I can be a very task-oriented person. I love words, facts, ideas. As a result, I’m a good communicator, a strong writer. But because of those strengths, I can end up, if I’m not careful, lonely, isolated.
This summer I have two huge writing projects on my desk. And I’m working away on them (which is one reason why you haven’t seen much from me on this blog lately). But I try to take time in each day for some face time (not just Facebook) with friends, my kids and husband. I need to connect with real people in my real life, to talk, to listen, to do things together.
So I took my kids to the city to go out to breakfast and then to visit Willow’s Chicago campus. I went bike riding with friends, had lunch with another friend. We were created for community, and while I value the on-line community I find on certain blogs and Facebook, we all need actual face to face connection with other people.
How do you connect with others? How do you find friends?
Next week, I’ll meet with a writer’s group I recently joined. I actually sort of begged to get in, knowing I need other writers to talk to–people who assure me I’m not so strange. We chat via email a lot, sharing updates about our writing and careers, sharing links to stuff we’ve published online, and so on. While that’s fun, it’s not as deep as what gets shared when we gather in someone’s living room after the kids are in bed and talk about the challenges and joys of our writing journey.
We were all made for community. If we are seeking to follow Christ, we need others who can encourage us on that journey. We were never made to go it alone, especially spiritually. What I want to know is–where do you find community and connection? If that’s missing from your life, what’s one step you could take to seek it out?
Everyone is so busy, their schedules so FULL, it makes it difficult to “connect.” And, the thought of planning one more “thing” sends most of us over the edge! But…that old adage is true: “if you want to make a friend, be a friend.” Sometimes, you have to “create” opportunities to connect. Pursue friendships. The other night, I invited four couples to our home. They each brought food to share. Our kids played outside and we sat inside talking (in between the occasional raising of kids), laughed and just hung out together. No agenda. No schedules. Spur of the moment idea and everyone had a great time re-connecting.
I share some of your ‘temptations’ Keri. I have two support groups and was with one of them yesterday – for those who care for missionaries. It’s good to talk over issues we have in common, to learn from some very wise people, and be with those who speak the same language. Also good to be with those who strecth me spiritually as well.
Another group I belong to is for men in ministry. There we can think aloud, share our joys and sorrows, have a good laugh, and pray for one another. I love both groups and try to keep them as a priority.
But I would love to belong to a writer’s group. I’m not aware of anything like that in the UK.
I think you do a great job, by the way, of giving yourself to your family, to keeping fit etc. I don’t know how you manage to fit it all in! That’s just my impression form your facebook page!
Thanks for your comments Mary and Tony!
This is definitely an area that takes constant shifting in order to keep things balanced. I’ve come to a place where I have found friends I can trust, and I actually need them. That requires relational risk-taking, but the risk is worth it.
First, I would like to say that I truly enjoyed your book Breathe. I read it a few years ago and passed it on! I find it hard to make real friends in today’s society. I grew up in an urban area and have lived in a rural area for eight years now. It is easier to connect with people in the country. They are friendlier! I find that I have a lot of acquaintances from different areas of my life and my young children’s life, but few real friends. I find that most people are too busy and too scheduled. I try very hard to live day to day with my family. People do need to see other people in person!
By nature, I am also task-oriented. Over the years through teaching and ministry, I have grown so much in valuing and creating ways to be part of community that has stretched me to appear to be more people-oriented that I naturally am. It seems to me that the best avenue is to find people of like interests. I prefer to do that more one on one. I have several men that we get together over breakfast/lunch, just the two of us, and just catch up. The things I have in common with them are either hobby related or ministry related.
I am a runner. I prefer to run alone, not in groups. However, over the last few months, I have extended myself to run with 2 weekly groups. This is proving very valuable in community. I am seeing that my place in these groups is more of a mentor/coach than anything else. This has given me a reason to show up, if you know what I mean. Otherwise, I don’t think I would see the point of doing it. Reaching out, forcing myself to do something for the sake of others is illustrating exactly what community should be about. My role gives me purpose, and the result is a vibrant community that is benefitting everyone involved.
John, thanks for your comment. I, too, enjoy one-on-one time for building community. I think that can be a way to build those deeper friendships that Dawn was saying she was looking for. And doing something together, like running, is also great. It’s a less pressured way to spend time together.