On Conversation

A friend recently asked me about my goals in life. I said, “To be happy and healthy and whole. To live in love and to be always seeking the face of God. To be kind and honest.”

Funny how my goals in life revolve around the kind of person I want to be, the character I hope to cultivate rather than a timeline of accomplishments. I suppose it stems from a reluctance to formulate a 5 year plan.

You plan. God laughs. Every time.

There is absolutely zero chance of my five year plan going according to plan. My time is more wisely invested in self-discovery and curiosity about the world and people around me. We seek relationship. Which means I think we need to have better conversations through all mediums.

Texting makes it easy to take the surface approach, hey how’s your day, what’s you do. (Side Note: “Yep” is a conversational ball that throws it back into your court. I’m not going to carry the burden of the conversation alone if your effort lacks.) Face to face we become concerned the things escaping our lips are held in judgment, examined and manipulated. That sort of filter frustrates me. Yeah, it’s great to think before you speak, but you shouldn’t have to edit yourself to suit your audience. I discover myself censoring my speech more and more since I moved to a small town, where it seems everything you say runs the odds of being run through the rumor mill. (Learning how to be an adult in the town you grew up in…. another post for another time.)

Sometimes at the office we discuss a social experiment involving online dating and how people present themselves. What would happen if we were completely honest about who we are as people? The theory is that if we were completely honest, the algorithm would work perfectly. So often we find ourselves presenting a version of ourselves, rather than being true to who we really are. So what if my current favorite movie is Frozen? So what if I believe in Jesus? So what if I go to bed early? Editing ourselves to make someone like us feels wrong – like we are ashamed of certain parts of ourselves.Granted, there’s always room for improvement. I could be a little more adventurous and care a little less about dirty dishes in the sink. But if I just say what I think you want to hear, are we really connecting on a meaningful level?

We seem to be a surface generation, concerned with appearances and filtering our experiences. There’s something to be said for putting a positive spin on a situation and looking for the good things, but we must be careful not to always live here.

Most of me yearns to feel life more deeply. I suppose it stems from a desire to seek the face of God for if God lives in us, the world cannot harm us and we are free to experience the art of His brush as He meant it to be felt.

Ultimately, we all carry the same story. We all feel joy and grief and heartbreak and hilarity. These are the things that make us who we are. The theme is common but the paragraphs feel unique. When we realize this, then will we have truly accomplished something so simple, but so important.

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