Leaders: Why A Text Isn’t A Substitute For A Touch

I realized something about myself this past week. I communicate a lot and connect less. I’m not sure when this happened or why but it did. I can’t point to a moment where it happened it was more of a subtle drift to complacency rather than an intentional effort.

Over the last few weeks I have been asked the same question over and over in one for or another. I have answered this question on medical forms, school paperwork, website subscriptions and in person to the guy sitting next to me at Starbucks. The answer is “I communicate.” The question, “What do you do for a living?”

How can a person who says they communicate for a living feel like they aren’t connecting? I am probably telling you something you already know but here it goes, communicating with someone is not the same as connecting with someone.

I send texts, e-mails, make phone calls, leave voice mails, Skype and communicate verbally all throughout the day. I write stories, communicate through a Blog, speak to audiences and yet oddly enough I feel this is only surface level stuff.

Like a proverbial rock skipping along the surface of the water until it eventually looses momentum and falls desperately to the bottom in quiet sleep (Usually around 11:00 o’clock).

I have replaced connecting with communicating. How about you? Do you ever feel that way?

I think each of us communicate more than ever but what takes us to that next level? I think it’s in the power of connecting, connecting face to face, heart to heart, eye to eye. Connecting through touch, something impossible through a text, with a hug, high five or handshake. A virtual world does not provide what a face to face encounter can. The power of being present, the power of connecting beyond communication, the power of touch.

Jesus modeled it, we should mimic it.
We communicate in abundance but deep connection, I’m not sure.

I was hug adverse for many years but have learned to embracing the idea (no pun intended) to move from simply communicating to connecting. You know the story from Mark chapter 2.

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean," he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," he said. "Be healed!" Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Mark 1:40-42 NLT. Three actions of our Lord jump out at me in these verses.

1.  Move

2. Reach

3. Touch

I realized these three words are the very three actions I need to embrace if I want to communicate and connect on a deeper level.

I need to Move toward deeper connection with others. I need to pursue it and lean into it. I can’t sit and wait for it to come to me. It won’t happen.

I need to Reach out and take a risk. I need to be open, honest and vulnerable. Risking failure (or healing) and reach out.

I need to Touch  physically, daily. My wife, my kids, my friends. Reaching out through the power of touch enters a realm of connection that Jesus modeled for us. Texts can not replace touch. Communication can not replace connection.

I’m pretty sure Jesus could have healed the man without a touch. “Be healed” would have done the trick, don’t you think? He touched the man because he hadn’t been touched in a long time and he had the felt need of an embrace a deep connection and Jesus knew it. It’s time for me to put those three words on a 3 x 5 card (I know, old school, right) and put it in my pocket and start connecting on a deeper level.

How about you? Are you ready to walk around with a 3 x 5 card as a reminder to Move - Reach - Touch? Are you ready to connect with others on a deeper level? Who will you connect with?

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