or faith.
    I am a people person, who is now riding full time in a semi. Most of my day is spent with just one person, my husband. I enjoy times when he sleeps and I have quiet time with God. I enjoy texting and computing with others, and I admit I miss some of the in person contact I once had. I feel like God has given me a gift to be able to be where I am in life, for many reasons!
    .

    • I don't like to label people either. But, I do like to use these sorts of things to help in understanding people better, including myself. I just try to keep in mind that they are guides and not a way to define someone. I don't want to put people in a box, and I don't want to be put in one either even if it's me whose doing it. You do a great job with connecting how you can in your current season of life, and that's really the point. Being creative, thinking of ways to stay connected no matter what.

  7. My word for today Kari is content. I am learning that keeping an attitude of gratitude and staying connected with Abba God helps me be prepared to receive all the gifts He puts into my life, even people who seem totally opposite of me in many ways! Thanks for the great conversations! God Bless

    • I definitely need to focus more on contentment with the present instead of constantly focusing on changing things. Not that changing is bad, but we lose something in the changing when we don't appreciate the present.

      • so true. While change can come and for me learning to be content is change, I find that I miss out on today and the gifts in it when I am concerned about not being enough or others not being enough and needing to change things. I am learning to just love and live and focus on Christ. It is a learning and growing process, sanctification some would call it I think. and God does the changing. I just have to accept it as it comes.

  8. We connect because that is how God created us – we are social creatures, connecting to one another and certainly God Himself. Amen!

  9. One way I love connecting with my wife and with others too is by walking. It's amazing how much you can discuss on an hour long walk not to mention the fact that you get your exercise too!

    • Great example! My best friend & I try to exercise (run usually) at least once a week together to stay connected. I take walks with my mom or husband sometimes too. Combining that physical with the mental/spiritual connection we need seems to amplify the meeting of those needs.

  10. Connection is certainly important unless you are a prodigious genius who can write Shakespearean dramas all day. But limiting my reading to my 14 year old's selection wouldn't work for me.

    • Sorry about the delay in approving your comment. It was I my spam folder for some reason. Do you know any "prodigious genius"? I don't really "limit' my reading to what my son selects because I read what he suggests and then some. If I need to make a choice between something he asks me to read & a book I might choose, I chose what he suggests and put mine on hold. I couldn't only read what he suggests. Thankfully, he doesn't suggest I read all of what he reads. I couldn't keep up with him.

  11. I think you hit it on the head, Kari, when you said we need to be deliberate. I love spending time with people, but I'm not good at planning ahead. Am trying to change. I especially like going on walks and hikes with friends. A week ago, we met my brother and his wife halfway between our houses (two hour drive for each of us) to go camping and take a 4 mile kayak trip together. That was a great way to visit and enjoy each other. I do need to remember to plan and initiate – I think a lot of people today are bad at that, me included. I'm good with my family – not as good with friends or potential friends. Thanks for all the good ideas.

    • Being deliberate sure changes a lot, doesn't it? Planning ahead does become more important as people are busier and busier, but just tenacity can make it happen too. Refuse to give up trying. My husband is very good at making things happen, so that does help. Once something is done once, you can kind of make it a standing date, which helps it to be more likely to happen. We do that with camping ever summer. When we focus on the "why," it helps make it happen too.

        • It helps me a ton. When I consider "why" I want to listen to my kids, I put my book down and look them in the eye. When I consider "why" I want to connect with my husband daily, I shut the computer and talk to him. When I realize that exercising with my best friend is more than about physical exercise, I go for a run with her even in the rain and on the hills. I never thought about it much before, but knowing my "why" has made a huge difference in my relationships. Above all, it's the "why" involving loving others. You sparked something in me, Barb. I didn't realize I did this until we started chatting.

  12. Connecting with others (Or should I say the right people) is so important. I've learned spending quality time with my family and friends (online and off) so valuable for my life. It allows me to be refreshed, renewed, and nourished. The key is to stay focused on the most important people in our life. Great thoughts!

    • Connecting with our core group of people helps us accomplish so much more in life, doesn't it? Their support & encouragement helps so much, especially when we realize they are placed in our lives by God for that reason. We must be deliberate about this type of connection. Out of it flows our ability to love people beyond that core. Of course, connection with God is our real source of love, but He gives us the core to sort of be real with and work out how we show love, if that makes sense.

  13. I love connecting with loved ones and new people. It helps spark fresh thoughts and keeps me focused outside myself. It helps me grow as a person and learn new things.

    One thing I will admit to struggling with lately is how much more I enjoy connecting with Christians in the blogging community than most of the Christians I go to church with. Part of this is that online we can pick and chose who we follow- we can gather with like-minded people and an actual church is filled with all sorts of people- we can't control it (nor should we).
    But I'm praying that I have more of the joy I experience with my online Christian bloggers with those I sit next to on Sunday. Just my thoughts/prayers lately.

    • The five love languages absolutely applies here. In fact, I could easily incorporate them in my examples. Connecting really isn't difficult when we are intentional about it. Again, back to getting distractions out of the way.

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