How to Stay Connected When Nothing Is Normal

We face a dilemma right now. The world has met in gatherings for centuries and is being asked (and told) by it’s individual governments to stay home and away from other people. Social distancing is the term. I have friends in remote pockets of the world where I never dreamed that I would have friends, who are also being shut down. I’m talking about people in the desert of Kenya, to people in the jungles of Colombia, and everywhere in between.

That leads me to a simple question:

How do we stay connected?

The simple answer that I think most people would give, and it proved true on a quick survey that I posted on Facebook is through platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook chat, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. Constant phone calls, texts, and emails. But that just isn’t the same is it?

We’re used to going out to eat with our families, meeting new friends at church on a Sunday morning, bumping into people at Walmart, connecting in small groups during the week, going to Topgolf with a group of friends, etc.

The question becomes less about what I can do to stay connected with people, and more about how I can feel a sense of normalcy?

I think that’s ultimately what we long for. With no end in sight, we just want to know when we can live our normal lives again. When can we visit grandma in the nursing home again? When can we go see a movie? When can we go shopping again?

Temporarily, we must live in this new normal. Instead of looking towards the day where everything will be exactly how it was two months ago, we need to recognize that this is the new normal for this season. It might last through the end of April, and it might last through the end of 2020. With that mental shift set in place, here is how the question shifts:

What tools can I use to stay connected?

Thankfully, we live in a technological world. If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand the way technology has shaped much of our culture. There is however a huge positive with technology during this time of quarantine, and it’s the simple fact that we can have face to face conversations without being in physical danger. So what are some of the platforms out there that are available for us to use?

  1. Facetime
  2. Google Hangouts
  3. Zoom
  4. Facebook Video Messenger
  5. Skype

For the quicker and non face to face options, there are things like:

  1. Texting
  2. Emailing
  3. Phone Calls

Then there are the creative and fun methods like these:

  1. Soup cans with a string
  2. Walking outside and yelling down the holler
  3. Messenger Pigeons
  4. Light signals

That leads to another question that may not be as complicated, but if strategized correctly, could have astounding results.

Who should we stay connected with?

This is hopefully pretty obvious for you, but there are a couple people groups who you may not have thought about staying in contact with that just might help you stay sane during this season.

1. Family

2. Close Friends

3. Distant Friends

      • This can be people you’re not as close to or people who live in other states. Use this time to play catch up on life!

4. Your Church

5. Your Small Group

      • If you don’t have a small group, get connected with one through your local church. We were never meant to do life alone, and now, more than ever, having a community is crucial.

6. People with Shared interests (hobbies, etc)

      • This is one that I want to hang up on for a minute. Whether you know it or not, there is a group of people somewhere out there with the same hobbies as you, and there very likely is some sort of digital community bringing these people together. 
      • For me, I absolutely LOVE hunting and fishing. Through platforms like Instagram, I’m able to be in constant communication with other people in the hunting/fishing community.
      • God might just have you in this season to impact somebody that has a similar interest as you that you may have never reached out to in your normal rhythms.

7. Neighbors

8. Co-Workers

Don’t let this season pass without some intentional investment. If you’re waiting on that friend to call, let’s assume that they may never call and let’s be the one who picks up the phone to make the dial. You never know what sort of impact you’ll have on someone simply through a little bit of intentionality.

A New Normal

Let’s face it, we’re living in a new normal. We’re prayerful that it’s only for a short season. However, let’s be intentional with our time. Let’s write down some work goals and some personal goals. Let’s invest our free time into something that will make a kingdom impact. Let’s connect with old friends, invest in new friends, and care for one another well. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Let’s not depend on everyone else being the one who should be reaching out to us, but let’s intentionally reach out to others.

Let’s make this new normal something that we actually look back on in 10 years and miss. A time where we built such strong friendships. A time where families were forced to sit in separate houses and talk with one another on the phone instead of sitting in the same room talking to everyone else on their phone.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

So while this season is less than ideal, let’s trust that we serve a God who is so much bigger than any temporary barrier of the world.

Neil Lamm
Neil Lamm is an Associate Pastor in central Virginia, where he oversees Small Groups and Missions. An avid outdoorsman, you can usually find Neil hunting in the woods, fishing in a river, or hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife and their bird dog, Bailey.

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