There are so many things standing in the way of developing a community. Here are some excuses in no particular order.
1. I am an introvert, people are draining to me after long periods.
2. I homeschool so my days are filled with lesson plans, constant questions, diaper changes, snack times, and exhaustion. Basically the definition of long periods.
3. My house is messy because there are three children here with books and papers and poopy diapers and crumbs, so many crumbs. I don’t want people to see the stack of dishes, the trail of graham cracker crumbs on the carpet or the layer of dust resting comfortably on every available surface. I love a clean house, and I don’t mind cleaning, but it never stays clean for long. And it’s in this state that the house usually exists, semi-messy, non-company ready. If you don’t see my house you may think I have it all together. I don’t but it’s a nice fantasy.
4. I am tired. I am busy. I have a blog. I run a business. I stay up way too late. My to-do list never gets shorter. I don’t have time.
5. I am content to be alone for long periods of time. Of course this is all in theory, since I usually have trouble getting a minute alone just to pee.
6. I don’t enjoy superficial talks or chit-chat but I love to sit and hear your story or share my heart. But usually you have to chit-chat a bit first and I am introverted so that part makes me feel like I’m in middle school. I know, I have issues.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy people because I truly do, I just don’t need that much interaction to feel fulfilled.
I am fiercely loyal to those who have endured and pursued me long enough to have our stories intertwine.
And yet, I haven’t been able to shake this conviction that I am called to pursue relationships and community to a greater degree than ever before.
I wrote in January of my commitment to pursuing relationships and made several personal goals in that regard. And as the months have gone by and very few of those goals have been met, some because of illness in our family or scheduling conflicts, I’ve reasoned that the only one missing out on the blessings of community was me. And I honestly didn’t feel a great need. I just felt God telling me that I needed to do it.
And then it hit me. I’ve had it all wrong. I have been so self-focused thinking that community and relationships were something I was supposed to pursue to fill a need in me. All I could see was how God was going to use community to heal my hurts and surround me with people who would encourage and challenge me. And sure, I’d encourage them too , but really I was thinking about how new relationships would affect my life and happiness. And since I was already content with my current relationships, the motivation had been lacking. Plus, I have at least 6 really good excuses. Or kind of good excuses, sorta.
But maybe this isn’t all about me. Maybe I feel called because I am supposed to be a friend to someone else? Maybe that conviction to form community isn’t even about me , it’s about someone who needs a place to come and breathe and share their story and be heard. Maybe it’s about meeting a need instead of ignoring it because it’s not an obvious need in me now.
Maybe it’s about dying to my own selfishness and busy schedule and making room to allow God to use me, even if it’s just in the opening of my home. Maybe it’s offering my time and my heart to someone who needs it in hopes that a true community will be formed in the sharing of our stories, our lives, our hearts.
Maybe we all need each other whether we know it or not? Whether we like it or not.
Maybe we are called to be light and what good is light if there were nothing nearby to illuminate?
Maybe I just didn’t get it until now.
So, I am stepping out of my normal comfort zone. I am hosting an inRL meetup . It’s a girl’s night of sorts and I can promise treats and a mostly clean home.
There are meetups happening in 443 locations around the world so look it up and register for one in your area.
It’s guaranteed that God is on the move in the hearts of women, and if you’re in my area, please sign up because we will have chocolate and I am going to vacuüm my floors, and possibly dust things, don’t leave me hanging.
(in)RL, stands for In Real Life. It’s a way to connect with women in your community right where you’re at.
Sign up for a local meet-up, and on April 27, you’ll watch a kickoff webcast from your own home. Then the next day, April 28, you’ll gather at a local (in)RL community. You’ll watch live online content by the women at (in)Courage, eat a ton of treats, get to know some new friends and begin to build an authentic community. Consider it an intimate conference that you can attend from a comfy couch with new and old friends.
It’s only $10, which covers the cost of a t-shirt and a pack of beautiful Dayspring greeting cards.
Watch this video below to learn more. I hope you connect, because even if you’re not sure, someone could use your friendship.