Enjoying my coffee a little late this morning. Why? After church yesterday, my husband and I felt the stirring to reach out to a couple that we've half-heartedly been trying to get together with since we moved here last fall.
We've been desiring fellowship and community for a long time now that we're no longer nomads, but had some things in our own hearts sort of prohibiting us- presumptions, judgements, pride and the like. Not about anyone in particular, just regarding church and how hard it seems to really connect with people these days. After finally surrendering those feelings and opening our hearts to the Lord's plan, we went to church... and this time we stayed. And we went around and talked with everyone we could until we were one of the last cars in the parking lot. No cop outs, no rushing out the door, no painful small talk or avoiding of eye contact, nothing but the genuine love for our brothers and sisters and the desire to get to know them. It was simple but so life-giving! And it wasn't done there.
On our way home it really felt like we were supposed to have lunch with SOMEBODY, not just go home to be alone as we often do, so we sent a simple message to this family that's been on our hearts. And you know what? We were already out of town but we turned around. We went to their house. And we ate lunch. And we ate cake. And we talked. Laughed. Told stories. Celebrated a special little girl's birthday. And we had coffee. And we talked some more. And some other people that were over left. And we attempted to leave but it felt too soon so we stayed. And we played games. And by this time it was time for dinner so they ordered pizza. And, you guessed it, we stayed. And we ate dinner. And we talked and laughed and told stories. And I mean REALLY laughed, like I was in physical pain from how much we laughed. All while my little guy slept in my arms because it was way past his bedtime. And we didn't get home until.. 11 or so? And it was the most joy-filled, life-giving, beautiful day we've had in a very long time. All because we let our walls down, surrendered to the Lord, listened to what he was saying, and sent a simple message.
I think so often we can overthink things, try to plan or schedule something that was really designed to be a bit more spontaneous and organic. It shouldn't take penciling in the schedule to do what we were put on this earth to do: have relationship and fellowship with others. It's so easy to do! Next time you think about someone, call them up and invite them over. Stay after church and talk with everyone until you're one of the last there. Take the initiative and pursue those people that have been on your heart, that God has put in your path because I guarantee they're there for a reason :)
Yesterday was the most fruitful day in a long time and it wasn't because we sat in a chair in a building, worshipped for a few minutes and heard a great message. Don't misread this- those are great things, but what good are they if you're always alone and don't pursue brothers and sisters to do life with? You'd be surprised at the difference it makes in your everyday life, and even the bigger plans the Lord has for you; I know I am ❤
If you feel overlooked, sad that no one approaches you, or like you're not meant for the whole "community" thing, take heart and surrender that damaging mindset. It will free you up to all kinds of new relationships and possibilities!
Approach before you have the chance to not be approached.
If you go to church alone, don't talk to anybody and then leave right away, chances are people are going to deem you unapproachable. (I know this from experience!) Or maybe you show up a little early and stick around a little later hoping that someone will see you and come talk to you but it doesn't happen so you leave - I've also been there - change up your tactic and approach someone yourself. If you approach people first, you won't have the chance to be "unapproachable!"
Fear of man is a LIE.
Go around and talk with people. Anybody. Chances are the more people you talk to the more you will realize how many you actually connect with. There is bound to be someone! If you're afraid, remember that we are ALL on this earth for the same reason. We are all meant to love and be loved, to have relationships, to be in community. There is not one person you see that's perfect or got it all together, so you aren't expected to either.
Sometimes I get nervous to talk to people and I trip over my words or stutter. Sometimes I even completely lose my train of thought or forget which words to use. But guess what? No one cares! I doubt the people I've done that in front of have gone home and talked about how embarrassing it was that I tripped over my words that one time, or when I was telling a story and comepletely stopped halfway through (usually from fear or listening to lies that they're uninterested).
So don't be afraid to meet people or make friends because we are all trying to navigate our way through life, quirks and imperfections and all!
And if you are afraid, do it anyways. ;)
Happy Monday, friends!