Connecting in 2020

Many times in my counseling sessions I hear phrases like, “I just want to connect,” “we are struggling to connect,” or “how do I connect with others?” The obvious common theme is the human desire for connection. We are not designed to do life alone. God designed us in the context of community and connection with Him. From the first book of the Bible in the account of creation God says, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God knew Adam needed a companion, a human connection.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I got married during this pandemic season. The day after our COVID wedding we drove cross country from Virginia to Illinois to start our new life together. Since my husband has grown up here his entire life, he has built many connections with others. While I have spent a lot of time in Illinois and have built great connections, building a new life in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging. Even with the relationships I have built, life just does not look the same in regard to connecting with others.

Some of you, like me, may have the tendency when connecting is hard, to isolate and stop putting forth the effort. This is easy to do if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or a myriad of other emotions as well. It is also easy to isolate when you may feel that you are the only one making the effort. The result is the same, you are alone!

If there is anything I have learned from this season it is that I need connection all the more. Whether or not someone reaches out to me, I need to make it a point to reach out for my own well-being. Due to the fact that our world looks different than it used to I am finding that in order to connect I need to be a little creative. You may have found this to be true as well.

Connecting with others may not look like a typical face-to-face conversation. It could be a text message to let someone know you are thinking of him/her, a phone call, sticking a note or card in the mail, video chats, signing up for church small groups, or if possible creating safe opportunities in-person to catch up over a cup of coffee or a meal. Whatever way you choose to connect, I encourage you to do it! While I may not know for certain, I am pretty sure that when you reach out to someone you may find that he or she is just as badly in need of connection as you are.

Living during a pandemic has led to isolation and an increase in mental health struggles. Connection with others in community gives us all a sense of unity and an assurance that we are not alone. I encourage you, if you are feeling isolated and alone, reach out to someone today. If you are thriving during this season, I also encourage you to reach out to someone. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.”

While connecting with others is important, it is also vital to connect with God. One of the best things about connecting with God is that He is always present and available. He longs to spend time with you and with me, to hear our voices and speak to our hearts. As we should carve out space for our human connections, it is of the utmost importance to carve out that time to connect with our Heavenly Father. If you are feeling alone and isolated especially, I encourage you to reach out to Him and read His Word. He will minister to you in ways no person ever could.  I am hopeful that even though the future is uncertain, we can all be encouraged to connect with others and with God because those connections will strengthen us for the days to come.

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