I’ve been talking about community over the past few weeks because it’s difficult for me. I had a strong community when I was younger, but once life became filled with kids and work and stress, I ignored the need for community. It’s easy to overlook. It’s difficult to return.
So, I’m gonna hit on a few questions, concerns, lies that I tell myself and what Truth really is.
I don’t need new friends.
This has been my truth for a long time. More than the difficulty that comes with female friends comes my own premonitions, issues, and obstacles. I’m introverted with people I don’t know, so I don’t try to make new friends. It’s awkward, I normally always feel stupid, and it’s terrifying. I have my friends! I have people! I would remind myself of that often, except my best friends are miles and hours away, and family can only serve my needs for a community up to a certain point. It’s not really about new friends or constantly meeting new people. It’s not about my introverted personality, because God doesn’t leave me ill-equipped for anything. It’s about knowing my need, my need for friendship with women who may or may not be dealing with the same kind of life stuff I am. It’s getting past my pride of believing that I don’t need anyone else.
What’s wrong with not having friends?
Nothing, maybe. For me? It’s lonely. My husband gets a glazed-over look on his face when I talk for long periods of time. It’s like that one study proved, how women use a million words and men use only 200 daily. Ladies, you know what I mean. We like to chat. We like to have face-to-face communication over coffee that lasts for maybe a few hours because it is nurturing to our soul. I don’t need dozens of women rallying over my time to meet over coffee. I don’t have enough time for that. But I do love to love on other women over chunks of time, talking about life & God. And I need it. I turn into a shell of a human when I lack the long conversations my sisters can bring.
Women are mean.
Well, ladies, whose fault is that? We’re not all mean, but we may have a great deal of barriers to overcome before we can courageously smile at someone. Some of us may have some serious weapons to put down. Painful pasts, betrayal, gossiping…it is unnerving to walk into a conversation without our weapons of choice, which can be anything from a glaring, closed-off posture to a facade of niceness. Our intentions are normally along the lines of, I want to carefully become friends with you because I am scared. And that’s okay. It’s difficult to put them away when we are constantly armed. But the reward for putting away our weapons, unhinging our shields could be miraculous.
It’s less about feeling, more about Jesus.
My feelings are legitimate, and as a female, I have loads of them, normally all at once. I cry often (although, I am pregnant), and I feel strongly. But Jeremiah is on point when he says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure”. My feelings can go haywire in a second, and I cannot trust that what I feel is truth. When my husband ignores me when I talk, I feel unloved. But y’all, that is not what my husband is trying to make me feel at all. Truth is, Jesus says to go and make disciples. Jesus says that loving our neighbors is the greatest commandment of all. Jesus says that where two or three gather in His name, He is with us. He doesn’t say, girlfriend, feel those feels and let them decide how you love others. The power of Truth is that it is stronger than anything else.
Community is easy to ignore. Easy to find useless when we are not in it. Hard to return to. Difficult to prioritize. And you feel it, all of your past inhibitions and pains, the weapons you carry, the shields you put up. I feel it too. Community, however, is holy. When two or three of us gather together in the name of Jesus, He will meet us there. He will meet us there. Your weapons are not useful. Your shields are only distractions. Your inhibitions are hindering. Meet Him there, sisters. Know that the risk is worth it.