Better Together

image credit: Michael Palmer

We're better together.
That's important to remember because when times are good and things are going your way, you probably don't think much about it. You're probably like, "Yeah, of course. We're better together. That makes sense."

But what I've seen over and over again with students AND adults is that when times aren't so good, and things aren't going our way, we close in on ourselves and shut people out.

But you weren't created to handle everything by yourself.
Like I said in an earlier post, God created you to connect.
If you close in on yourself and shut people out, then not only do you experience loneliness, but you're also missing out on what God wants to do in your life.

The book of Ecclesiastes is attributed to King Solomon:
"These are the words of the Teacher, King David's son, who ruled in Jerusalem" (Ecclesiastes 1:1).

It's thought that he wrote this book of wisdom near the end of his life as he thought back on all he'd seen and learned, so that makes his reflections in this book almost 3,000 years old. I don't know about you, but in a world where everything aims to be newer, shinier, and faster, there's something about reading old, time-tested wisdom that feels strangely refreshing.

I want to look at a few verses from the book of Ecclesiastes that relate to relationships.

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed" (4:9).

He states the idea first, and then he's going to illustrate it in a second. Here's the idea:
We're better together than we are on our own.

It's like when your teacher assigns you a big project, and you're like, "Oh man, that's gonna be so hard! There's so much to do!"

But then she let's you choose a partner to work with. And you're like: "Yes!"

It's better with a partner because you can help each other. That's the idea he's trying to get across here: We're better together than we are on our own.

Then he illustrates the idea with an example:
"If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble" (4:10).

If you've ever been white water rafting, you know it's awesome. But sometimes someone falls out of the boat! And when that happens, they need help getting back in. If you fall by yourself, you're in real trouble. But if you have someone with you, they can reach out and help you.

Maybe you're facing new challenges and changes right now. It can feel like your life was just floating along like a lazy river and then, next thing you know, you're in the middle of some white water rapids and it feels like you're about to be tossed out of the boat.

You need people around you that can reach out and help you.

Don't try to handle everything by yourself.
The truth is that we're better together than we are on our own.

When things don't go your way, and it feels like you can't catch a break, don't close in on yourself and shut people out. That's when you need to invite people in and say, "Hey, I could use some help."

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."

So the question for you is: Who's got your back?

Related Posts:
An Unshared Happiness Isn't Happiness
Don't Become a Mean Old Man

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Time with God: Created to Connect

You were created to pursue an authentic relationship with your Creator.
This is a tool to help you do that.

Read: Acts 2:42
Think: Why do you think the early Christians were devoted to fellowship?
Pray: Pray for someone from your church or small group.
Live: Remember that God hears every word you say.

Read: Acts 2:42-43
Think: Have you ever been amazed at how God worked in someone's life?
Pray: Pray for someone from your church or small group.
Live: Keep your eyes open to see God's fingerprints in the world around you.

Read: Acts 2:42-45
Think: Why would a person give away money to someone else?
Pray: Pray for someone from your church or small group.
Live: Find a way to use your money to bless someone else's life today.

Read: Acts 2:42-46
Think: Why do you think those first Christians got together everyday?
Pray: Pray for someone from your church or small group.
Live: Invite someone from your church or small group over to your house.

Read: Acts 2:42-47
Think: Why do you think the early Christian community grew larger?
Pray: Pray for the leaders of your church or small group.
Live: Invite someone to attend church with you.

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An Unshared Happiness Isn't Happiness

Christopher McCandless
In 1990, a guy named Christopher McCandless graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He left everything and everyone behind, and hitchhiked his way across the country to live alone in the woods of Alaska.

But after he'd been there for 3 months, it seems he had a change of heart. He recognized his need for other people, for community, and for friendship. In a book he was reading, he scribbled, "An unshared happiness is not happiness. ...Happiness is only real when shared."

It was a lesson he learned too late. He was too weak to get back to anyone, and a few weeks later he starved to death by himself in the woods. His story eventually became a book and then a movie called Into the Wild.

Here's something I know about you:
You want to connect with other people.

Sure, sometimes people get on your nerves, but you want to have relationships with other people where you feel valued. You want to have friends. You want to be included. You don't want to be left out.

And that's not a bad thing.

I think that God created you to connect.

When we live our lives cut off from other people, without real face-to-face relationships, away from a community of family and friends that we care about and who care about us, it creates a sense of isolation and loneliness because that's not how we were meant to live.

You can have 1,000 friends on Facebook, or 500 followers on Instagram, and still feel lonely because you don't have any meaningful connections with real people in your life. They might know your screen name, but they don't know your real name. Or maybe they know your real name, but they don't know the real you. Or maybe they don't care about the real you.

That's what causes the feeling of loneliness:
Deep down, we know that we need people around us and in our lives, but we feel like there's really no one there to talk with us and care about us.

Connection is a two-way street:
It happens when you know someone, and they know you.
It happens when you trust someone, and they trust you.
It happens when you count on someone, and they count on you.
You've got their back, and they've got yours.

Connection is what you really want because God created you to connect.

For the most part, the two most powerful experiences in life are connecting and achieving.

Achieving has to do with accomplishments.
It has to do with grades, goals, and getting things done.

Connecting has to do with relationships.
It has to do with family support, friendship, and care.

Our society obsesses with achieving over connecting, but that's backward. At the end of their life, no one says, "I wish I'd gotten another trophy." No one says, "I wish I'd made better grades." Instead, at the end of their lives, people say, "I wish I'd spent more time with the people I love."

We see this truth in the first book of the Bible. The story tells us that "God placed the man in the Garden to tend and watch over it" (Genesis 2:15). God said he could eat from all of the trees except for one.

There's the job: Achieve it. Do it. Make it happen.
Work the land. Watch over it. Don't eat from the wrong tree.
That's achieving. But achieving without connecting does you no good.

So, in the next episode we're told, "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him'" (Genesis 2:18).

Achieving without connecting isn't good because it leaves you alone with no one to care for, and no one to care for you. An unshared happiness isn't happiness. God saw that at the very start, so he created another person to connect with.

Connecting is about belonging.
It's about honesty, friendship, and support.
That's what God created us to enjoy together: God created you to connect.

How about you...
Who are you connecting with in your life?
Where have found to be the best place to connect with other people?

Related Posts:
Hope & Despair

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