Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two Gather

For the past few weeks at our church we have been doing a series called "Two Gather."  A good sermon doesn't always surprise you with new information, sometimes it just puts words to a feeling that you already had inside.  This was the case for me, for months my heart has been processing openness and community.  You may recall the saltine diet post, and I am still thinking along those lines, and I am gaining depth. 

To check out this series please visit here and you'll be so on the same page with me it's not even funny.

The promos for this series make me laugh outwardly but cry inside.  They depict a lonely guy trying to do things on his own that just aren't right.  Such as water ski or ride a tandem bike, only catastrophe can ensue. Those are the parts that make me laugh.  The part that makes me cry a little inside is this picture.  

This is a guy, all by himself on his birthday.  Blowing out candles alone. Suck pill...
If that picture doesn't make you a little bit sad inside, go get your heart strings tuned up a bit.  We all know from personal experience that loneliness sucks, especially on birthdays, holidays and times when we need a friend the most. 
A million years ago (or so it seems) I heard a talk by Rob Bell at Mars Hill about community and how it was not really created, but discovered.  Here is what this means:  Lets say that you are lonely in your life and longing for community, you may be thinking that you need to go through a series of elaborate hoops and scour your city to find people to connect with.  Or you may be looking for someone else to form community for you.  Here is the sneaky secret that I want to let you in on.  The odds are very good that at your work, school, gym, etc are people.  And the odds are even greater that those people are struggling with life.   Stuff like marriage, temptation, kids, addiction and loneliness.  These are the sort of things that people deal with every day and it could be the same stuff you are dealing with.  So there you are, surrounded by people who are silently dealing with heavy stuff alone yet side by side

So back to the concept of community being discovered rather than created.  People are all around you and there is connection waiting to be solidified.  One thing that I have learned over the summer is to stop waiting for community and friends to come to me, but to get out there be a part of it all.  I had to start connecting with and supporting the people who are already in my life and allowing them to go deeper into my life and do the same for me.  I am not saying that there is anything easy about this, it takes guts and gumption and a big long jump outside your comfort zone.  It is not easy at all, but I can guarantee 100% that it is totally worth it.  

Here are a few things that you were not designed to do:
1) Go it alone (Read all about it in Genesis, God said it point blank:  It is NOT good for people to be alone.  Period.  finitio. Ad Nauseam. 
2) Figure it out for yourself (There are people who have been where you are, who want to pull you along and teach you the next steps, just reach out your hand)
3) Pretend like you have it all together (no one does so I say this with great confidence: cut it out)

We were designed for community, support, and opening ourselves up for wisdom and love.  Again I know that this isn't easy, because you may have been burned and inside you are resistant to try again.  I am sorry people hurt you, I hope you can take a step toward wholeness.  I promise that I'm praying for all who read this, because believe it or not, I love you and I want your life to be big, beautiful and full of community.  

Some Action Items to try: As to you without excuse.
1) Start a group that shares your interests or check to see if one exists
2) Check out a church that seems to be full of honest, on fire Jesus people.  They may have something all lined up for you to walk into.  Bring brownies!  Everyone loves brownies.
3) Volunteer- Nothing builds strong connections faster than cleaning up trash, dry-walling or serving someone a glass of lemonade side by side.
4) Call some friends over for dinner, turn the TV off, look them in the eyes probingly (but not creepily) and ask them how they are really doing.  I will even plan your menu for you, I want you connected THAT BADLY! 

Please don't stay lonely another day, I pray that something brave is stirred up inside you and your desire to connect finds feet and walks toward something real.  Thank you for reading, I pray you have at least one real deep and soul quenching conversation this week.  We all need them.

Those are my thoughts, a penny for yours?

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