Reunite. I hear this word and my mind bursts into a multitude of scenes I’ve witnessed before. The ecstatic airport greeting party. The soldier returning home. The foster child being placed with his mother again. The shameful shrug of a couple returning after an argument. The simple act of stepping in the doorway to family after a day away at work.
Each reunion is laced with something meaningful and possibly even renewing—yet at the same time, etched with a journey layered by potential separation, pain or disunity. Our hearts ache for reunification because we are meant to be at peace and in connection with God and community. Something about our souls feels barren when we lack closeness and unity with our Savior and our people.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. // Phil 2:1-2
Soon after my husband and I got married, some of our friends gave us a meaningful token of advice: always try to make returning home a beautiful reunion, and it will set the tone for the rest of your evening together. This reuniting sounds easy and dreamy and as simple as a welcoming hug; but it’s just as easily bypassed with a quick “hi,” and a returning to the tasks already underway.
When we, as a united married couple, have prioritized that very first step into the threshold of our front door, looked each other in the eyes and hugged like the long-awaited airport greeting party, we immediately set the tone for a more unified and intimate evening after a day of being physically separated. By giving each other this attention and devotion, we are saying, “you matter to me, I have missed experiencing your physical presence, and I care deeply about what you have walked through today.”
When we don’t prioritize this moment of the day, however, we can feel slighted, uncared for. We make assumptions that the other must be in a mood. If this simple connection opportunity is missed over and over again, or if intentional eye contact becomes a distant longing, it begins to create a wedge and a feeling of disconnectedness.
I recall unfortunately long periods of time that this same daily reunion in my relationship with God became a distracted, “Thanks! Hi, bye!” in an effort to simply coast in maintenance mode. I would begin to feel invincible. Comfortable. I wouldn’t realize it or be willing to admit it, but I’d casually think to myself, We’re good…right, God?
Before I knew it, I would be in the middle of what we often deem a dry season, or an extended time of feeling disconnected from God. All at once I’d realize that what I had been lazily maintaining was a stagnant collection of my own efforts and pride.
Where life and movement and revelation had previously been flourishing in connectedness with my Creator, I would feel stuck and disheartened at my lack of physical, spiritual and emotional thriving.
My earthly relationships would start feeling thwarted—my attitude leaning more quickly toward unfair assumptions, or even mistrust, as my unity with God and people was waning.
I wouldn’t hear the voice of the Spirit, because I wasn’t listening.
I wouldn’t discern the way of Jesus, because I wasn’t asking.
I wouldn’t see the love of the Father, because I wasn’t looking.
I wouldn’t experience the power of community, because I wasn’t trusting.
I’ve realized this: maintenance mode is the enemy of connectedness and reunion.
“Maintenance” stands stagnant and keeps things as they are—no movement forward or backward, no desire to break out of that mold or that belief. Maintenance desensitizes our expectations and our discernment. It pursues nothing but the same; no growth, no change.
Reunion, however, requires change.
It’s a turning toward. A returning to. An intentional movement to shift whatever separation or disunity has existed during the maintenance mode of a relational or cultural status quo.
We know when a reunion or a returning to the heart of God is necessary, but we also know it will require deep humility on our end. As such, we also understand the humility, the discomfort, the courage and the transparency it will take to turn toward our communities, our marriages, our severed relationships in an effort to unite and connect what has existed in separation. It will take intentionality and eye contact where there has been maintenance and avoidance. But when we become intentional, we begin to convey to one another, “you matter, your physical presence and contribution have been missing, and I care deeply about what you have walked through.”
The Father is already calling us back to himself. We are meant to be whole and united in heart as his children, but it first begins with our personal reconciliation with and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He wants us to know how much he desires our connection and our worship. God’s immediate desire and plan upon sin entering Eden was to reunite and bring wholeness—to bring the integrated peace of shalom—back to his creation.
We are his creation, meant to be full of life, movement, and connection. We are the airport greeting party. Reuniting our hearts and our minds with the compassionate and patient heart of God reminds us of our purpose in this intricate family of humanity. Let’s step out of a maintenance mindset and bring together what has spent far too much time apart.
Thanks for joining,
Jamie L. Robison