The Dots

connect the dots

Duck #40
Last week my friend lost his water bottle. Stick. That’s the name of his water bottle. He bought a new one and named it Gene.

The definition of the word connection, according to Google is: “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.” As humans, we’re wired for this definition. It’s in our DNA. Sometimes, it propels us forward. Sometimes it holds us back. And it always motivates us.

A week or two ago, I was thinking a lot about this word. Tonight, I’m doing the same.

Let’s take a journey. Into the wonderfully intricate and over analytical mind of Jayna Duckenfield.
So here’s the premise: Humans are wired for connection, like I stated before. Think about it. That’s why we name inanimate objects. It’s why my car’s name is Roofus, my water bottle’s name is Wade, and my pillow pet’s name is Turtle. By naming those objects we feel connected to them. It’s like we’re transmitting some of our life into/onto something that cannot have it. We own it. It belongs to us. (Not in a creeper, stalker type of way). In some sense, it gives our life purpose.

What?! Jayna! Are you saying that we live for naming our inanimate objects because if we don’t then our life is meaningless?!
No, dear reader, that’s not what I’m saying. Let’s go deeper, yes?

Okay, so we name inanimate objects. We like owning things and having things that belong to us, things that are connected to us. And remember, those things can’t talk back or relate to us. Let’s move on to people. We ask questions, we spend time with each other, we hug, we share stories, we laugh. Why? Because all of these things make us feel important, they make us feel validated, like we belong. And let’s face it, we all need to belong. Brene Brown, a social worker and well known ‘TED Talker,’ says, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong…” 

All right, Jayna. I mean yeah, you’re right. My car has a name and I do love hanging with my friends, but what’s your point?
Reader, reader, reader…I’ll get there. I always do, don’t I?

Recap:
Humans are wired for connection.
We (sometimes) name inanimate objects to feel connected
We (always) make connections with people to feel like we belong

What’s the common theme here?

It’s us. But not just that…it’s us doing things. It’s me.It’s me doing things in order to constantly affirm my connection, to incessantly assess my sense of belonging, to reassure that I have worth.

I’d like to generalize my next few thoughts, but I can’t because I can’t truly speak for anyone other than myself. I’m an earner. If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you’ve probably gathered this. I try really hard to understand and give reasoning to the things that I have. Grades, friendships, awards, looks, compliments…everything. It’s often really hard for me to take things for what they are without trying to find the root behind it all. So, when it comes to making connections, I can’t just allow them to be. I’ve got to search for them, go after them, capture them, manipulate them, stick them in a jar, feed them, give them water, and incessantly check them to make sure they don’t die or fade. And if I’m not doing that, then I immediately begin to question the strength of the connection. Because once the connection is made, sometimes I don’t trust it. I can know the strength of the connection, I can understand the depth of it, but if I’m not monitoring it daily, is it even really there? If other people can’t see me working on the connection, does it truly exist? If I can’t do anything to earn it’s strength, did the connection even happen in the first place?

And here’s what’s really behind all of this: There’s one connection that was made that has and will withstand the test of time. There’s one connection that is stronger, deeper, brighter, and more beautiful than any other connection that has ever been made by me or anyone else. It was the connection that was made when Jesus died on the cross. The connection of love that was made, was a connection that gives me life, joy, hope, purpose… And you see, the beautiful thing about this particular connection is that I didn’t have anything to do with it. Because really, my overly zealous attentiveness to my connections is often what weakens them.

I’m treating my connections like a rubber band. It’s sturdy, yes (to an extent), and meant to stretch. But if I keep testing it, making sure that it still has elasticity, pulling and probing, it will eventually pop. I’m treating my connection through Christ like a rubber band. I think that the connection He made for me on the cross was pretty good and overall is able to help me out and hold things together, but I don’t think it’s quite strong enough, so I’ve gotta add some stuff to it. And by add some stuff too it, I mean remove the rubber band and replace it with my fragile piece of thread. I take my thread and wrap, and wrap, and wrap it around so many aspects of my life until it’s all gone. But because it’s so fragile, so thin, it’s still not enough. And I’ve removed Christ’s rubber band, so now what?

PLOST TWIST.  

There was never a rubber band to begin with!! The connection that Christ made for me on the cross is the tightest and strongest chain. It can’t be cut, it can’t be removed, it can’t be weakened. So it’s kind of funny that I try to remove it and make my own convoluted connection, isn’t it?

Hmmmm…so what exactly ARE you saying, Jayna? Are the connections you and I make bad? Should we only be concerned with the connection Christ made?
Okay, reader. Here we go…

Connections are a good thing. Jesus wants us to have connections. He delights in them. BUT they are not to replace, overpower, or mitigate HIS connection. The connection He made is one of everlasting love, it’s one of new life, it’s one full of meaning. It’s the connection that reminds us that life is worth living. It’s the connection that saved us from the pit of hell and said “No, you’re mine! I want you with me.” It’s the connection that that paid for our sanctified perfection. It’s the connection that gave me a new identity and replaced my label of earner with rewarded. It’s the connection that knows me so deeply and chooses to love me anyway. It’s the connection that affirms me and whispers, “You rest. I’ve got this.” It’s THE connection.

So, Jayna. Stop trying to earn and manipulate these connections then. The human connections you make can and should point you to and remind you of the ultimate connection through Christ. Rejoice that you don’t have to earn that. Rejoice that you don’t have to worry about its strength. Rejoice because everything that THE connection holds, in all of its beauty, is 100% yours. Rest in the fact that you can’t break it because you didn’t make it.

Thanks, reader. You’re exactly right.

[Jesus, thank You so much for the connections You allows us to make on earth. Thank you for the ways that you allows us to feel connected. But ultimately, thank You for the connection that You made and thank You for being so patient as I slowly but surely lean into that.]
❤ Amen

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