The water is falling and the day long, but she gathers her things and goes anyway. Nothing is going to stop her this evening from joining the conversation. She drops her things, smiles hello to the others, and sits in a circle ready to engage in life-living. She is timid, yes, but it doesn't outweigh her motivation to be in community.
Earlier this week, she was gently uninvited to another gathering. The group was full, the lady in charge had said, hoping she wouldn't protest. Politely, she told the woman she understood. But, she couldn't help but wonder why there couldn't be room for just one more?
Mary, ready to birth Jesus, was told that the inn was full. Naomi bitterly asked Ruth to leave her alone. Sarah gave Hagar the boot and she wandered through the desert all by herself. I wonder how left out all of these women felt too?
When we feel left out, it is so easy to feel defeated.
Purchase my first book, Invited, and begin living a life of #connectionnotperfection.
That life isn't worth the effort and we are better off alone because at least then nobody can hurt our feelings as we eat half the can of Nutella. But, as sweet as the hazelnut spread is going down, it doesn't satisfy the need for belonging or replace the sweet feeling of friendship.
God gave us each other to be brothers and sisters in community with Christ. He wants us to obey his word as a unified group, not a solo artist. Francis Chan says, "While every individual needs to obey Jesus's call to follow, we cannot follow Jesus as individuals." He even goes as far to say:
It's impossible to follow Jesus alone.
God grabs us by his righteous right hand and he wants us to grab somebody else with the other. I get that groups get too big or personalities don't mesh but that still shouldn't stop us from inviting. We need to get back to the root of loving our neighbors and begin to invite again.
Because, don't you want to belong?
So many of us are scared. We don't like change and don't want someone messing up our group's mojo. We think opening up our group will be misinterpreted as a cattle call invitation and a herd of people will come like a Saturday afternoon buffet at Ryan's Steakhouse.
But, what if invitations were personal instead?
What if you picked someone out of the crowd that looks like she could be your friend one day?
What if, instead of you feeling left out of a group you started your own?
What if, when you felt lonely, you called your best friend and you both eat chocolate?
Purchase my first book, Invited and begin living a life of #connectionnotperfection.
It's easy to stop trying and sit at home by yourself. Really, I know. But, I can only watch so many episodes of Army Wives until I realize that the reason I love that show is because of their friendship. What about you? Do you crave laughter and story sharing and the look from another mother that says I need sleep too? Instead of reminiscing over the college years of getting ready to go out on the town, why don't we call each other and have a girls night this weekend? Now. In the present.
Being in community is something we are designed to do. God gave Mary the shepherds and wise men to visit after she birthed Jesus. He gave Ruth enough gumption to drag her mother-in-law to Naomi's homeland where Ruth knew no one but her. He sent an angel to rescue Hagar in the desert and said her son would be called Ishmael which means God hears.
God hears our soft cries against our pillows as we sit in our rooms alone. He hears our hearts break when we are turned away. He hears the sadness in our voice as we talk to friends of the past wishing we didn't now live so far away. He hears us sweet friends. He hears.
Life is too short to eat Nutella alone. Whatever season you are in, know that spring is coming and new friendships will begin to bloom. So, grab a chair, join a circle, invite others to be in yours.
Till next time, let your light shine!
*Multiply. Chan, Francis.
Do you ever feel like you are chasing perfection?
Perfection is passion, an ideal that makes us feel so strongly about the matters of our hearts that we act in ways that make us later feel shame and unworthiness, like we will never quite measure up. Passion doesn’t always lead to positive results. How can we pursue perfection without becoming undone?
In Invited, I share my personal struggles with perfection when I moved home and began to build community. My desire for perfection caused me to experience anxiety and I struggled with fear of missing out. Read more about how I managed to build a life of connection, not perfection here.