I posed the question on our Facebook page earlier asking if being in community with others was important – why or why not? I did not have any one immediately respond to the question. While I would like a little more interaction with readers so that we become more like good friends rather than just someone on the outside looking in, I do understand the hesitation to respond. Some times we are more comfortable sitting back looking in at others and what goes on around us. We do not jump into the conversations for fear that we just don’t have anything interesting to share or that others may not like our point of view. We fear rejection based on the times in the past that we have been rejected when we were trying to fellowship with others. We know the sting of being ignored as well. So, rather than putting ourselves out there, we stay in our comfortable place and just observe. It’s “safer” that way, we tell ourselves. Do you wonder some times, though, if we’re really missing out? Do you wonder if maybe, by chance, someone in the group would like to hear what you have to say? Not only that, but do you think that they might actually begin to like you and form a friendship with you?
Oh I know … I know! You’ve been hurt before. I have been there, Sister!
You’ve been rejected? Cast aside? Ignored? I feel your pain as it is pain that I have endured as well in trying to be in community with others.
Last year I stumbled upon a group of ladies. It was an online group, and so it was “safer” for me than venturing out to make new friendships in real life. If someone ignores you online, it hurts, but the pain is far greater when it is in person and witnessed by others. It cuts deep! I have been on the receiving end more times than I care to remember. I don’t know why people ignore you. I don’t know why we can’t just all get along either! I wish I knew the answers to all of these things and could find a remedy so that no one ever again has to feel the pain of rejection, the pain of being ignored, or the pain of being ostracized.
Have you ever felt bullied? Have you ever been on the receiving end with the bully targeting you daily? I have. It is no fun, let me tell you.
You see, I have been through things that really made me want to stop putting myself out there for fear of setting myself up for more of the same.
When I stumbled upon these ladies last year, I watched … from a safe distance … and I saw all of the fun they were having. I wanted to have fun, too! I saw the relationships being formed and bonds being made. I wanted that in my own life as well! I saw them coming together to form a beautiful community! I wanted in!!
Oh they had their conference, which you could join in online or you could find a community meeting in your area to attend. I tried the latter … and I was disappointed when the group that I reached out to did not reach back as I had hoped they would. Feeling deflated, I removed myself from that group and soon found another that I thought I would try again. Sure enough … this group welcomed me with open arms!! They loved on me! We talked about our children, we shared what was happening in our lives. We bonded!! We prayed together. We prayed over each other’s situations. We genuinely cared for everyone in the group!
THAT is what community is all about! Finally, a connection, a bond! A place to call home.
I would like that here and on our Facebook page as well. I would like to interact with you more, to carry on a conversation. I write and pour myself over the blog posts, and I am pleased that you would visit with me and read the words that I tap out on the computer often times late into the night. I appreciate that you take time out of your day to read my words. I hope that some where within this site you have found words of comfort and encouragement. I pray that you have felt supported. Most of all, I want God’s light, love, and hope to shine through. All I do is for the glory of God. It’s not about Shirley. It’s about what gifts the Lord has given and asks Shirley to use to bring honor and glory to His name. I am His humble servant.
We will be talking more about community … and honestly, I do feel it is important.
That second group of ladies that I mentioned and said it felt like a place to call home … it has been! I went from being a participant in their small group to now co-leading. That is scary in and of itself, but I feel it is where God has placed me. I will serve to the best of my ability.
Would you like to be a part of this community? Well, there is an opportunity opening up tomorrow for another session of (in)courage!!! I am so super excited. To read more and to learn exactly what (in)courage is all about, go to:
Groups will begin opening up on January 15, 2014. More information will be available starting tomorrow! Yea!
Until then …
Blessings to you and yours,
Light, Love, Hope
Note: The (in)courage groups are currently active for the Winter Session. This post was used February 19, 2014 for Not So Small Stories in an effort to build community there as well.