One thing about abundant living is the ability to form and sustain healthy relationships. People who can maintain wonderful friendships and spend time in fellowship seem to do better at handling difficulties. We exist in a community; people who can survive any significant time with no human contact are a rare exception. Even though is an innate desire for human connection, many people are satisfied with what I call “surface living”. Surface living is life without having a meaningful connection with anyone. We know many people and many people may not us, but there is no budding relationship or friendship. People see us come and go while we do the same, but no one takes the time to have any heartfelt conversations about what is going on in each other lives.
Unfortunately, one place that surface living can be observed in real-time is in church. We all worship, sing, pray and fellowship together, but how much do we know each other. Members rarely know where other Christians live, work, or play until death occurs or someone is sick and in the hospital. Many times we are satisfied with the little we know about other people because it somehow exonerates us of the responsibility to love, like Jesus. We boast about our circle of friends, yet we know nothing about them and they know nothing us about except who we pretend to be most times. We settle for surface living because we are convinced that it will keep us from getting hurt if we expose too much of whom we really are. The time and energy we waste in living on the surface could be better spent getting to know even one other human being as God would have us.
Friendship is more than surface living. It requires the people we love and those who love us to know what is going on below the surface of our lives. We must open our lives even if it means the risk of getting hurt. We can’t guarantee how people will treat us or how they will respond to the good we attempt to do, but we should not refrain from doing it, anyway. We cannot move toward abundant living if we consistently approach living life with one eye open because of fear. Surface living is not really living, but most of the time we convince ourselves it is our only source of defense. Nobody is suggesting that we should become so vulnerable. We are the objects of abuse, but it is not likely we can live abundantly by indulging in just surface living. Forming and maintaining healthy bonds with other people is hard work, but it is worth it because these last a lifetime.
Surface living may be easier to do, but it hardly brings us any satisfaction for being alive. As a human being, I don’t want to just exist. I want to live and have intimate connections with the people around me. I don’t want surface living. My life is worth much more than that. I want to take the time to get to know the people around me, whether at work, school, church, or the grocery store. I don’t want to be selfish with how I live because I will pass this way only once. I will not settle for surface living because our lives are so much more than what we see on the surface.