Found in Community
Who are your people? I've been asking myself that a lot lately. Yesterday I was rather bold about telling you about my recent failures. I also told you that I am crazy happy with all of this "failure." And I still am.
So let me start telling you about why I'm so joyful amid all the "mess."
A very important factor in my newfound joy is my community. And because I love contrast so much, let me take a minute to discuss the antithesis of community...
Ug, I despise that word these days. Truly. Doesn't it conjure images of a prisoner in a solitary confinement cell? Or a school kid in ISS sitting alone in a cubicle eating his or her lunch. For the past three years that word could have captioned almost any snapshot taken of me in my living room staring at my television - any night of the week.
Isolation is essentially hiding. Most days I did not even realize that I was hiding. I simply convinced myself that I was too tired, or too sad, or that because I'm an introvert I needed some down time at home by myself. I'm not dismissing the joy and necessity of times of solitude - certainly not. Quiet solitude and isolation are vastly different.
Times of solitude with the Lord are a necessary and vital part of spiritual growth. I think these times lead to discovery (aka being found). A person leaves such times renewed.
Isolation leads to loneliness and despair. Some of the enemy's best tools to thwarting growth.
As I started to let go of the things that were keeping me in hiding I began to discover my desperate need for community. I began contacting friends and family again. God brought to mind a host of people who were or would become my community. It was beautiful.
For one, I needed a place to stay. I'd just quit my job and still had a mortgage so renting seemed fairly irresponsible. So, I called my 82 year old aunt and she was thrilled to have me. This is my dad's sister and later he said "Holly, does she know you'll be bringing your cats?" Oops. You know what she said when he mentioned it to her??
"Well if Holly is coming of course the cats are coming." Precious.
I invited some girl friends from college to spend a weekend together at my aunt's cabin. Newer friends have invited me to spend some time with them this coming weekend. Coworkers from three years ago still have lunch every Thursday at a mall food court. I join them every chance I get. My family and I have taken day trips through the mountains. My dad is teaching me to fly fish (currently we are still practicing casting out in the backyard with the apple tree as the target).
My community is teaching me that life is not meant to be lived in isolation. I'm needed in this world. Because His life living and breathing in me is needed in this world, in my world - in my community. It doesn't matter that my life "looks" messy. Truth is people identify with the mess. Because all of us have some kind of mess. Being found just means you admit it and cease being afraid to share it.
Being found is causing me to be real. To be real with and in my community.
So who are your people? How do they "find" you? How do they keep you real?