Thursday, November 3, 2016

Social Life



Last week when for the first time I learned all about weak social ties, it was truly a moment when it took everything I had not to facepalm myself. 

Why? Because for literally all of my life, if another individual didn't feel like a friend to me, I rejected the relationship. It wasn't honest or so it seemed. Yet, these casual acquaintances are apparently the primary fuel to the networking fire that pretty much keeps life moving on a forward track for all of us. 

Sigh. Even after stumbling upon the revelation of this type of human interaction, I still think I have issues with it. Not too long ago, one of my own neighbors introduced himself to me and in less than two minutes, he told me he wrote a book, pastors a church he planted himself, and is friends with Bill Gates. And of course, he concluded the conversation by handing me his business card. 

You might chalk up my ambivalence to these types of interactions to autism (my ignorance of them--yes, but my ambivalence--no), but it isn't. The truth is, I'm kind of an idealist Actually, I'm an INFP to be exact. And I love the way Jesus taught us how to relate to one another. In today's world I can't help but think that when we look at each other all we see are dollar signs or some other means of personal gain for ourselves. Jesus, on the other hand, saw right into the heart of every person He ever met, and His response was always the same. He loved. And His love healed. That's how I want to be. 

There are some benefits to networking. I can't dismiss those. But there are also benefits to having things like sacred spaces where no business cards or shop talk is allowed. I long for the days where I can sit quietly in the sanctuary of a church and bow my head in prayer without hearing the latest on the stock market from the people behind me. Silence is golden, and we need to rediscover its worth. 

While I'm glad I am learning to get the inside scoop on how we all relate to each other, and in the future I won't be so quick to ditch the fake feeling "friends," I just want to encourage you to do a little more than working on the branding of your own name, building up your online presence, and handing out the business cards. The truth is if you want to receive, you need to learn how to give. And if you want to be lifted up, you need to learn how to humble yourself. That's the backwards logic of the Kingdom of God. Live by it and you will never fail to walk in blessing. 

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