I had a job, even had fun hobbies and a great group of good friends that I got to see on a fairly regular basis.
But where was my community?
At the beginning of last year, I was at a place in my life where I wasn’t exactly certain about what I was doing. Or really even sure about who my people were. Hello, young adulthood, am I right?
I wasn’t certain I knew where I was going, who I was or what I wanted. Granted, I still have like 75% more of all that to figure out, but let’s just say I was in a much different place than I am now.
It was in January that I decided that I would start going back to church regularly and that I was going to go out there and meet new people.
And well, it didn’t exactly pan out the way I’d hoped.
I was determined to try new things and put myself in new situations and experiences. For example, yoga became a tri-weekly endeavor, basically taking over my free time and social calendar. So much so, that I would skip church to make sure I got a good spot for me and my mat at a 10am class. MeetUps were my new social ground. I wanted to try everything from weekly hiking groups to improv acting classes. And I did these some of those things for a while but ultimately, I still didn’t feel like any of these places were where I needed to be.
In truth, there was no community to be found among any of those things.
“What I realize now that I didn’t know then was that, it’s hard to find what you don’t know you’re looking for.”
And I truly didn’t know what it was that I was searching for – that is, until God showed me. At the beginning of last year, amidst the busyness, a word that continued to pop up in my everyday life was community. I didn’t know what that meant, or what it even looked like.
All I knew was that it was something that I wanted to find.
But with everything I was trying so hard to do in order to fill this mysterious, ever-present void in my life, I didn’t know where to look. By God’s grace, that answer came in the form of a…MeetUp (go figure!).
After a few weeks of trying (and failing) to feel a sense of community among the myriad of activities I was trying to incorporate into my life, I started going back to church regularly each Sunday. I made a concerted effort to wake up and just go, no matter how I was feeling or even if I had to go it alone.
Most churches insist that the best way to get plugged in is through joining a Life Group (or small group), where there would be weekly meetings and Bible studies. Only problem was, I didn’t really feel like any of the Bible studies were for me. Not to say that there was anything intrinsically wrong with them, it’s just that they didn’t feel right. So, I decided to look for a Bible study MeetUp near my job to see if there would be a way for me to go during the week.
After all, what did I have to lose?
A few MeetUps came up through my initial search, but one in particular caught my eye. I followed the link to the group’s website and started reading their values and What We Believe statement. Unbeknownst to me, God was about to move in a way I never could have expected.
I attended the study for the first time in either late-January or early-February (about 1 year ago). I was greeted warmly and welcomed with open arms. But truthfully, I was disappointed when I didn’t have that immediate feeling of belonging and closeness that I’d hoped I would feel when I got there. And I wondered why.
Despite this confusion, I couldn’t help but think that this was where I needed to be. No matter how…out of place I felt. I asked myself, why Lord do you keep nudging me in this direction? And why didn’t I feel that immediate sense of you are ‘meant to be’ here? Isn’t that what ‘community’ is all about?
Long story, short:
His plans are far greater than mine, and He sees the bigger picture – that’s why.His plans are far greater than mine, and He sees the bigger picture. Click To Tweet
And His answer didn’t come right away. In fact, He didn’t respond to that question at all in those first few months. But looking back, I can tell you without a doubt that He was working.
It’s been about one year since I joined the Bible study and I have never felt more at home. It took some time, as do most relationship building experiences, but through the study I have found a sort of refuge. I found a place of safety and shelter amidst life’s storms. It’s been a place where I can go to hear of God’s faithfulness in the lives of my friends. And a place where I can share my own struggles and faith victories with them. It’s a place where I can receive counsel, teaching and sound advice. It’s also been a place where God has met me personally. He tends to do that within community, I’m finding.
So, do you even really need community?
Yes. Yes, you do.
It might take a while to find it or for it to feel like home, but you will find it.
God is faithful to provide and He does so, abundantly.