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?

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