11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each others faith.
In today’s age, social media sites are booming. Folks are joining online communities in droves, looking for something they have in common with others. People are longing to connect more than ever.
Community is important! We all want to belong and feel like people care about us. We live busy lives and it’s no wonder online communities are attracting so many people.
I know one of our dreams was to have family close by, to get together with and have fun celebrations; eating, playing (board games for me!) and enjoying one another’s company. However, with family members stretched just far enough apart to make regular get togethers impossible, we’ve been taught that good friends can serve as family and provide the sense of community and belonging we want for ourselves and our kids.
While I enjoy my social networking (and you know I do), there’s still something lacking. We need face to face interactions with real live people. We need hugs, laughter, eye contact, and fellowship in our lives. You can be who you want online but your real life family and friends will see when you are hurting. It’s not as easy to pretend in the real world.
Let’s also not forget to reach out. The elderly can be living some very lonely lives. Our neighbor has four children, but you’d never know it. Her husband died last year. When the kids come to visit, it is only once in a while and for mere minutes. They pull in, get what ever they need and leave. They all live locally.
Let me challenge you to pay attention to your surroundings and reach out to those who might need some real life attention. Sometimes all people need is a face-to-face conversation.
Break bread with others on a regular basis. Enjoy your online communities but don’t lose sight of the real life relationships that are going on around you! I know I have a tendency to hole up in my house and sometimes avoid talking to my friends when I start feeling down. It’s usually then that I go do something with some girlfriends. It’s amazing how that can totally change my attitude and outlook on life.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
* This is a repost from September 2010
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