Friday, September 12, 2014

Community


As a counselor, something I have been thinking about lately is the number of people I know who feel alone.  Whether it be due to a busy schedule, moving to a new place, changing seasons of life, or intentionally withdrawing from others, many people feel like they are lacking a deep sense of connection with the people around them.  Spending time alone is a healthy and necessary part of life; however, it can become unhealthy when a person spends so much time alone that they begin to feel lonely and isolated from others. 

Social isolation can lead to increased anxiety and depression.  If a person doesn’t have positive relationships in their life they miss out on having people to encourage them, to remind them when they’re not thinking clearly, or to lift them up when they’re feeling down.  They miss out on having people to celebrate with in times of happiness and to cry with in times of sadness.  Most of all, they miss out on having people to enjoy everyday life with. 

God did not create us to be alone.  He created us to be in community with other people: to laugh together, to eat meals together, and to support each other in reaching our goals.  To sit in hospital waiting rooms together when times of sickness come, to dance together at weddings, to wait on new babies to be born together, and to mourn together in times of loss.  To build each other up and to be better people because we know each other.  I am quite certain that friendship is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. 


I’m so thankful to have so many special people in my life:

We celebrate weddings...



...new babies...


...and even athletic endeavors. 


We drive great distances to see each other...


...and like each other because we want to and not just because we're sisters.


Finding community can be so difficult.  It’s intimidating, and it doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time, effort, and stepping out of our comfort zone.  Some ideas for connecting with others:

  •  Put effort into the friendships that you have! Be the one to initiate spending time together, take the time to meet for dinner even though you have other things you “should” be doing, call and text the friends that live out of town.  Take a break from your to do list and spend time maintaining friendships. 
  • Be a good friend.  Remember birthdays, help your friends when they need it, do the things you want people to do for you.  Be reliable, trustworthy, and a good listener. 
  • Take the time to make small connections, like learning the name of the girl who makes your coffee every day.  Small steps like these can make you feel more connected to your community. 
  • To meet new people, join a small group Bible study or Sunday school class.  It might sound clich√©, but it’s a great way to make connections.
  • Take a class, join a sports team, get involved in an organization, or volunteer your time.  These are great ways to meet people who share your interests.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks.  If you meet someone you get along well with, don’t be afraid to ask that person if they want to get coffee or have dinner with you.  Have a group of people over to your house.  It doesn’t matter if your home and your food aren’t fancy-fancy things typically make people nervous anyway.  
  • Pray for God to bring community into your life.  Seasons of loneliness are going to come for all of us, but God hears our prayers and knows our hearts.  He cares about the details of our lives. 

Doing these things can be scary and even a little awkward, but having people to share life with is worth the effort.  To my people: Thanks for walking with me through the best of times and the worst of times and choosing to like me anyway.  You make life the best.








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