Recently I read a short interview of Tom Brokaw’s daughter who at the age of 41 penned a book titled Fortytude. Her objective was to discuss the life crises of being 40 and suggesting strategies and tactics for managing your middle years. One of her snippets of advice is to take the local train.
As mundane as this sounds, it’s actually quite insightful advice. Over the years I’ve heard it from a number of sources, including multiple times from God himself. The point is, we all need to slow down if we’re going to enjoy life. Most of us are way too busy. We live our lives like someone wolfing down a seven course banquet in five minutes flat. Wham! Bam! Thank you and I’m gone! We live life more like a hit-and-run driver (anxious to escape the scene of our crime) then someone who’s been created to slow down and smell the flowers.
Most of us simply have too little margin in our life to experience the human adventure as God meant us to. We live flat out, full-bore, ripping along and giving 110% every day in every endeavor — and we’re proud of it! A friend of mine was recently whining about how he was “too busy” to actually have real friends in his life. We long to be connected, to live in community, to experience the richness of being known, being accepted, and having people in our life who make it worthwhile. Yet we are so busy (watching television, surfing the net, playing video games, texting, calling, Facebooking, and Twitting) we don’t actually have time for real friends. Too busy is a choice.
Research has proven that 55% of communication comes through our body language. 38% of communication is conveyed by our tone of voice. Only 7% of communication comes from the content of our message.
So think about it: if all of your “friends” are invisible people you connect with in short, pithy little bits of text on some type of tiny electronic screen, are you actually having any communication? Are you actually building a friendship? Do you really have people in your life who know you, accept you, care about you, are there for you when you’re down, or simply enjoy the pleasure of your company? If you wake up tonight at 3 AM and discover your appendix is ready to rupture – is there someone in your life who will jump out of bed and drive you to the hospital?
Take some time today, to invest in a relationship with a real person. Slow down, sit on a park bench, enjoy some fresh air and the scenery. Take a few deep breaths, and relax. Your life is in God’s hands. You can trust him to work out the details. Romans 9:16 says, “It depends not on the man who wills, or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (By the way, if you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’ve taken my own advice – I’m on vacation on a lonely island. Look for smoke signals to the south.)
Can you list the people in your life who energize you?
How about those that you can enjoy time together without having to speak?
How could you find more of these kinds of friends?