This week, I wanted to shift gears, take a break from our 10 Leadership Principles (you can catch up here), and share a fantastic podcast I recently heard by Simon Sinek and Marissa Meizz on his podcast “A bit of Optimism.”
I’ve been a fan of this podcast for a while, and it’s 100% worth checking out, but I was caught off guard by a recent episode called “No More Lonely Friends with Marissa Meizz.” Marissa started a movement called No More Lonely Friends, and it started out of an experience we have all had at some point in time, being left out.
As I listened to the podcast, I was struck with how similar Marissa’s story was to the ones I heard time and time again as a Youth pastor. I’ve had almost countless kids, students and young adults that on the outside seemed popular, had a ton of friends and were living the good life, only to find out they were incredibly lonely. On top of that, the last two years of Covid had magnified the problem a thousandfold.
Talking with Pastors and church leaders, we all seem to understand what’s going on but struggle to find a solution. But Marissa found a solution, and it’s so simple and yet so profound. Marissa just started being intentional about bringing people together with no strings attached, that’s it… that’s the big plan. There is no agenda or bait and switch and surprise; it’s working.
The question I had is, why is it working? And I think it goes back to an old fundamental for me. I have always believed everyone desires to “love and be loved.” It’s hardwired into who we are because God created us to be known and loved. Sin has warped that reality and tells us the lie that we need to “go it alone.” We start to believe that being lonely is better because it’s safer, and to feel safe is the goal. But that’s not how we were designed, and Marissa’s story and organization are a great example of that.
This podcast stuck a chord with me, though, because I was forced to ask myself a single question, and it’s the question I want to leave you with as well.