I remember going to parties in high school and really only caring that the girl I had a crush on was there. I would talk to people that were near her in proximity, and I’d try to project what a great guy I was in the conversation with whatever pawn I was engaging. If the girl would leave that area of the party, so would I–sometimes mid-sentence.
I didn’t care about who I was talking to, they were leverage, nothing more, nothing less. I would use them as long as they benefited my chances of being noticed, and discard them like trash when they no longer served me.
I still do this, and you probably do too. Networking is all the craze in the world we live in, and our ability to name-drop is often one of the most valuable tools we have. The content of a person’s character, their unique life story or accumulated wisdom, their needs–please, just give me a job title, an earnings statement, a list of references, and I’ll get back to you if everything checks out–if you’ll be useful to me.
This is sick, but it is sick like the common cold–everyone gets it and it is not that big of a deal.
In my life, though, I don’t want to treat it like the cold–take some fluids, rest a little, and shrug it off. No, I want to make it what it is: relational cancer. I want to go after it and cut if from my life. I want to value people–not because they can do something for me, but because they are valuable. I want to connect with people. I want to love them, not use them. I want to pray hidden motivation and selfish ambition from my life, and I want to live a life of genuine engagement.