We are in the middle of a groups campaign at my church, and it has gotten me thinking quite a bit about the definition of loneliness and how busy our lives can get. I recently shared some thoughts on my personal blog, and I thought you might find them helpful here as well.
This term crowded loneliness has come up in our church because of a study we started called Making Room for Life by Randy Frazee. When you think of loneliness, what kind of person comes to mind? Perhaps someone who can’t leave their home due to illness? Or maybe someone in a nursing home? When I was a kid in church growing up, we called folks in this situation “shut ins.” Often, one of the trustees or board members was assigned to take them communion and pray with them each week, and I remember hearing of them often in prayer requests.
However, most of us would say, “That’s not my life! I’m constantly on the go! I go to work early, stay at work late, bring work home, rush the kids to school, athletics, piano lessons, and other activities every day, along with trying to maintain a few friendships, hit the gym, and actually try to keep my marriage going, oh, and you cant forget your family – parents, brothers, sisters, and in laws are important, too. Plus, I get to bed late and wake up early every day to make it all happen.”
I’m going to let you in on a secret. Being busy does not lead to fulfillment. Let me ask you something…If I were to ask you to list your fondest memories, what would they be? Here are some of mine:
- Family dinners
- Family reunions
- Gatherings with my small group
- Church activities
- Vacations with friends
- Road trips with my wife
- Personal spiritual retreat
You know what all but one of those things have in common? Meaningful experiences with other human beings. For most of us in our daily grind of living – BUSY DOST NOT EQUAL MEANINGFUL. That is a phrase that’s been sticking in my head the last few days. It reminds me of Romans 8:5-6.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.