We all crave deep, meaningful relationships with people around us. Sometimes it’s with a significant other like a girlfriend or a husband; kids or a best friend.
Those are the kind of relationships that we get up in the morning for, that we long for and that many no longer believe are really possible.
We live in an age of superficiality where a “like” on a post counts as engagement and a carefully constructed selfie is supposed to represent our every day moments that actually took a lot of tries to get right.
It’s easy to blame social media, main stream media, conservative or liberal media or any other type of media that is easily digestible, today. Richard J. Foster said this in 1978:
“Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”
Let that sink in…in 1978, he claimed that our biggest struggle as a people was the tendency to be superficial. Wow. If only he know what 2022 looked like.
The truth is, you were not made to be superficial. You are a deeply spiritual being made in the image of God and you were meant to have deep and meaningful relationships with men and women who were made in the same.
We don’t do masks well. In fact, the more masks we put on, the more unhappy we become because it’s not us. Our great fear is that we can’t be loved for who we really are. Instead, we have to place images that we think are more palatable out in the world so we can find some level of acceptance.
And sometimes masks are really the problem. Some people genuinely like being their true selves even if no one likes them. It’s a characteristic that I somewhat envy to be honest. Instead of masks, distractions become our kryptonite. Netflix, Starbucks, Hulu, TicTok, Facebook, Youtube…they are all within a button’s push to take us to another world where we can forget the challenges of this one while our eyes gloss over and dopamine flows freely.
It’s in the world and the church where we love quick messages of affirmation that don’t require us to look TOO deep because if we did that, the whole charade may fall apart.
This is not the life you were created to live.
I find it fascinating that Richard Foster saw the answer to our superficiality not in being more intelligent or gifted, but in becoming deeper.
You are a deep and meaningful being that was made for deep and meaningful relationships with God and each other. That takes time. That takes courage. That takes introspection and reflection.
It also takes a willingness to look deeper into God, His creation and His Word as well as the lives of the people around you.
If you find yourself living in this curse of superficiality, can I encourage you with this…
- You are fearfully and wonderfully made in all of your oddities, eccentricities and imperfections.
- You are fully known by God and you are fully loved.
- When you begin to live more authentically, you will find others who are choosing to do the same.
- Superficiality is a prison but authenticity is freedom. Choose freedom.
Becoming deep will take courage but you don’t have to do it alone. Let other followers of Jesus who have also chosen to reject superficiality walk with you and show you that you are loved just as you are.
The phrase “Superficiality is the curse of age” is the opening line of the book CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE by Richard J Foster. To undo the damage of the shallow culture requires this phrase to be experienced. The only way is to read and practice the disciplines in the book CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE.
To bridge this gap I suggest first reading THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED by M Scott Peck. Even before reading both of these masterpieces, we must deal with the distractions that bombard us 24/7/365 and this requires the discipline of thinking.
To learn or relearn this skill, I strongly suggest a book by P.M Forni called
THE THINKING LIFE, How to thrive in the Age of Distraction.