Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)
How do you learn to play nicely in the sandbox if you’ve never really been the “play group” girl? I struggle with community. I know how to play nicely. But, like so many women, I struggle with feeling welcomed, and I confess that more of that exists in my own mind than in the world. No one wants to be rejected; and it is my nature to be disinclined to risk rejection than to seek out new experiences. I have seldom been rejected. Fear, the voice of the enemy, steals my nerve and threatens my blessings.
Fortunately, am blessed with old and new friends who excel at community. My Gayle and my BFF nurture my growth because they allow me to wade slowly into the rich communities in which they thrive. In several conversations recently, I acknowledged the critical nature of existing in community…we were not built to do things on our own. God is speaking again and I guess it’s time for me to move.
It’s been about 10 weeks since I waded into the deep end. For someone who doesn’t engage openly and easily within my own church family, I have certainly gotten cozy with the 99. They are my tribe. I’ve developed some genuine online friendships, and even met an (in)RL friend who happens to live in town (we’ll be hanging out for a while, I suspect…).
I struggle with community, and I’m not certain why. I was extremely shy as a child; uncomfortable with new people and new situations. My parents taught me to compensate; to act brave and soldier on. As an adult, only my closest friends know I still struggle with shyness; my natural inclination to get things done generally outweighs my discomfort with new things. I am adventurous, and often the lure of a new undertaking is enough to draw me in. I’m a goner for excitement. Until just now, I didn’t understand my shyness. I have named my fear and now God is challenging me to get over it. He is calling upon me to enlarge my territory, and I have to leave my comfort zone to do it. One more thing…I cannot do it alone.
Remember the Prayer of Jabez? I studiously avoided it, mostly because I consider myself “too cool” to be doing what everyone else is doing. I probably miss a lot that way, but late to the party is better than never showing up… While everyone got stuck on praying “enlarge my territory,” I stopped shopping in prayer long ago. I’ve just returned to 1 Chronicles 4, and now I get it. Asking God for more is simply another name for dreaming a God-Sized Dream. Holley explained it in December ’12, but I wasn’t entirely ready to receive it yet…
It’s about discovering and pursuing the desires God has placed within you that perfectly fit your heart.
We all have those desires. Some are simple and others complicated. Some are about home and others about faraway places. Some happen quickly and others unfold over a lifetime.
But what they all have in common is this: Ignoring them means ignoring a core part of your purpose. ~Holley Gerth, How will 2013 be different for you?
Now I think I just might be ready to receive what she saw and what I must pursue, and not ALONE. In community. Going bigger for God…
So, in a whisper I am praying, “…Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm...”
May God, in His Infinite Wisdom, grant this request.