Erin, what was your greatest challenge in writing Connected?
Connected is the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever written, and vulnerability always feels risky. I had to fight the temptation to play it safe in the telling of my own story and in the telling of the often gut-wrenching stories of the women we interviewed for the book. I am so glad I didn’t play it safe, but now as the book releases I feel that sense of vulnerability all over again. Letting people see the real us is tough, but I really think our fear of it is a big part of our struggle for meaningful connection.
What is the main thing that you want readers to walk away with from reading Connected?
God wired us for connection. Yes, relationships are messy, often painful, and require much of us but when we sit on the bench, we are operating outside of our God-given design.
What is your favorite Scripture and why?
Different Scriptures become more meaningful during different seasons, so I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but during the writing of Connected I really pondered Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, you have searched me and know me.”
God knows me. That concept really took on a new meaning as I studied how He made us to connect with Him and others. I think we may need to add a new verse to our favorite children’s song . . . Yes, Jesus loves me, this I know, but He also knows me, this I LOVE!
Why do you think in the modern world loneliness has become, as you put it in your book, “a phenomenon of pandemic proportions”?
I think there are a lot of factors. Some people might think this book is about pointing the finger at technology as the culprit of our loneliness. I do address technology in the book, but we can trace loneliness all the way back to the Garden of Eden (long before iStuff!). I think that connection requires so much of us and we tend to worship comfort, convenience, and easy payoffs. But valuing those things too highly has left us very lonely. I think it’s time the church as a whole takes a fresh look at what God says about knowing Him and knowing others. We need to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work necessary to create true connection. I can say for a fact that doing so is worth it!
Who inspires you most?
I am always inspired by those who quietly and diligently serve without recognition. Whether it’s Sunday school teachers, moms, or pastors’ wives, I want to be more and more like those women who live out Jesus’ teaching. The way we achieve greatness is by serving others extravagantly.
What was your motivation in writing Connected?
Connected was born from a speaking engagement where I basically stood on stage and wept over my own loneliness. I counseled women for hours afterward, many of whom simply said, “I’m lonely too.” Suddenly I was aware of a huge need in my own life and in the lives of many, many women. I knew God’s Word had an answer for that need (because it always does!) and once I figured out all that God had to say on the subject of loneliness I couldn’t wait to shout it from the rooftops in the hopes that other women would be set free from the pain of loneliness.
How has your personal struggle with loneliness enabled you to minister to others?
I’ve really been shocked to learn how many women wrestle with loneliness. I can come from a place of experience and say, “I’ve been lonely most of my life.” But I can also now come from a place of hope because I’m not lonely anymore. God’s Word really is a deep well on this issue. I simply want to encourage women to run to God’s Word for hope and truth.
Is there anything you are currently reading? What authors or books would you recommend?
I am in the years of life where my reading list is mostly books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. So for moms I highly recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones. It has really made the gospel come alive for me and my three little guys.
What is one valuable lesson God has taught you while writing this book?
I tend to shrink back from letting others know me. It’s scary to me because it requires me to take off my mask and let others see my imperfections. God really showed me it is a gift to have people in our lives who see the good, the bad, and the ugly and to let us see the same in them. It’s still a real challenge for me to choose connection over approval, but it’s a theme I can no longer ignore in God’s Word. By God’s grace, I am choosing to be seen and to connect more often.
Why is this book important to today’s audience?
I think the most important reason why this book matters to the church is summed up in 1 John 1:3, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
We can have fellowship with each other because we first have a relationship with Christ. He is the table we all gather around. He is the cord that connects us.
True, deep connection is the unique gift of Christ’s followers. The world craves connection with God but because they do not know Him, they have no idea how to connect with each other.
We need to be connected to each other because the world is watching. God’s design is that they would be compelled by the connection they see among us, but sadly I often fear that instead they are repelled because we aren’t connecting as God intended us to.
It’s not just about getting more friends or deeper friendships, it’s about putting the God who knows us and invites us to know Him on display to a hurting world.
How can our team pray for you?
Please pray for me to live what I write. It’s very easy as a Bible teacher to push others toward a level of faith and service that I am not actually living out. I want to walk my talk, but it requires me to stay diligently connected to the vine.
Also, it has been a tough season for our family. Two of our sons have bad kidneys. Our youngest, Judah just endured major surgery to repair function to his kidney. Our oldest, Eli has lost all function in one kidney. Pray for their little bodies and for God’s glory in the midst of it all.