Living in Community…Despite My Issues

I don’t need new friends.

I don’t want new friends.

I don’t even want to think about new friends.

I know, I am extrovert. I love people, and I get some of my best energy from those around me.

I’m also an only child.

I got used to being alone as a child.

I got used to doing things my way and being independent pretty early in life.

When I found my tribe, I was happy.

At the age of 45, that tribe is filled with absolutely amazing people.

They are totally amazing. From the college friends to sorority sisters to the people I befriended at the college where I began working at decades ago.

Again, they are amazing. All of them. And in all honesty, I don’t stay in touch with all of them as I should.

So on top of all of that, I don’t want to add to that group of already amazing people.

I don’t need new friends.

I don’t want new friends.

I don’t even want to think about new friends.

But God.

He commands us to love. He wants us to live in community. He knows we can’t do it alone.

And there’s that thing about doing life with other people. People. Doing life together when you’re hurt and broken and have trust issues. Doing life when you already have your people, and you do a horrible job of staying in touch with those people because life gets in the way.

But God, again. Sometimes he will place new people in our lives that we are meant to do life with. Because that’s what He wants us to do.

Even if we don’t want to.

It’s hard. It requires me to be vulnerable. Sometimes it makes me feel like throwing up.

And hyperventilating.

But when I take one step, the Holy Spirit whispers, “I’m here. Take two steps. Get to know her or him. Read Titus 2.”

Hyperventilation, again.

And then I’m reminded of Jesus, who loved and shared life and still found time to rest and be alone.

But God.

Who needs new friends when you can laugh like this? But God…

Despite my issues, I make the choice to live in community. Despite my issues, I love as much as I can. Despite my issues, I embrace the required vulnerability. The truth is simple, God commands it. He wants us all to love and live in community. I do it because I’m called to do it and #obedience. Am I sometimes hesitant? Absolutely. Do I sometimes wish He didn’t call me to this? Yep. So I pray, I put one foot in front of the other and then I do the next thing. Here’s how:

  1. I openly pray with and for other people. This helps. The people I pray for may be people I’ll never see again, but there’s a certain amount of love that only comes through prayer.
  2. I am transparent about my shortcomings.Those who are close to me know that we may go through an extended period of time without talking, especially if we live in different cities. They gladly meet me where I am on that.
  3. I read books that will intentionally challenge my current way of thinking. An open mind fosters an open heart. An open heart is willing to live in community.
  4. I’m open to new traditions. I’ve celebrated Lent my entire life. This year, not only did I celebrate Lent, I incorporated other fasting traditions….and it’s only March!
  5. I’ve transferred ownership of everything to God. He has it all. My Apple Watch. My phone. My laptop computer. My kids. My relationships. My career. You know, all these things really were His is the first place.
  6. There’s a new system of accountability in my life, and I’m intentional about it. Get the bag because this one makes me want to hyperventilate again. I used to cringe when someone would say to me, “I’ll hold you accountable to that.” Now, I embrace it. Is it hard? Yes. Do I regret it? Sometimes. Does it give God glory when I’m open and honest and do the things and live the way He wants me to do and live? ABSOLUTELY.
About two years ago I proclaimed, “No new friends.” Then I met this group in a class at church, and my life changed for the better.

How do you feel about your friendships – old and new?

 

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