Most people that know me won’t believe this, but I love to be alone. Not all the time, but if I don’t spend some time with myself I don’t really feel energized to be around other people.
But this amount of alone time during COVID-19 isn’t exactly what I meant by the fact that I craved more time for myself. It’s been hard for you, me, your neighbor, your co-workers… everyone.
What I think we’re starting to see is that at our core, we crave human interaction. Not over Zoom or FaceTime, but true face-to-face interaction. That’s the way God wired us.
But even before COVID-19 happened, I had been struggling a little bit. It’s hard to get plugged in to a place when you have class 6-9 pm every weekday night. Every Bible study, dinner, happy hour takes place during the times I have class.
And I’m not complaining (well, maybe I am just a little bit), but being quarantined for months with truly little human interaction made me realize how important community is and why God desires us to invest in a community of believers.
A couple weeks ago, a few girls invited me to go to a cookout with them. We’ve only hung out a few times, but these girls are the kind of people I want in my corner in Nashville. I can just tell that by the way I see Jesus in them. Anyway, we go to the cookout and there are lots of people there. And this is just a normal day for this friend group. I can tell they’re close, and that hangouts like this happen often. It made me miss Auburn just a little bit.
My senior year, I lived in a house with 6 girls. In a 3 bedroom, 2 bath. Our house was maybe 1500 square feet. So we were crammed in our house. There wasn’t a moment of solitude which was crazy, fun, and hard to explain to anyone else.
Even when my roommates weren’t home random friends would be in our house. On many occasions I came home to none of my roommates home, but some of our friends over anyway watching TV or just hanging. We were bad about locking our doors. (Sorry Mom!)
So it’s felt like I’ve gone from one extreme to another. Where’s the balance in community and better yet how do I find it in an unfamiliar city?
Last summer, my church in Auburn did a fast and I gave up social media and prayed for 5 things. One being community in Nashville. And maybe so far it sounds to you like I’ve got 0 friends in Nashville which is the opposite of true. I’ve found gems of friends in my roommates, baristas at my favorite coffee shops (that’s you, Trina!), in my program, etc. But it takes time to build friendships and to find a group of people that are your people.
People that encourage you in your faith and hold you accountable and talk about hard things. It takes time, I keep reminding myself. And I see glimpses of what God has to offer for me when it comes to community and I know this time has been sacred, especially in quarantine.
I’ve said it before, but this time it’s different: solitude with Jesus is what I needed to once again remind, convince and convict myself that nothing satisfies like He does.
Sitting at that cookout I soaked up a moment that may have felt ordinary to everyone else, but it felt really special to me. Isn’t it funny how some of our most ordinary moments may be someone’s most extraordinary moments?
That moment a year ago would have felt really ordinary. I hope I never take for granted my people again.
Now that the world is beginning to open back up, invite people you don’t know that well to come hang out with you and your friends. See where people have needs and desire to be known. Invite people in, just like Jesus would.
We are called to love on the people around us. And not just the people we want to love or are easy to love, but every single person we encounter. I often forget that. Am I quick to judge a book by its cover and quickly assume thoughts about people? I sure am. But I’m working toward remembering the whole universe is full of God’s people and He didn’t select just a few people to be His creation. We all are His handiwork.
How you have you seen community impact your walk with Jesus? I would love to hear below!
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