Do You Struggle To Connect With Others?

June 1, 2017

Do you struggle to connect with others? If so that fight might have something to do with where you have placed your focus. When we meet people, we inherently put our radar up. We immediately scan how different we are from each other.

I remember years ago being encouraged to host a couple’s bible study. I was super excited until I saw one particular couple; Edward and Susan had enrolled in the group. They were what I called heavy hitters in the church. I was sure they would attract more couples like them. These were people I had labeled as very different from me. A couple we would never pick as our friends, nor would expect them to desire our friendship.

My mind was so focused on what made us different; I refused to look at what made us the same. For example, if one had a particular struggle in life – Edward and Susan had the perfect verse all memorized and ready. For me, I struggled with memorizing verses. Talk about great prayers – they could pray these long, eloquent prayers with big powerful words – mine were more along the lines of – “Hi God – It is me.” This pair dressed up – I wore jeans. Bible reading was a daily practice in their lives, and at that time I read the bible only to do my homework for our small group.

When we focus on what makes us different, we fail to connect.

At first, I struggled to connect with this couple, but as I grew to know them, I found we had so many similarities that made us the same. Our biggest similarity was our love for GOD.

The differences that I let divide us at first ended up being places of growth and comfort in my life.

Don’t let focusing on differences keep you from connecting with other people.  Look for what makes us all the same.

This video says it all.

Face your struggle of connecting with others. Focus on your sameness.

Is it difficult for you to focus on what you have in common?

I hope you will join our community at Embracing the Unexpected – sign up today to receive posts straight to your inbox along with a small gift.

 

32 Comments

  1. Reply

    Brandi Raae

    I’m currently in a stage of having to get to know new people. We’d been church orphans for a year and a half (still going but trying to find the right one) until we finally found our “home” last fall. It can be difficult to make new friends at 40. I go through spurts of being excited and being frustrated. Mostly, I’ve learned to lean on God and step out of my comfort zones, pushing myself to do what doesn’t come naturally for me. Blessings ALWAYS come from that. Focusing on what you have in common when forging friendships is great advice!

    Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brandi – Who would have thought when we are older it would feel so strange to make new friends? I guess it is something we never quite outgrow.

      We are looking for a place to retire, and I visit a place quite often that we are considering. Last year I set out to make some friends in this new location. It felt so strange. I would never have expected that. You are so right we have to step out of our comfort zones.

      It ‘s hard finding a new church. I am so glad you landed on a place.

      Blessings,

      Maree

  2. Reply

    sarahgirl3

    I think looking for the similarities we have is good in many areas, especially people with different political views. Great words!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah, Yes, that is true. Political views would be a could place to unbox people. Many Blessings, Maree

  3. Reply

    Susan Arico (@SusanBArico)

    Yes! This is at the *heart* of real empathy.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Susan – I like your comment. “heart of real empathy” So true. Maree

  4. Reply

    Karen

    It’s so hard for natural introverts to push past that inclination to stand back and wait. For years I was the wall flower who wanted people to come talk to me, now that I’m older, I realize that all that stand-off-ish-ness really gave the impression of being closed off. Its amazing what a warm smile and a friendly greeting will do to break down barriers. And I totally agree that when me make assumptions about people before getting to know them, it just creates artificial walls between people. thanks

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I love your wise words, “Its amazing what a warm smile and a friendly greeting will do to break down barriers.” I have found a smile is a universal language that we have the ability to speak. Thank you for stopping by today. Maree

  5. Reply

    Unmasking the Mess

    Love this post! What a great reminder:)

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Julie,

      Thank you! I think we all need to be reminded once in awhile.

      Maree

  6. Reply

    Loved by the King of kings

    This is such a great message!
    I wonder what would happen if the pastors in our churches did this sameness-difference exercise (like the one in the video) with their congregations? I think most of us would probably be surprised at how we have wrongly viewed others. Sometimes the people who appear to have it all together really don’t. They may be crying on the inside, even on the verge of giving up, but putting on a mask so no one will know. The Lord calls us to love one another. If the other person doesn’t obey Him on this, it is not an excuse for our disobedience. I have learned that God calls us to take the first step when others do not. We often cannot know if others are struggling if we hold them at arms’ length and do not attempt to engage them in conversation.
    This is a great message and much needed in the world and in the church.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      What a great idea to do this in a church setting. I bet it would be an eye opener. You are so right the Lord calls us to love one another. It is so important to remember this on a daily basis. Thank you for your insight. Maree

      1. Reply

        Loved by the King of kings

        It’s a long story, but the above insight has been painfully acquired over an extended period of time. The underlying pain is still real and jumped out at me from reading the comments. I enjoyed your blog post. It totally agrees with Scripture in that “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” May the Lord help us to be more like Him.

        1. Reply

          Maree Dee

          Praying for your underlying pain. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. Praying for you!!!

  7. Reply

    Jen Enoch

    You and I would get along well! Jeans and a couple of words. Really though, I’m the same in the way that I get nervous that I’m not as well vered as others, and that holds me back. You’re right, I have to begin to switch my focus. Thanks for sharing, this nice to hear that others have the same thoughts.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Jen,
      Thank you for sharing, it helps me know I am not alone. Gosh, I think of all of the opportunities missed because I was so focused on our differences or feeling insecure like I didn’t measure up. Thanks for stopping by. I look forwards to hopping on to your blog and getting to now you. Maree

  8. Reply

    Liz Giertz

    I love this!!! We are an Army family about to move to a non-Army town. I’ve been worried about how I would connect with the other women there without having husband that serve as a common factor. Your encouraging words have come at just the right time! I’m going in searching for our sameness instead of dreading our differences! Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Liz,

      I am so glad my words encouraged you. I am praying right now for your move. I have no doubt based on your post that you will be loved wherever you go. I have heard even looking for someone with the same eye color can be a good start. Have a wonderful weekend. Maree

  9. Reply

    Debbie Kitterman

    Maree – What a powerful video and the importance for us to not put people in boxes based on what we see. WOW love it and yes, sometimes it is hard for us to not focus on the differences, but its those differences that makes us uniquely us, and yet the same too. Thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today and each week. PS… the difficult people in our lives – the ones it’s hard to love, but we know God calls us to love anyway – I call them grace growers…. this couple you mentioned in your story – they were grace growers for you – they grew your grace and showed you something deeper. HUGS – enjoy your weekend

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Debbie,

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. I love that term “grace growers.” The couple certainly enriched my life more than I ever could have imagined. Blessings, Maree

  10. Reply

    Brenda

    “Focus on your sameness.” Yes, love that. Beautiful reminder that our shared love for God is enough. Thanks for sharing, Maree. ((hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – It sounds so simple to look for sameness yet human nature takes over if we are not careful. Honestly, it would be kind of boring if everyone we hung out with was just like us. Could you imagine? Thank you for stopping by. Maree

  11. Reply

    stephwrites68

    Hi Maree, I too have felt left out of things. But learned that it’s best to find out what I have in common with someone is the best way to become their friend. And Ps. 46:10 has always been one of my favorites! Great post. I linked from Warriors of the Word today, God bless you.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, that verse is once of my favorites. Of course, it isn’t because I have it mastered but because I need to remind myself – to be still before God. Thank you for stopping by. Blessings, Maree

  12. Reply

    Erin @ burdenfreecaregiving.com

    Your post are always delightful! You put a smile on my face every time I come to your blog. This post is so true. You nailed it about the perfect couples in church, especially when we are going through difficult times and they are not. 😀😀😀

    May your blog bless many people, just as it blesses me.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Erin – You made my day! Sometimes I think I am too serious of a blogger. Of course, those thoughts are when I am comparing myself to others. I hope my blog continues to bless you and others. Maree

  13. Reply

    Gretchen Fleming

    Very thought provoking Maree. So easy to focus on our differences and the enemy has a field day with that! Thanks for the video as well👍

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Gretchen – Boy that is the truth the enemy has a field day with me, especially when I am out of my comfort zone. Maree

  14. Reply

    Bette

    A good point, Maree…and helpful to me! Thanks for sharing 😉

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Bette – You are always so welcome. Thank you for your constant encouragement and taking the time to comment. It means the world to me. Maree

  15. Reply

    Joanne Viola (@JViola79)

    Maree, such a wise point. If we focus on what brings us together or what we share in common, we will successfully connect with others in a meaningful way. Glad to be neighbors this morning!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Joanne – Glad to be neighbors too. I look forward to reading your post. Thank you for stopping by and reading. Blessings, Maree

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: