Spread Thin

It’s only 11:30am, yet I have already had three separate conversations with other women today who feel it: this ache for more depth.  This longing for real, true connection and intimacy.  And this frustration with feeling like we are spread too thin; like we’ve got our hands in too many pots; like we are doing a lot of “good” things but are unable to dive deep and do anything particularly “great”; like we sense something is amiss yet we are unsure what the remedy is for all of this disquietude.

We know we need community.  We know we have been built for connection with others.  We know there are a ton of great causes out there, an infinite number of charities and ministries and groups that are impacting the world in positive, helpful ways.  And yet… we seem to have overshot it.  In our quest to ensure that we are not isolated, that we are a part of something bigger and better than ourselves, we have gotten ourselves too involved.  Too busy.  Connected to too many different social groups and good causes.

And, to tell you the truth, we are feeling a bit maxed out.  Spread too thin.  Incapable of really truly connecting with others in a meaningful way.

And we’re starting to feel the harmful effects of this whole dilemma.

This is an exaggeration, but this is how many of us tend to feel: We know a million people, have a million friends on social media, give our hearts and prayers and resources to a million different good causes… yet still we feel alone.  Still we feel unknown and un-treasured and perhaps even a bit lost.

And this reality hits us hardest when we are going through challenging times.  It is in those times when our hearts are breaking, or we are overwhelmed with fear for the life of a loved one, or when our most precious relationships seem to be disintegrating before our very eyes— these are the times when we ask ourselves “What can I do?  Where can I turn?  Who can help me right now?  Who can I call upon for prayer support or advice or encouragement with this most sensitive of topics?  Who in this world really knows me— and is a safe enough place for me to share even this hurt or fear or heartbreak???”

And when we are connected with tens or hundreds or even thousands of other humans on this planet… yet find ourselves unable to find one who can truly be trusted with our real story, our real behind-the-scenes drama, our real hardships… that’s a warning sign.  That is an indicator that something is off-kilter.

Or when we are so busy going-going-going and doing-doing-doing that we find ourselves too busy to stop and serve a close friend of ours who is going through a bona fide crisis— that’s another indicator that something is cockeyed somewhere.

I’ve found myself in both of those places at various times in my life.

So… where is the sweet spot?  How can we find “our place”?  How can we know when we’ve got too much on our plate?  How do we figure out where to scale back?  And then… how do we actually go about doing it— preferably without hurting too many feelings or putting others in too much of a jam when we inevitably have to disappoint someone in order to do what is best for ourselves and, thus, our families and communities?  How do we figure out how to dive deep and be more generous in certain areas and relationships in our lives?

I’m on a quest, y’all.

Over the next couple weeks I am going to be talking with friends and mentors, praying a bunch, reading God’s Word, and listening to teachings on this matter.  I am hoping to unearth some questions we can ask ourselves (and resources we can turn to) to help get our gears turning so we can ultimately live more connected, deeply purposeful and fulfilling lives.

I will keep you posted on what I learn.

In the meantime, let us ask ourselves this:

  • Do I feel like I have a good balance (or a solid feeling of being “centered”) in my life right now?
  • Do I feel like I have a stable core of friends and mentors I can turn to when things get rough in my “real life”?
  • What do I love to do?  What excites me in life?  Do I have time to actually do this?
  • Am I currently involved in work (paid or unpaid) that is meaningful and fulfilling to me?

 

In Lysa TerKeurst’s The Best Yes, a great book on this topic, she says this:

“I miss Best Yes opportunities sometimes because I simply don’t know they’re part of the equation.  I get all twisted up in making the decision to check either the Yes or No box, not realizing there is a third box that reads Best Yes.  What is a Best Yes, you ask… in its most basic form, a Best Yes is you playing your part… In God’s plan, you’ve got a part to play.  If you know it and believe it, you’ll live it.  You’ll live your life making decisions with the Best Yes as your best filter.  You’ll be a grand display of God’s Word lived out.  Your undistracted love will make your faith ring true.  Your wisdom will help you make decisions that will still be good tomorrow.  And you’ll be alive and present for all of it.” (italics mine)

I am praying for you this week, friends.  Praying that God will speak to your heart and show you where He wants you to go.  And I’m praying, also, that you will have the courage to know how to navigate this road to freedom and depth of connection.  May you find your path.  And may you find your people— the ones with whom God is longing to knit you together.

Let’s talk again soon. 🙂

* * *

What about you?

Is cultivating intimate friendships a challenge for you?  Do you ever find yourself spread too thin with an inadequate amount of margin in your life?  Are you feeling fulfilled and passionate about what you’ve got going on in your life right now?

Please share your journey, insights or helpful resources in the comment section below.

 

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