It makes me feel uncomfortable inside, but recently, when I find myself without anyone to talk to at a gathering (like after church or at a social event), I walk over and just join another group.
It might seem silly, but for me, it’s always a little scary.
Joining groups I haven’t been invited to is hard for me. Sometimes it gives me butterflies in my stomach – but not the good kind.
Now, maybe you’re an extrovert like my dear friend Jessica and walking up and joining a group is no biggie for you. That woman has never met a stranger. She is so good at introducing herself and making friends FAST.
Jessica is good at community. She’s good at creating community. She thrives in community.
Me? If I’m being honest, sometimes I struggle at it. I worry that I’ll say the wrong thing, or not think of anything to say at all. Worst of all, I worry I won’t be wanted. And that’s the hard to swallow, makes you feel awkward truth: we can fear rejection at any age.
So, sometimes to avoid rejection, we don’t attempt to create or participate in community at all. We cut rejection off at the pass, thinking we’re safer that way.
But here’s the thing. We’re not safer alone. In fact, isolation is a tactic of the enemy. He doesn’t want you connected to, in community with, or experience fellowship together with other believers.
Because the enemy doesn’t want you to know who you belong to. He doesn’t want you living in godly community because it will help you to resist the temptations he puts before you.
We are made for community. We are made to thrive in community. We are made in God’s image and God by his very nature exists in community, as the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
He exists eternally, outside of time and space in unity – one God existing in three persons.
“In the beginning was the Word,John 1:1
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”
Last week, I told you about the guy on the plane who opened his Bible (instead of his lunch) and I shared how critical Scripture is to the discipline of abiding in Christ.
I could not have written a better story, than the one God wrote about this next way to abide in Christ: community.
At the women’s retreat I attended in September in the mountains of East Tennessee, the Lord was gracious to bless my experience with sweet fellowship and the development of what I believe will be lifelong friendships. He gave me an experience of community that filled my spirit with such joy and reminded me of the need to intentionally engage in community… and then He gave me an opportunity to live it out. Literally.
After the retreat ended, the day I was supposed to fly home, I spent 10+ hours in the Knoxville airport trying to get back to the West Coast. Between 5:15am and 4:15pm I was booked on three different itineraries and they all fell through. It could have been a really frustrating experience… but the Lord covered me with so much peace (and patience).
After the third set of flights didn’t work out I finally asked the gate agent if she could rebook me out of Nashville for the following day? Turns out, that was actually my best option… unless I wanted to wait another 24 hours in Knoxville.
So I rented a car and made the 3.5 hour drive to my new friend Monika’s house in Columbia, Tennessee.
[If you look at that group photo, I’m sitting on the ground, in the middle of the first row, with my legs crossed (white shoes). Sitting to my right (your left) is Monika.]
By the time the retreat was over we felt like we’d known each other for years. Last Saturday as we were saying our goodbyes, she told me I was always welcome to stay with her anytime I was in Nashville.
She didn’t realize I’d be taking her up on the offer just four days later.
At 9pm Tuesday night, Monika and her husband welcomed me, a worn and weary traveler, into their home with only a few hours notice. They were a safe and restful place to land after hours of flight delays and hours of driving. And I hadn’t even known Monika a week! And yet it’s like I’ve known her forever.
Because we’re part of the Body of Christ. Just like your right hand is connected to your arm, which is connected to your torso, which is connected to your left leg, which is connected to your left foot. Your right hand might not spend a lot of time by your left foot… but they know each other. They’re connected. They thrive when they work together.
Being in community with your brothers and sisters in Christ doesn’t always look like retreats in the mountains or text messages asking for a place to sleep. But it does look like spending time in fellowship. It does look like serving together. It does look like walking up and joining a group you haven’t been invited to… even if it makes you feel all queasy inside.
When we are truly part of the same body, we recognize each other.
Community isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes, it’s very very hard. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes we hurt feelings.
But, we are designed to live in community. In fellowship with the Body of Christ. And when we get intentional about gathering with other believers it helps us to abide in Him. To actively stay connected to Jesus.
I know connecting can be hard. I know it can be scary, wondering if another person will reciprocate when you reach out. But we have to be willing to take the first step and we have to be willing to invite other believers into the group.
Praying you will genuinely seek connection and intentional community with other believers. It will bless you and them!
The 40 Days of Scripture Challenge is kicking off on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 and will conclude on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023. This free 40-day challenge is an opportunity for you to kickstart a daily, diligent and disciplined study of God’s Word. Maybe you’ve always wanted to study the Bible, but haven’t known where […]
Memorizing scripture has been a conviction of my heart from the Holy Spirit lately. I don’t know about you, but these last few days since the brutal attack on Israel by Hamas on the morning of October 7, 2023, my heart has been heavy. The stories of what is happening in Israel are nothing short […]
It makes me feel uncomfortable inside, but recently, when I find myself without anyone to talk to at a gathering (like after church or at a social event), I walk over and just join another group. It might seem silly, but for me, it’s always a little scary. Joining groups I haven’t been invited to […]
So this guy pulls out a Bible on a plane… It sounds like the start of a joke right? Except, it wasn’t a joke. In late September I headed out on an adventure from the mountains of far Northern California to the mountains of East Tennessee for a Christian women’s retreat for writers, podcasters and […]
Encouragement for the Day Ahead
Words of encouragement, inspiration and biblical truth to move you closer to Jesus
JOIN LIZ'S EMAIL LIST
OPT OUT AT ANY TIME
EMAIL FREQUENCY IS TYPICALLY ONCE PER WEEK, DELIVERED ON WEDNESDAY MORNINGS