Connection is the key to everything. Connecting to the right things, that is. Our culture teaches us to connect to things, to try and keep up with the Jones'. There’s an old bumper sticker that says, “He who dies with the most toys wins”. Then a bumper sticker came out that said, “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” Toys are ok but they make terrible friends.
I’ve worked with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. I’ve seen people connect to the wrong thing and still try to save relationships without first disconnecting from the wrong thing. There was a couple that came to me and wanted counseling. He was wrapped up in fishing. He went to big fishing tournaments every weekend regardless of how far he had to drive. Their situation had deteriorated to the point that he was taking his whole paycheck and paying for fishing and not contributing at all to their family or household.
He was so out of balance that every effort he made was toward fishing. Every dollar he made went toward fishing. His wife was left to pay for everything else in the family. When they first came to me he thought there was nothing wrong with their arrangement. He thought she should understand that he was going to be a fishing star some day, having his own television show. She was simply ready to move out.
To make a long story short, he changed over a period of about a year. He never gave up fishing, he just brought it into balance. She stayed with him and they are still together today. He started prioritizing his life. He put his wife and kids first and started connecting to them.
I worked with a similar situation with a guy that wanted to be a pro bowler. He went bowling every night. He would get off work and go directly to the bowling alley and stay there all evening leaving his wife and kids to fend for themselves. I got together with them a few times but he was unwilling to change and their marriage didn’t survive. By the way, he never became a pro bowler.
The difference is connection. Connecting with the people you love more that anything else. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It almost seems like Jesus got this backward. It seems like I should read where your heart is that’s where your treasure will be. But of course He got it right. Where your treasure is…what you value, your heart will gravitate toward. What you make time for, spend your money on and give your talent to is what you’ll connect to. So…connection comes down to what you value.
Many people will say they value their relationship with God and yet they don’t do anything to cultivate that relationship. They don’t spend time with God. They don’t support the work of God and they don’t give themselves to work for the kingdom at their church or in their community. No connection equals no relationship. The same people who say they value their families will sit in front of the TV or computer for hours and not spend any time with their kids. That tells me you are more connected to your TV than the people in your life.
The simple answer of course is start with disconnecting with your TV. You really don’t need to watch the next episode of Law and Order. Think about what you can do to bless the people in your home. I’m not saying to make sweeping changes, although I think some people need that. What I’m saying is that you can change.
I’m very proud of my kids. They’re all doing the work of the ministry. They have done some amazing things with their lives. People ask me all the time, what can I do to raise good kids? Well, there are no guarantees when it comes to any human being. However, I would tell you that staying connected to them is the most important thing you will do to direct them down the right path.
The same thing is true with a marriage relationship. Stay connected. Forgiveness genders connection. In God’s economy the person who forgives first wins.
I have a lot of ways you can connect in every level of relationship from casual to intimate. What causes disconnect and what causes connection. I will be talking about them in my next few blogs.