As we get older, we get comfortable in our lives. Sometimes, we get a little too comfortable. I’ve seen this often play out in friendships. We get caught up in the busyness of our lives. We become intimidated to connect with new people. We easily let fear or disillusionment about community take over.
Honestly, I tend to be someone who likes to make new friends despite being a loner. I have tons of friend circles, both online and off. Community is totally my JAM! But not everyone is like me and that’s okay.
I have a friend, who is around my age, but hardly has any other friends. She spends the majority of her time with her mom and 3 older kids. Most of the friends she talks about are high school friends or friends that she made in her early 20s. Despite speaking about all of them, she never spends time with them. She occasionally attends the church that I belong to, but she isn’t connected there. She is not a part of a gym or an clubs or organizations. When I have found myself in hard seasons, my friends hear from God and meet whatever need I am facing. She has told me many times that she envies that and wishes she had friends like mine.
It makes me sad to watch her miss out on ALL of the beauty of community. There is so much flourishing that God wants to do in her, if only she’d open up to His Body around her.
And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Don’t be afraid to step out.
A recent new friend of mine named Esther did something most people don’t do. A few months ago she and her husband moved to Baton Rouge. They attended a church service where they stood a few seats ahead of me. During worship, I was singing and praising God in my normal way. After worship, she introduced herself to me and told me she loved my voice. I immediately liked her and asked her if she wanted to grab coffee. That week we met and had the best conversation!
She was new and overwhelmed with all the strangers and yet, she knew she needed community in this new environment. She fought against fear and insecurity and the risk of rejection. She took a step out of the boat and she walked on water. Now, she is connected to an amazing group of women.
She knew and we need to know that God will meet us in the midst of and on the other side of our risk.
Remember that you have something to offer.
Esther is an encourager. She is one of those people that you want to share good news with. She is the best kind of cheerleader. I never would have experienced that if she had never introduced her herself to me. She and her husband are also now plugged into the church and stepping into leadership.
We are beloved daughters of a loving Father. He has carefully crafted and shaped us from the inside out. Every single one of us has unique gifts, skills, and talents. God didn’t give us those to hide them away. We are to offer them generously to the Church for encouragement and to the world to show Christ’s love. When we do, we build His Kingdom, further the Gospel and give Him endless glory.
Each of us carries something that only we were created to offer to those around us.
God’s heartbeat is for connection.
This will forever and always be true of God. In the Garden of Eden, He walked with Adam in the cool of the day. He spoke with Him. He loved Him. He wanted to be with Him even knowing that the fall was coming.
On this side of the cross, God is still making a way for us to be with Him through Jesus, and through His children. We are the representation of Christ on the earth. We house His Spirit and carry His love.
He never wants us to live alone, lonely, and isolated. I’ve experienced His heartbeat in the sweetest of ways. He has connected me with some of my dearest friends. They have laughed with me, cried with me, prayed with me, rejoiced with me, and celebrated me. I can honestly say that I am loved and valued by my community. It is answered prayer and joy to my soul.
Do you find it difficult to make new friends and find true community? I’d love to pray for you!