In 2003, I moved away from home and into an apartment with two to three college roommates. We studied, sure– we went to class, but we lived life together. We shopped and cooked and ate together like a little family most nights. We made birthday cakes for the boys down the sidewalk in exchange for them looking out for us and our cars. We took trips to the Farmer’s Market, the Duke Gardens and the Mall.
Definitely the Mall.
We had all kinds of community. Not just because we studied Church History over Chicken Enchiladas, but because we were REAL with each other. I remember the first time one of them called me out on something I was doing. It was awkward and I did not know how to process it. But it was the love that shook me out of my pity party. She cared enough for me to risk the awkwardness. She was right at the time and now, nearly ten years later, I would do anything for either one of them.
When we first moved here nearly four years ago, I was happy to be a hermit. Most of my daytime words were spent on an 18 month old (who happens to be a chatterbox, now– so there you go.) and my usual Publix cashier. The experience of moving to a new city where my only “people” lived in the same 2 bedroom home was a bit shocking for this social girl.
God pushed us quite clearly into the arms of an amazing small group and it changed us completely. I wrote about the difficulty of moving and the joy of stepping out and finding that community here.
And then around the same time I wrote that in March, the landscape of our community changed again.
Our job and small group situation had to alter a bit and I found myself with a front door that wasn’t opening quite as much. More quiet. Less busyness. Less community.
And I felt it, all over again. Tentative. Wanting to Hermit-tize and just focus on what was inside these four little walls. Focus on what I knew. On what was easy and familiar.
But even in the change, even when all familiarity is taken away and we find ourselves “the new kid,” there is reason to be REAL.
The look of community may change as our circumstances change, but our need for it does not.
We were made for community. God made us to be in fellowship with each other and with Him.
When we hide inside all that is familiar in a desperate need to stay comfortable, we miss out. Period.
We miss out on the closeness. We miss out on bearing the burden. We miss out on growing in life together. We miss out on one of the main elements of our design.
Can I encourage you today? Take down a few walls. If you’re struggling, tell someone who cares for you. Admitting your need is braver than trying to handle it alone.
Instead of waking up and slapping on the “cope” face– be okay with not being okay.
And can I just say, if you think you are the only one that feels alone– you aren’t. I have been there. I have been at that conference, at that Mom’s meeting, at that playdate, at that new small group– where all I could do was habitually adjust my outfit and try not to make eye contact with anyone in hopes that someone would approach me.
We all want someone to reach out to us– sometimes the best way to find a community is to start by building it.
Open the door.