A couple years back, my cousin tried explaining “squads” to me. I’m certainly not someone who prides herself on being hip to the latest trends, so it was great to hear her point of view.
And while I certainly don’t have a group of only four or so friends who all give each other nicknames, I have recently been reflecting on the importance of community. God’s been overturning a lot of things in my heart about this subject over the past year, and I’ve been reaping a lot of rewards as a result.
So for anyone who’s looking to plug in a little more (or is afraid to), here are some tactics that have been helping me on the way.
First, I’ve been doing things that make me nervous. So far this has mostly consisted of going to events that would normally trigger some nerves and trying to be more vulnerable on a deeper level with my friends. I don’t go to everything, which is fine, but I have been trying to push myself and have been astonished by the results.
Secondly, I’m working on letting go of the lies I’ve believed about myself in the past. The biggest knot of these has mostly consisted of various iterations of not being good enough, the idea of being some kind of novelty or outsider the most common variations. When I believe those things about myself, I hide from people, God, and myself. When I choose to let them go, to believe what God says about me, I’m free to love not only myself, but those around me, to let go of things like resentment and comparison to pick up joy instead. All of those things are necessary for me to really be free to connect.
Third, I’ve been trying to have more grace for myself. For me, this means not needing to go to everything (and being more discerning about what I do go to), trying to see myself as I see others (awesome, not terrible, and not consuming nearly as much negative mental space as they think), recognizing my behavior (and what causes it), and recognizing progress. I’ve come a long way even in just the past few months, which brings me to point four, which is…
Being grateful. For progress, for friends and family, for the God who makes it all spin. God has blessed me so richly this last year with old and new friendships, and I have learned and grown so much from them already. I am consistently blown away by God’s generosity and blessing in this area of my life, the character, love, and grace these people demonstrate in my life, and I want to work harder not just to be the best I can be for these people, but to be open, honest, and vulnerable with them, too.
I think that’s what God wants for me as well.
So, even though it’s a little scary sometimes, I want to and am going to put up that fight, and am incredibly thankful for all of the people in my life, old or new, that have been and are helping me to get there. Thanks guys. Love you, boos.
Have you ever had difficulty finding a community? Have you ever been afraid to try? What are some of your experiences with this part of your life and what have you learned? Let me know in the comments below, and if you want more content from me, feel free to follow me or the blog, links on the sidebar!