There may be no greater irony in our society than this.
Technology we could hardly have dreamed of thirty years ago is now at our fingertips. We can connect with almost anyone anywhere in the world within seconds in a dozen different ways – from the traditional phone call to email to social media to texting.
And, yet, more and more of us admit to feeling lonely.
How is that possible?
Maybe it’s because the “connection” we all believe we have is really an illusion. We have better access to more people than ever before, but a lot of us don’t have true intimacy.
We have “friends” on Facebook. We “follow” people on Twitter and Instagram or see behind closed doors into people’s lives on YouTube. But there are very few people, if any at all, in our vast sea of connections we could call in the middle of the night if we needed help. There are probably fewer still we could be vulnerable with face to face.
Challenges in relational intimacy are nothing new, of course. You can trace that all the way back to Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and that act of disobedience ushered sin into the world, and we are ashamed in each other’s presence.
For all the good technology brings us, it always magnifies whatever is lacking in humanity. Like the first man and woman in the garden, who “sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:7), we wear masks that hide our deepest, truest selves from the world around us. Technology has made those masks more sophisticated, but the same emptiness is still found underneath.
And because we’re able to create an image about ourselves we want everyone else to believe, we can be seen by thousands, even millions, and yet remain essentially unknown. Authentic intimacy is when someone knows us – “warts and all,” as they say – yet loves us anyway and still chooses to weave their life into ours. It’s what breathes life into our souls as much as food does into our bodies.
I’m not anti-technology. Far from it. Like most people, I use it extensively in my day-to-day life. But I’m realizing more and more the disconnect it’s creating in our lives and just how dangerous of a problem that can be.
Loneliness is more than just a bad feeling; it’s a strategy against our souls. Jesus’ parables described Satan’s efforts to pick us off by separating us from community, like a lamb from the flock.
Isolation is where all the lies Satan speaks to our hearts can take root. If he can separate us from our family, our church, or our close friends, then we’re more vulnerable to self-doubt, discouragement, mistrust of others, or to questioning God and His Word. And where those lies exist, sinful behaviors are not far behind.
The truth is God designed us to need one another. That’s why relational connection isn’t a weakness, as we so often interpret it, it’s essential.
Part of the reason we gravitate toward artificial connections is because we’re often not sure how to foster the real thing. That’s where author Erin Davis, our guest in the studio today and tomorrow, comes in. She’ll not only share openly about how difficult it has been for her to break free from some of technology’s chains, she’ll help us understand the challenges and even fear that keeps us all from experiencing genuine intimacy.
I hope you’ll join us for “Finding True Connection in a Disconnected World.” I believe you’ll be encouraged, and our practical ideas will fill you with hope that you too can break free from loneliness. Listen on your local radio station or online via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.
One last thought: Even though we’d love to be one of the “friends” you track on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, we are someone you call in times of trouble. If you ever have a need, give us a chance to be of help. Just call 800-A-FAMILY (800-232-6459).