After 8 months of covid restrictions, many of us are hungry for deep conversations. I know that, for me at least, the majority of my conversations have been only shallow deep. Most of them go something like this. “How are you?” “I am fine thanks” and that’s about it.
We are often hardwired to seek comfort in lukewarm conversations, but that is NOT what we are called into. We are called into discipleship, to deep human connection and to expressing our faith honestly.
The real question here is not ‘should we have deep and vulnerable conversations?’, but ‘how can we when lockdown and isolation have added a whole new barrier to our conversational lives?’ Well, like with many things we can look to scripture to find an answer. We are not the first generation to experience isolation or to feel like we are boxed in by walls.
To name just a few people who have spent significant time in isolation I would point to John the Baptist, who spent years of his life in social isolation; The Apostle Paul, who spent 2 years in house arrest under Roman authority; And both Moses and Elijah, who each spent 40 days in isolation on a mountain. All of these people felt isolation like us, and probably worse, but I don’t think any of us believe that their conversations were ever lukewarm. I can't imagine the Apostle Paul rocking up to a Zoom with his mates and taking “I’m fine” as a reasonable answer.
I believe that it is part of who all of us are to not be satisfied by lukewarm chat. Like Paul we should recognise that, although we are physically alone at many times, we are all spiritually united with God and with the body of Christ (the Church). Our thoughts never have to be our own, because, if we chose to voice them, they could always be heard. God made us to be in meaningful relationships and so lukewarm conversations are denying something we are made for.
In lockdown there are places where DMC (deep meaningful conversations) are still alive and well. One of them is in one-to-one mentoring and another is in small groups. If you aren’t yet being mentored by someone, think to yourself, am I being asked hard questions enough? Am I processing my deep thoughts with someone I trust and respect? Am I learning from someone who is a few steps ahead of me that will help me grow? If the answer to any of these, get a mentor. Small groups are also a fantastic place to start opening up to DMC in this season of lockdown. I found that having time to put forth my prayer requests in small groups each week gave me space to process and hear some real wisdom from others (Check out more Fusion blogs for so great stuff on small groups).
God is passionate about us engaging with small groups and with mentoring and there IS opportunity in the local church to dive in. There are also tools available to support the pursuit of DMCs. At Fusion we have developed two decks of playing cards (DMC deck and Discipleship Deck) which are fantastic for helping us delve deeper into greater human connection. I like to think of these cards as a middleman that asks the questions we’ve always meant to ask. We are blessed to have access to walks with friends and the technological wonder that is video calling. So, grab a deck, grab a mentor, get stuck into a small group online and GO FORTH AND DMC!