“I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and Wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14
I am the first born of my family. I am mother’s helper, and the big sister of many. I know how to play by myself, lead the herd of younger children, and remember everything mother or younger siblings have forgotten.
As an adult, I am a very good group leader. I can organize, or entertain you for hours with funny stories or activities. When I am in charge of a women’s retreat we have a great speaker, fun activities, memorable gifts to take home to remember the event, and yummy food. I know how to find what you are good at doing, or what you love, and put you in charge of it.
Then, I stand in the back of the room and watch to make sure everyone has what they need, like a pencil, paper to take notes, a drink, or a sweater, or maybe a friend to sit with you.
A first-born usually has Cautious or Responsible as our middle name, and that slows down making friends or bonding with a community. My strength can also be my weakness; but, community needs the First Born personalities, as well as the party people, the artsy people, and the ones who know how to bring laughter.
As I write this blog to you, I am in a hotel room and rain is falling outside, leaving little spheres of liquid diamonds on the window. Spheres of different shapes and sizes on the window are each reflecting the colors of the community around them. White, silver, green, blue, coral – each droplet is reflecting a little differently the world around it.
Isn’t that what we look like in our community? We are all different, bringing a different point of view and richly adding to those around us.
I am writing with the (In)courage community today and the question before us is, “How do we stop hiding from and open ourselves up to community?”
First, you pray and ask God for the community. God knows we need community. We are created to be in relationship, first with Him, but then with others. He wants us to be in community.
Be who God has created you to be. Whether you are a leader with mad organizational skills, or a party-looking-for-a-place-to-happen, you are important to a community. You have gifts and love that many people need. A Healthy community never has that cookie-cutter look. Strut you uniqueness, even if you think it looks odd. Remember, Jesus was the odd one in His group. “Hi, I am God, want to follow me?” You know, I’m thinking the Holy Spirit was helping the man with His social skills at this point.
Sometimes you just have to jump into the boat. Sometimes we need to get brave and just put it out there. I am not so good at that (see above comment about being cautious). Okay, so the boat may wobble when you get in, or you miss it all together and someone has to pull you out of the water into the boat. Either way, you are in!
Read Luke 5:1-3 and follow Jesus’ example. The man just got into the boat, no introduction or howdy-do at all!
To stop hiding and be open to community begins with trusting who you are created to be, knowing that God creates no mistakes.
Opening up to others begins with the reality that what we may call flaws in our personality God calls wonderfully made.