Aug 182019 1 Response

When You’re In Trouble, Who Comes Running

It’s happening on the fringes of our lives. The problem is so subtle, most of us never realize it is happening. Yet there is a great danger for modern society which threatens to greatly inhibit our lives. We are becoming less personal.

We are aware of much of the depersonalization. We:

Recognize there are fewer cashiers at Wal-Mart and more self-checkout lines.

Prefer for people to text us rather than to call when they have a question.

Interact with many people on social media whom we never talk to in person.

Many of these changes in interaction are helpful and positive. They are making life more efficient and well-rounded (my friends on social media are more diverse than many of my options locally).

But they are also eroding a fundamental need of humanity. We need friends. Not just people that will like our Instagram picture, comment on our Facebook post, and send us a text message when it’s our birthday. We need people that we physically interact with on a regular basis, who know us as well as we know ourselves, who anticipate our needs, change their schedules to help us, and are willing to sacrifice when we need help. We need people. All of us. There is no exception. While some might need fewer people than others, we all stand in need of meaningful relationships and technology is threatening those connections. (See: The Defining Characteristic of Long-Term Friendships)

Here’s a simple test of our relationships. The last time you were in need, who physically showed up? Not who sent a text. Not who said, “If you need anything, let me know.” But who physically pulled into your driveway, walked into your house, and got to work?

Here’s a problem with America (and much of the Western World): we no longer have someone who will bring us dinner. We don’t have friends who feel comfortable enough to show up unannounced and who refuse to take no for an answer when we claim that we are “fine.” While that may not matter on any given day, there is a corrosive effect over time. Our souls are thirsting to know that we are not alone, but many of us are rightly aware that alone is exactly what we are. In our time of need, we don’t have someone who can take our kids for the night, let our dog out in a pinch, or be depended on for just a little support in a time of need. We are attempting to live self-sufficient lives, but why?

Whoever made self-sufficiency the ultimate goal? Yes, we need to be able to pay our bills, take care of ourselves, and deal with our own problems. One of my goals as a parent is to assist my kids in becoming capable adults. But capable does not imply that they will never be in need of others.

In truth, humanity was never meant to be self-sufficient. We daily depend on interactions with others to give us encouragement, strength, and connection. We have to have other people. To believe we can handle this life on our own is to be in the depths of denial. A major aspect of maturation should be an acceptance of our need for others and an ordering of our lives so that we value relationships and have the support system we need.

Run To Others

When others are in need, run to them. Don’t wait. Don’t seek permission. Don’t expect them to tell you what to do. Just show up. Act. Attempt to make their burden lighter or just let them know that they are not alone.

You won’t be perfect. You might overstep a boundary on occasion. But by and large, people need us far more than they realize and it’s better to overstay a welcome than to never enter a place in which you were needed.

Consider a small way you could improve the life of someone you know. Do it. (See: 3 Questions True Friends Ask)

Let Others Run To You

Get over the lie that we should never be in need. Accept the help of others. Even if you don’t need the help, recognize that you need the relationship. By allowing others to serve you, it enables them to connect with you. Know that you need that connection.

The next time you reject help from someone, catch yourself and then tell them “on second thought, I could use your help.”

We Need Each Other

A satisfying life is far more defined by the relationships we have than the things we possess. It’s far better to have a community that is sufficient than to attempt to find sufficiency totally within yourself. For this to happen, we must be willing to run toward others and to allow others to run toward us during times of need.

Then we must convince ourselves that this isn’t just a reality during the darkest days of our lives; it is a daily need for us to connect with others.

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