We Were Made For Community
I attended the same small school from Kindergarten until graduation. I was very comfortable in my surroundings, which gave me a false sense of security in social settings. I left for college 800 miles away and discovered that I was painfully introverted. I had to give myself a 30 minute pep talk to go outside my dorm room door where I could hear the other college freshmen discussing dinner plans. While I did have friends, I had a much more isolated existence and it was a very lonely period in my life.
Fast forward several years: I had a great group of fellow newly wedded friends and was comfortable in my job. I had found a good rhythm for my introversion. Then one day my husband comes home and asks how I would feel if he entered the military. That is a story for another day, but my greatest reservation was about relocating often and having to continually start the friend search.
Practice makes perfect, right? I forced myself to go out and make small talk: at the park, at the church, and at monthly coffees. Fake it till you make it, right? I would pretend to be outgoing and confident, but then would go home an anxious mess over what I could have done better and how sweaty I got out of nerves! BUT “with great risk comes great reward” (Thomas Jefferson). I made some of the most wonderful friends. Life is so much richer when there’s someone to share it. We were made for community.
So here we are again, – brand new city and state and seeking new community. Practice really does make perfect, because I no longer have to give myself pep talks or stress over my sweat levels. But a new difficulty arose. Time. I would mention a play date or grabbing coffee and never follow up. I would say we should catch up on the phone and never make the call.
This year I am trying to be more purposeful in my relationships. This is one of the great blessings of social media. There are so many ways to stay connected while many miles apart. With old friends, I don’t want to just like photos. I want to know and pray over their triumphs and struggles so that I can walk beside them in spirit just like I used to walk beside them with our strollers. With new friends, I hope to lean in deep and wide. I hope to be open and honest, accepting and available.
Lastly, I have learned the great value of online community. You may have difficulty finding “your people,” true kindred spirits who just get you. This is another great blessing of social media. I have connected with some new friends who motivate me in my walk with Christ, who spread their positivity and joy so freely, and who encourage me with their stories. Several times God has been teaching me something and I’ll see that these ladies have been learning similar lessons. God is in the community building business. He created us and we were made for community.
So for Follow Friday, check out these lovely ladies on Instagram and I hope you are as blessed by them as a I have been.
So the past couple weeks I’ve shared my goals for my focus, my Quiet Time with God, my finances, and my health for this year. My fourth goal is to be more present for my community, near and far. “Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings” -Miles Franklin. If you need someone to tell it to, I am here. I am listening.
How do you stay in contact with long-distance friends and family? How do you maintain quality friendships when life gets busy?