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Flux

Connection as Breath

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Loneliness is common in this high-tech day in age. We are more "connected" to our phones than we are to the people we see as we scroll. That does not mean that it should be accepted as normal or "just a part of life" that needs to be endured. We were made to be in relationship and community with each other, not isolated, left to deal with life's ups and downs alone. "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone…" (Genesis 2:18 NIV).

Being in relationship is more than being in the same vicinity as others. It's about being able to be completely yourself; to show your wounds and vulnerabilities as well as your successes and strengths. To be fully loved and embraced for all of it. I've spent my fair share of time keeping everything to myself and thinking that I need to handle it all on my own. Assuming that no one could possibly understand what I was going through, I would bury it all and keep it bottled up. My constant response when asked how I was doing was that, "I'm good", even when I clearly was not. I used to believe that the following quote was true:

"A strong girl keeps her stuff in line, even when she has tears streaming down her face, she still manages to say those two words, 'I'm fine.'" (Unknown author).

I thought that being strong was to put on a tough face, denying my emotions and denying my struggles as a human. I have found the exact opposite to be true. In the past year, I have made community, friendships, and being authentic and vulnerable a priority in my life. It has been a process but in that, I have found that it takes a lot more strength and courage to be vulnerable. It can be harder to admit when I am struggling to pick up the shattered pieces that this life can sometimes be than it is to put on a happy face. I have also found that sharing can be more freeing than stuffing my feelings away, trying to hide my human-ness.

The most important part of connection is not that people understand exactly what I am going through because everyone has a different story that entails different details. What is important is to know that the weight of the world is far too heavy for any person to carry on their own; knowing that my close friends are willing to help me carry it. Just as I am for them. For the weight to be shared, there needs to be open communication. I'm learning that it is okay to reach out, to ask for help and support when I need it. It is important to share my life with those in it, and for me to pull up a chair, listen, and show up to theirs'.

There are still days when I would much rather hide than share the weight, but God has been faithful in showing me that this life is not meant to be lived and navigated alone. There was a day in February that I was having a particularly hard day. I was struggling with a lot of shame and instead of talking to someone, I locked myself in my basement, thinking that numbing out in front of the TV was the only way to make it through the night. The remote was in my hand, I was about to press play, and then my phone rang. It was one of my lifelong friends.

I thought about not answering but made the choice to pick up the phone and I am so glad that I did. It got me out of my own head and was just what I needed. Then about an hour later, as I was crawling into bed, I got a call from another very important person in my life. They were checking in and making sure that I knew that I was loved. Knowing I was having a tough day, they made a point to connect. Ready to sleep, I closed my eyes but immediately opened them again when I heard my phone buzz on my night stand. Another one of my wonderful friends, with an encouraging and unexpected message.

The importance and necessity of having close friends whom I can do life with is one of the biggest things that I have learned in the past year and God has been so faithful through this process. True friends are treasures that should never be taken for granted, but instead cherished as the gems that they are. Priceless and irreplaceable.

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone is who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT)

Woman, why are you weeping?
Unfamiliar
 

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