What am I looking for? A fairly recent example for me was earbuds. I didn’t know I wanted them until I saw them and then I started looking for them.
My cheap meter went off when I saw the price of the “best” ones. I didn’t buy any until I could find a decent pair for $40. Yes, I am cheap but I only wear them to work out. Didn’t make sense to spend crazy money on something I intend to sweat on.
What are you looking for?
Maybe you are like me and it is hard to answer that question until you see it.
I don’t know what exactly your are looking for, but the algorithm does! Yeah, you are being tracked. It is why when you search Amazon for new kicks the ads show up on every other site you visit.
The ads are annoying, but there is a fascinating record out there of what people are looking for.
In 2022, the top English searches on Google so far according to Similarweb (an SEO firm) are as follows: 1) YouTube 2) Facebook 3) Translate (to say something in a foreign language).
So far these make sense and don’t tell you much. Sadly, it goes downhill.
Pornhub, porn, xvideos and other “x” sites take up several of the next top spots. If you combine the traffic for these, the topic of porn easily becomes the number one search. It makes me sad to write it, but apparently porn is what we are looking for.
While this says so much from a cultural standpoint and we could spend hours on what this is doing to kids, I want to point at something else.
Porn is addictive, ugly and I fear most are deceived into thinking it is relatively harmless. But it is a symptom of a deeper problem.
One we all encounter whether you view porn or not.
The problem this points to is our attempt to fill a void. There is a deep need we all have for connection and relationship.
We are social creations, even the most introverted, and frankly our society has broken to a degree where people can’t find the connections they intuitively know they need. Enter a cheap and flawed substitute. The substitute not only fails to deliver but has a twisted addictive pull. In a horrific cycle it hurts you, promises to help you and hurts you again. On repeat.
What happened to us?
You are Empty – Maybe it was the craziness of the last few years. It could be you have walked through a tough season with family but your capacity is low. You have often been ready to give, to reach out, you encourage and support but there seems to be nothing left and nothing coming back. Everything flows out, nothing flows in to fill you up. Like trying to start a car with no gas, it doesn’t work when the tank is empty.
People Close to You are Empty –You see it around you. You know how you are feeling and you can’t blame the people close to you for feeling the same way. You are empty and they are too. Why aren’t they helping you “re-fuel”? Because they are out of gas just like you. No one is a bad guy we are on the same team and we are all running no empty tanks.
Neighbors and Co-Workers are Empty Too – This is why we have such a big problem. If only a portion of the world around us was running down, we could look to some other group who wasn’t empty…but that group isn’t out there.
What works when nothing is working? I am biased as a pastor, but as I look around I don’t have a good answer other than the church.
I will offer a disclaimer, some churches have messed up, fallen short, covered up scandals, abused people and in general fallen far short of what they are intended to be. It is sad, but it is true. If you have been hurt by these kinds of churches I humbly and sincerely ask you to forgive us.
Yet with such unsatisfying cheap imitations for real and meaningful life, be it porn, politics, money or social activism there is nothing better designed or better equipped than the church to help you find the connections you want.
You tried, you are tired and maybe skeptical. I get it. I really do. But cheap substitutes and settling for an empty life seem like terrible options.
What if you made one more attempt?
Mt Ridge is the church I have had the privilege of serving for almost 20 years. No, we don’t get everything right. We are not perfect people and there is a chance if you connect with us you may find some disappointing things. Not excusing it, simply admitting we are not perfect. As hard as we try we will miss some things.
Yet I can say with confidence Mt Ridge has and will continue to follow Jesus, love each other and love our neighbors. We want you to know and feel that you belong with us. The way we express it is, Mt Ridge is FOR you. We are behind you, cheering for you and we are with you, with a place to belong. My hope is you would find us a place where you could “fill up”.
We are starting a series of messages this Sunday about how to solve the problem of being disconnected and settling for substitutes. I think it could help you. If you are near us come by, if you would rather, check out our YouTube channel. We will talk about how to take your life from Me to We.
This blog is not a commercial for Mt Ridge. There are many great churches out there.
My hope is to encourage you not to settle.
God has an incredible life for you. It is a life connected to Him and connected to others. Find a church that will help you do both.
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