I’m feeling a little better after the last blog post I wrote. I’m still leary of the changes coming my way, but I am encouraged by the community I have around me (though some of that community might be changing soon) and knowing that the God I serve is constant. He is my rock and foundation and I know I can rest in Him.
Today I spent a full day of work at the office and came home to Bible study with our small group from church. The night was a little crazy. Sweet Pea didn’t do too well tonight, but, even in the chaos, I was encouraged by the people God has placed around us.
I had a friend come and babysit for us tonight during group. Though Sweet Pea didn’t behave how I expected tonight, causing me to go help our my friend watch her during group, I was able to think on and realize how much I had been encouraged today.
#1 Unexpected Quality Time. I was encouraged by the time I got to spend there with my friend and my little girl. Time to catch up and talk that we don’t usually get in the office (We work together so I usually see her once a week, if not more since we go to the same church).
#2 Prayer. There’s something about praying with other people and having them pray over you that is so uplifting. I felt encouraged and at peace tonight as we prayed together.
#3 God’s Presence. God is with me. I felt that so much tonight and I think it was, in large part, because of the people around me. Others who love God and His Word and enjoy studying it together and lifting each other up through encouragement.
No matter how many changes are coming our way, new friendships and friendships that I may have to let go of for a time, God is always with me.
#4 Coworkers. I was encouraged by my coworkers and the love they show me. Though work can be difficult and tiresome and I sure do miss my LO when I spend an entire day at the office, I was encouraged as I reflected on the friendships I’ve been able to make at my company and the amazing people God has surrounded me with there.
#5 Old Friendships that Have Stood the Test of Time and Distance. I was encouraged today by getting to talk to some friends I don’t get to see much.
- One lives far away, but hearing her voice tonight was such a help to me.
- Another lives kind of far (but in the same city [It’s a big city!]) but we made plans to hang out together this week, which I’m so excited about!
- Another has recently moved closer and we also made plans to hang out this week.
#6 Marriage. Finally, my husband has been an encouragement to me. He happily spent a long weekend visiting my family for Easter this weekend though we had a rocky trip there and back with our LO in the car. He has also encouraged me this week by giving me time to get my work done and watching him take care of our little girl.
I know not everyone has community like this, but there are so many people around you. There are people out there with the same beliefs (find a church home and get plugged in!), people out there with the same interests (cities and towns usually have sports leagues that get together if you’re into that or bowling leagues [I’m not ashamed!]), people in the same business industry as you (Listen to my SIL’s podcast about networking!), people in the same life stage as you (Have small kids? Could you meet other families in your neighborhood or at the park?).
Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting people isn’t always easy, but it can be so rewarding when you do. Taking the time to reconnect with old friends can seem awkward and maybe time-consuming.
But when you find yourself discouraged, feeling alone, needing help, community is a tool God uses to build us up and help us keep going. You might struggle to feel like you don’t fit in. Maybe you jump into a friend group that has already been established. I did that in college, and it was hard at times, but staying involved and hanging around helped me meet some of my best friends who have been amazing encouragers to me. I live in a different city (and state) from most of them now, but I’ve been able to stay connected, even if not for a 10-minute phone conversation one day after work or a text message I send telling them I’m thinking about them or what’s been going on in my life lately.
Find your community and you’ll find some support. And when you’re feeling down or discouraged, you’ll be surprised by what community can offer.
Don’t Make Community Bigger Than It Is
I have to be careful to not make my community my idol though. I have to learn to turn to God first when I have to make hard decisions or am in a season of difficulty and not immediately run to others when God is who I need. A great thing about the community I have though is that they are quick to point me back to God when they know I need Him and His guidance.
A good community knows what you need. It may take a while to establish one, but it will be worth it in the end, so don’t give up!
Also keep in mind that to have friends, you have to be a friend. It goes both ways. Be careful not to find a community and take all that it has to give without giving anything in return. That’s not how community works.