We want to be close to God and to others. . . but did you know that connection starts with you?
We all crave the experience of being seen and loved for who we really are. And we rejoice when someone we love lets us in to see them for who they really are. Such moments of connection are holy ground.
And that’s the reason that connection is the last quality we’ll explore in this series on Standing Tall. No matter how much we grow in confidence, clarity, calm, curiosity, or courage, ultimately, it all boils down to how well we access those qualities toward developing meaningful connections with others.
You know that moment when you’re deeply connected to someone—your child, your spouse, a good friend? For example, you sense that your teen-ager is actually letting you in. They’re showing you how they really feel. They trust you. They’re appreciative of you. They’re cautious, but open to your guidance. And you’re aware that if you say the wrong word, you might lose the moment entirely. You’re fully present and aware that this is holy ground. These moments are sacred.
It’s incredibly life giving, and even healing, to be fully witnessed by someone else through the power of connection. And it’s life giving to extend that gift to others.
And yet so often, we’re going through the motions. We smile and nod, or say the right thing. But we don’t sense that deep connection that flows from the experience of being fully present with another.
There are many things that contribute to disconnectedness. It may be that you’re experiencing disappointment or anger with someone you love or that your connection has been broken due to betrayal or unfaithfulness. In other cases, the relationship may be healthy, but you’re too mentally distracted or overwhelmed to be present. You’re not connecting to the parts of your own soul in need of your care. No matter the cause, the way back to connection is the same:
1.) Reconnect to your inner world.
Are you aware of a vague sense of distraction or angst? Are you caught up in your angry thoughts, working overtime to please someone who can’t be pleased, perfecting things that are good enough, or taking on new commitments when you’re exhausted inside? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you’re likely disconnected from yourself. You’re working so hard to get love; you’re not connected to love.
Pause for just a moment and take a deep breathe. Notice the exhaustion, urgency, or striving. Can you create just a little space to become aware of those feelings? They’re protectors. They mean well, but they’re keeping you from the very thing you desire most. The simple act of extending compassion toward these hard-working protectors is a step toward connection with yourself. It’s being present with what’s really going on inside your soul.
2.) Reconnect with God.
Often, when we’re disconnected from ourselves, we’re also disconnected from God—the lover and restorer of our souls. Maybe you push God aside as you seek to do all the things on your never-ending to do list. Or think to yourself, “God can’t help me with this” or “God will be angry with me for thinking this way.” But God longs for us to abide in him (John 15:4.) He longs for us to seek connection with him no matter what we’re struggling with. As Jesus said, “Few things are needed—or indeed only one…” (Luke 10:42.)What is the one thing that is really needed today? For you to take a moment and invite Jesus into whatever you are experiencing right now. Connect to his grace and love, which is always available to you.
3.) Reconnect with those who are closest to you.
Start with your “safe people“. These are the people to whom you can say, “I’m feeling disconnected. I’d love to share with you some of what’s been going on inside my soul.” Or you might hit the “re-set button” with a child or spouse with whom you’ve been distracted or short, “I want to be here with you now. I’m sorry I’ve been so distracted.” It may be that the hardship you’re experiencing in your marriage, with a child, or with a friend requires more than a simple “re-set.” In those cases, take a step toward connection by offering a prayer for that person or relationship.
If you’re feeling disconnected, take heart. The first step is to own it. Give yourself permission to acknowledge the truth of your reality. Invite God into that feeling. One deep inhale of breathe is the length of some of our most authentic prayers: “Lord, I am here right here, right now. I need you.”