Monday, August 25, 2014

Connected - by Erin Davis - BookReview

I approached this book knowing what to expect, but also with an open mind. Firstly, I was, am, so familiar with this topic: being lonely even when you’re not alone. Secondly, I was open to what I might learn and improve about my approach to relationships and human connection. I still haven’t processed all my thoughts about this books, and probably this is why I postponed writing a review for it over the past few days. The reason I even chose this was because I had so vivid in my mind the image of a teenage me sitting alone during youth group one Friday evening and finding it so very difficult to go sit with someone I knew. A teenage me feeling lonely although there were plenty of people in the church. Unfortunately, this kind of feelings don’t stop once we leave behind the weird teenage years. 

Like all professional reviews, let me start by saying .. well.

I haven’t heard of the author before. Erin Davis is a speaker, author and blogger. This is not her first book and you can feel that. Since I didn’t get to “know” her before starting this book (and by “know” I mean through twitter, her blog, or any other media outlet), I was so nicely surprised to see her so open and uninhibited when writing. I was a bit reluctant in the beginning, but as I turned pages I came to see she’s a writer who uses words creatively and she’s after my own heart as far as humor goes. 

But more important than that, I want to focus on what she writes. This is such a widely discussed topic. Whoever spends a few days (maybe less) on any social media platform will encounter a pin, a tweet, a share, a something advising and encouraging to step away from the said social media medium and connect in real life. As in, face to face, with people and use words and stuff when relating to them. Well, let me tell you something. I agree. But in the same time I think it’s hard, man! It takes courage and compassion and vulnerability to step out into the real word and engage. To connect. 

Loneliness hits when you least expect it, and when it hits, I hits like a brick. The author lists some factors that unveil or trigger the loneliness, such as sudden changes; our stubbornness in holding tight to our schedules and busy lives; sin; our unwillingness to be vulnerable (both a cause for sorrow and joy - see Brene Brown's talk); our lack of fellowship with God. These factors are all real and true, some with a greater immediate impact than others. It’s such a clear and obvious thing that when we have our priorities in check, somehow we know how to navigate those seasons of loneliness. No, not eradicate it completely, but to not fall in the pit of self-pity and self-imposed loneliness. As all seasons, there’s something to be learned in each, when there’s sorrow, or we go through a change, a transition, when we feel betrayed, or in the hard times when we have to carry a cross that seems unbearable. 

Probably the part that is worth insisting upon and without which this book would have been useless, is the emphasis on a serious, personal relationship with God. His presence with us at all times, in all seasons of life is the great news of great joy. God loves us. He is enough. From Him spring all things. This is such a simple and at the same time overlooked factor. While reading the book I realized how prone I am to look for quick ways to fix things. Microwave solutions to both loneliness and any other aspects of life. Dwelling in the truth that God is enough is the starting point of all good things.
Going from here, the author stressed the importance of church community. It makes sense since the Church is the body of Christ and it is built on and around Him. I am so glad she didn’t overlooked this aspect!

As far as research goes, honestly, I would have loved maybe a few more personal stories. She just mentions some relevant to each chapter. She also makes references to some Bible studies and commentaries, come general studies on the topic of loneliness, and to Brené Brown’s TED talk, ThePower of Vulnerability. (Brene Brown also has some books worth checking out.) I personally think this small portion of research is okay for this book, but for someone looking for more data about loneliness, its factors, cures & co, this is just a recommended starting point.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this. It’s a pretty fast read. I can’t say that the things written were illuminating in themselves, but what I found helpful were the way in which the information was structured and that can go a long way.

{book trailer}

I received this copy from B&H Publishing Group for review. All thoughts are mine.

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