When I was a girl, I had a pen pal. I would write letters and she would respond with a letter full of stories and memories. I remember waiting weeks for the mail to come to receive a precious gift of words. These were the good 'ole days......or were they?
Our society has definitely moved far from the old fashioned way of communicating. Even companies want to give their bill statements online rather than in the mail. It costs more to send paper statements. We pay bills online, chat online, Facebook message, email and text. It seems like our world has lost the unique gift of communicating face to face. There's even a gazillion (online) blogs that bring our attention to the lack of face to face contact. All of which we couldn't read if we weren't communicating online. I find it ironic.
My question is this: Have all our social media, online messaging, email and iphones taken away from our relationships or added to them?
It depends on the individual, I believe. Some may hide behind their screen at home and simply relate to people online. Others may use the world wide web as a tool to communicate with a larger range of people. It takes balance. We don't want to throw the "baby out with the bath water" so to speak.....but we need to find that happy place of balance.
As a people person who's also an introvert, I find online communication sweetens my relationships. It's a way I can stay in contact with long distance family and friends while still protecting my quiet time at home. I can chat with teenagers in a private space, where they feel comfortable typing. Some can share their feelings easier than in a crowded coffee shop. At the very least, it gives them an opportunity to set up a time to meet face to face. Without online relationships, I would never reach the amount of young people I do currently.
Within my homeschooling community, I have face to face interaction every Monday and Thursday.....while through email we can encourage each other the rest of the week. I receive insights, thoughts and support at least once a week. I look forward to seeing those messages in my inbox!
In ministry, I have 4 or 5 coffee dates a month with people that the Lord has put in my life. Some are mentoring relationships and others are just opportunities to know one another. All of those meetings are made through text messages. I treasure every coffee date and every word that's shared. My cup (no pun intended haha) is so full when I leave!
If it's been weeks or months since I've made contact with someone.....I might text them an encouraging note or send them something in the mail. I have typed out my prayer over a Facebook message, text or email. That encouragement is priceless to give and receive. Whatever way we choose to communicate, the bottom line is JUST DO IT. Go and have that coffee date, lunch date or phone conversation. Be that person that encourages someone else with a thank you card, a voicemail, a text or a hug. My concern is that we spend too much time trying to find the perfect way of communicating that we waste time NOT communicating at all. Ask the Lord what people need in your life and then obey that calling. Every one is different....God did that on purpose. The only common denominator is we were made in HIS IMAGE. So go and be Christ to the people around you.....whatever means He leads you to do that.
"A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so
you must love one another." John 13:34