intentionally connecting with your people

The One Thing Missing from Online Relationships

“I’m lonely.”

Those words spilled from her mouth almost as a whispered confession. The pregnant pause on the line told me she questioned the validity of those words as soon as they left her mouth.

We live in an age of hyper-connectivity, where any one of us is a mere click away from a “like,” “tweet,” or “favorite,” but there’s something very important missing from our online relationships: meaningful connection.

On that phone conversation, my friend she dared to give voice to what many of us women feel on a regular basis. We’re a lonely generation. Even though our Facebook profiles boast smiling pics with dozens of likes, deep down we still feel lonely. In fact, recent studies have shown that increased social media use leads to increasing isolation and decreased human contact.

That’s not to say we don’t interact with people. Of course we do. Whether you’re a mom who’s wiping little noses or dropping off lunches or drilling math skills, or you’re a career woman who’s coaching or presenting or scanning. There’s people all around.

But interacting with people isn’t the same as connecting with YOUR people. 

And by “your people,” I don’t mean just your kids or husband or church, although those are important. I mean other women like you who “get” you. Women who understand what your daily mundane looks like. Women will instantly swap potty-training horror stories and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

I love this C. S. Lewis quote: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one…'”

We were made to live in community, and in today’s world, that often means going out of our way to seek out like-minded people who can encourage us, bolster our faith, correct our erroneous thinking, and offering counsel when we’re at our wit’s end.

(As an aside, of course, there’s definitely a place for virtual communities–I wouldn’t have founded myOneThingAlone otherwise–but please hear my heart on this when I say they’re not a replacement for face-to-face interaction with real people. Your people.)

In my own life, I’ve found this to be true. I’m somewhat of an introvert, and I’m happy as can be all by myself with a book in one hand and a hot drink in the other. Not that this happens very often in my world of toddlers, but still, a girl can dream, right? But when I intentionally choose to interact face-to-face with other women in my stage of life, even if it pushes me a bit outside my comfort zone, I usually leave thinking: “Oh, I’m not the only one who’s daughter does X. There’s hope for us yet!” Or, “I can’t believe that mom also went through that stage too. I thought I was the only one.”

Your life will be all the richer when you find ways of intentionally connecting with your people.

So what might this intentional connection look like? Here are a few ideas: 

If you’re a college student, look for a campus ministry like Cru that will connect you with other believers at your school. You’ll worship together, play together, and form life-long friendships together.

If you’re a mom of preschoolers, consider joining a local MOPS group. You might just get a break from the little ones clamoring for your attention. But more importantly, you’ll gather with other moms in your neighborhood to learn how to steward these precious years well.

If you’re a career woman, get together a mastermind group of women who love Jesus and are passionate about their jobs. Encourage each other on practical aspects of working a 9-5 job and pray for each other in the workforce.

If you’re an empty-nester, you might want to gather together other friends to pray for your adult children and look for ways to reinvest in the younger generation of women.

If you’re a homeschool mom, consider attending a Great Homeschool Convention in your area. You’ll find speakers and workshops that will energize you to keep going, fun events for your whole family, and lots of like-minded families who’ll encourage you with a “me too!” There are five regional events to choose from (SC, TX, OH, CA, MO) with dates that range from March to July of 2018.

Plus, if you live anywhere near Cincinnati, Ohio, come out and see me! I’ll be speaking at the Midwest Convention, and I’d love to meet you and hear your life story!

Wherever you are, reach out and find ways of connecting with your people. Don’t succumb to the glow of the screen. Let in-real-life relationships encourage you to pursue your God-given mission in life.