Community is hard for me because I’m an introvert. Painful even. I prefer the solitude of my garden, playing with my dogs, and loving on my husband and kids. I love long, quiet solitary walks. And books — oh, can I get lost in a book.
FOMO is not a thing to me because I can get so stuck in my own little world and putter around happily. If I look at other people’s Insta stories and pics of endless social fêtes and tailgates, it just looks exhausting to me.
During the COVID lockdown back in spring, some of my more extroverted friends and family had a rough time away from others, and I just didn’t get it. I mean, I’ve prepared my whole life for this! It’s pretty easy for me to unplug from society and others for a really long time and be OK with it.
Sadly, I can easily believe the lie that I don’t need people and that they don’t really need me. But, the truth is God calls us specifically into community with other believers, and that’s where I must push myself out of my comfort zone.
Fellow introverts: community doesn’t have to be a horrible thing. We need each other.
Find your people.
“When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory, so that it will be remembered”” (Exodus 17:11).
This is a beautiful biblical account of community support right here. Moses was exhausted and he got by with a little help from his friends. God brings this vivid image of community to mind when I’m tempted to check out.
My family once fought our own horrific battle, but we didn’t fight it alone. Almost unexpectedly, we lost our youngest daughter about five years ago. During that time, my moms’ group, our church, our family and my school community wrapped itself around us. They took care of our physical needs: meal trains, fun school lunches and treats packed for our kids, essentials stocked in our pantry, carpool, you name it. God also used them to tend to our emotional and spiritual needs when we were running on empty. They held up our arms when we were weary.
It’s this painful experience that reminds me to press in with people when I want to flee to the comfort of my home.
God specifically calls us into relationships with others. It’s not a matter of preference or personality, enneagram, time or schedule constraints … it’s a matter of obedience.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Finding your own people doesn’t mean you have to have 20 different friends. At a big church, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Don’t do that! From my own experience, plugging into a small group, a moms’ group, or even trying out a Soul Care class or volunteering gives you plenty of opportunities to get to know at least one other person you click with … and give and get relationship and encouragement back!
It’s in these authentic relationships with others that we are held accountable and find real growth in our walk with Christ. It’s been my close friends who have talked me off ledges, who’ve prayed with and for me, and who were there when I needed them most. Most of all, they’ve pointed me to God when I couldn’t find Him on my own. These are my people. My community.
Even the strongest arms will fail.
Who can you lift up?