This post is the third part of the “Hi … I am Busy” series.
In the previous post, despite knowing the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of being too busy, we also must realise that the Bible does not commend laziness at all. God created us for His good works, He honours our good and hard work, and our good works, done well, indeed glorify God. However, just because we are busy, it does not mean that we are glorifying God. We must know that some of our busyness is just mask of something else that might be displeasing to God. In this post, we are going to look at one of them, leaving the others to the following posts.
Firstly, we can be busy because we are starving for connections.
Now, what does that mean?
Human beings are social beings. We are created for relationships. We have the desire to know others and especially to be known by others. You can be in the middle of the crowd and be lonely when you feel that nobody knows you. On the other hand, you can be alone in your room and not be lonely because you know that you are known deeply by somebody. David in his Psalm 139 says this: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.” David was suffering. He was in trouble. But he found comfort knowing that God knows him deeply, that he can confess his weaknesses to God, and that God still loves him regardless.
Friends, it is our deepest desire to be in meaningful relationships with God and others. However, knowing someone deeply takes time. Building deep relationships is often messy. Conflicts are sometimes inevitable. Mind you, conflicts are not bad in itself. Almost every deep relationship involves conflicts. If you look at people that you are close to, chances are you have had some conflicts with them in the past, and you got closer to them when both of you resolved conflicts in a healthy manner. However, the reality is that people don’t like conflicts. People don’t like to be in vulnerable positions. We avoid conflicts as much as we can. That’s why we have a way of allowing people to know only some aspects of our life but not deeply. We interact with so many people, but we are afraid to go deep. The consequence then is that nobody knows who you really are. Despite your many interactions, you are not known deeply by anyone.
Social Media only highlights this problem. Why is Social Media so addictive? It is because people want to be connected but they don’t want the messiness of real relationships. Social media does not create this problem. It simply highlights the existing problem. Let me ask you this: Do you find yourself checking your Facebook all the time? In the car, at the traffic light, when you are in the lift, when you are waiting for the tram, train, etc? Social media is so addictive because it touches the deepest desire of human beings. We all yearn to be known. But the problem is that we don’t want the messiness of real relationships. So, social media is perfect for that.
However, social media requires a lot of your time. You are always distracted because you always want to see whether someone notices your post. 5 minutes later, you check again. 15 minutes later, you check again. Not only that, you also feel that you have to return other people’s favour by commenting on their posts too. All that takes time.
Just two days ago, I read a TIME article titled “How much time you have wasted on Facebook?” That article has got a tool that when you click on it, it will connect to your Facebook and count how much time you have wasted on Facebook. I was rather sceptic. But it is TIME magazine. So, I thought it is rather trustworthy. So, I had a go. This is what I get.
That’s an equivalent of 17 minutes a day since I joined. It does not sound much. Partly, it is because I try to guard my time on social media. But bear in mind, it only uses the number of posts. I suspect it will be a lot higher if my time used to browse people’s posts are included. I don’t know about you. Some of you, I suspect, might get an even higher result from the way you use Facebook. No wonder you are busy, but you are busy being distracted. We have to realise that nobody knows anyone deeply in social media. You are busy feeding your hunger for relationships with junk food of attentions.
Now, let me ask you a question. Please answer this honestly in your heart: “Who knows you deeply?” Is there anyone out there who knows your real ups and downs, your real joy and struggle, your success and your deepest pain? Think about that for a second. “Who knows you deeply?” If you cannot answer that question, then it’s true that you are busy, but you are busy paving your way into depression and miserable life. You will navigate this hostile world alone, and you will not have anyone to support you. And if you cannot answer that question, social media will not help you find that answer.
That’s why, if you are a Christian and you belong to a church, chances are that church wants you to be an active part of a small group, a cell group, a fellowship group, or whatever your church calls it. You need to be known deeply by a few people, and you also need to really know a few people. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know everyone in your world. You are not supposed to. But you can get to know a few people deeply. So, perhaps this year, if you are not part of a group, be part of one. Trust me, the benefits are more than just this.
If you are already part of a group, perhaps this year, be serious about attending regularly and being involved in your group life. Allow people to know you, your struggle, your weaknesses. It is very empowering and very liberating when you are known deeply by others, and still loved despite your weaknesses, especially if that group encourages you to get connected to God deeper.
However, don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to leave Facebook. In fact, if you don’t have a Facebook account, I will be the first to encourage you to have one, but for a totally different reasons. Social media is great for connecting with family members who are overseas and for reconnecting with old friends that you have not met for a while. I use a lot of social media to help foster interactions and sharing within my own small group. Social media is a great supplement to an already established real relationship, not a replacement or a substitute to real relationships. So, please review your social media time, stop trying to know so many people, put down that phone when you are on your dining table, and start real conversation with people, and invest on real relationship, messy, chaotic, at times difficult, but very very very rewarding.
So, that’s the first one: We are busy because we are starving for connection. We will look at the next one at the next post.
- Hi … I am busy …
- It’s not bad to be busy, is it?
- Busy is not respectable anymore
- Cultivating Deep Relationships in small groups