This year has brought so many extra challenges, and our lack of connection only expounds them. The truth is that we need each other and meaningful connection can bring us the encouragement and ideas we need. Here's how and why we can find encouragement and connection, even with social distancing.
why we need connection
We’ve had a new phrase introduced into the common vernacular- social distancing. Our lives and connections have looked very different this year. As time goes on for months and months, we can start to feel like this social isolation is normal and forget what life was like before the pandemic.
We may not notice the toll this takes on us until much later. Think about spouses who skip date night for months and think it's no big deal until they finally have a date and realize how much they've missed it! This social isolation can have an impact on our mental and spiritual well-being, which then affects how we interact with those around us.
Whether you’re aware of feeling isolated or not, we all need to find a way to reach out and connect. The truth is that God designed us to live in community, not to be isolated for long periods of time. We really do need each other, speaking truth into each other’s lives and sharing encouragement.
There are plenty of reasons not to connect- you may be afraid of passing on or catching the virus, you may be uncomfortable wearing a mask to church, etc. Don't be afraid to push yourself a bit, but don't push yourself past what you feel is right. Sometimes, we have to force ourselves out of our ruts where the isolation feels normal and get creative in finding a way to connect. This connection will look different for everyone depending on your concerns and comfort level.
How to connect (even now!)
Here are some ideas for connection:
(Note: this is not an exhaustive list and different areas have different guidelines.)
1. Picking up the phone and making a call can be a good alternative to the Zoom burnout a lot of people are experiencing.
2. Find a way to connect in-person with a specific friend. You want to pick a friend who is focused on God and encouraging. Whoever you get together with, make sure they will spiritually uplift you in the Lord.
3. Do an outside activity such as walking. You're getting exercise, moving, and getting fresh air.
4. Another outside activity could be hanging around a fire pit. It's easy to keep 6 feet apart with a fire between you. There’s something about being in-person, even if you’re not right by each other.
5. Be creative in how you fellowship together with other believers. If meeting online is meaningful for you, that’s great. One way to add more connection would be to get together with one other couple or family, watch the service together, and then talk about it. Know yourself. If you have young kids, sometimes it’s better to be there watching the service even with your kids running around. Other parents might find it better to watch at home while their kids nap, but then they need to find another way to connect.
6. You can meet in a small group together periodically to go through a book or Bible study. Meet somewhere you’re comfortable with, such as outdoors. It doesn’t have to be every week either, once or twice a month can feel less overwhelming.
7. Watch the Rise Up Christian Educators Summit together with a friend or a few friends. Relax and make it meaningful by attending the sessions together and then talking about them afterward. Even if you watch by yourself at home, it’s really fun to attend live and see how many other educators are joining from around the world.
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