Critical Connection

Critical Connection Blog June 2024 Newsletter (1)

By Tracelyn Sutton on 6-15-2024

When we think of elderly adults or those who rarely leave their homes due to mobility or life stage, we imagine them spending most of their time seated in front of the television, becoming quieter without much to talk about, or counting away the hours until the next meal or bedtime.  For many, this is a reality.  But not just for the elderly.  Whether due to broken families, living alone, working from home, or without employment, more of our community is isolated on a daily basis.  Many workplaces have fewer workers for those who work onsite to interact with.  More jobs are computer-based, leading to less face-to-face interaction with colleagues or customers. 

In 2020 during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, people described “mask fatigue” as not just the physical aspect of reduced oxygen flow, but also the socioemotional impact of the visual flat affect that masks give and literally avoiding going near people even incidentally.  Many remember exaggerating eye and eyebrow expressions in an attempt at compensating for this effect. 

God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”  Genesis 2:18 NKJV and yet Paul said, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” 1 Corinthians 7:8 NKJV

What can be deduced from these passages that may appear to contradict one another?  In Genesis, Adam had no other human to interact with and so God created a woman to compliment and balance the man as a companion.  Paul is referring to obedience and submission to God’s will in our lives.  Paul didn’t suggest we should not engage with others, he was referring specifically to marriage in respect to our devotion to serving God.  In his way of thinking, if people stayed single, they could give more of their time to ministry.    

In fact, God calls us to live in community with one another, to hold one another accountable, to serve one another, to pray for one another, and to carry one another’s burdens.  How can we carry each other’s burdens if we don’t spend time together?  Spending time with an isolated person can be a critical connection to reengaging with other relationships.  

So many are suffering from isolation, which is one cause of depression.  According to the World Health Organization, 280 million are struggling with depression.  If it isn’t happening to you, statistically speaking, there is at least one person in your life who is struggling with isolation-related depression. 

Consider how often you spend time with friends.  How many genuine friendships do you have?  “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24 NKJV 

Give yourself – and someone else – a boost!  Would you consider setting a goal of reaching out to someone you don’t normally connect with every week?  You could invite them for a cup of coffee, a walk in the park, Facetime, or a phone call.  When was the last time you called someone just to talk?  Imagine the impact if Christians are intentional about connecting with people outside their daily routine!  Are you ready to be a Critical Connection?

­­­­­For further reading, the articles below may provide some insight on isolation and depression causations. 

Depression Statistics in 2024, Forbes Health

https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/depression-statistics/#:~:text=29%20age%20category.-,How%20Many%20People%20Experience%20Depression%3F,have%20a%20diagnosis%20of%20depression

Loneliness is Associated with Depressive Affect …., National Library of Medicine

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967763/

The Impact of Loneliness and Social Isolation on Cognitive Aging …., National Library of Medicine

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10357115/

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.  Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

—–  James 1:22-27 NKJV