05 October 2011

Loving the church: {Day 5} Community

No, I'm not talking about the hilarious show on NBC.  I'm talking about the people you meet at church.  The ones you sit near on Sunday mornings and the ones you eat bagels with in the fellowship hall after church.  Yeah, those guys.  Maybe you see them during the week, too, over at some one's house.  If you do, awesome.


You may not know it, but you need those people.  And they need you, too!  God did not wire us  to do life alone, and we Christians have such a gift in each other.  Some of you are with me on that thought.  Others of you may need a bit of convincing.  Maybe you're thinking, "These yahoos?  A gift to me?"
Church get away last fall.
Let me ask you this:  are you tempted to slip out of church during the last verse of the last song?  Do you sneak back to the nursery before church ends so that you don't have to really talk to any grown-ups?  Do you regularly use the passing of the peace to go use the bathroom?  (My kids do that, but they're, well, kids.)  If so, maybe you don't realize that you're robbing yourself of the chance to get the know others.  And, you're not giving others the chance to know YOU!


I am an introvert by nature, as well as a fairly shy person.  I would describe myself as painfully shy while growing up.  Talking to people I don't know is not super easy for me. I'm thankful to have married a man that could carry on a winsome conversation with a post, and often I am happy enough to hide behind his outgoing demeanor.  But that doesn't always cut it.  The time comes when I have to put on my big girl panties, be brave and TALK.  To actual PEOPLE.


A woman older and wiser than I once explained that there are two kinds of people in the world:  the "here-I-am!" people, and the "there-you-are!" people.  The "here-I-am!" people are concerned with their own reputations, how they are perceived by others, and generally can make others feel small or unimportant.  While they come off as very confident, often they are quite insecure.


"There-you-are!" people, on the other hand, are those who are more interested in others than in themselves.  They can make you feel as though they've just been waiting to see you, and now, finally, there you are!  Their general inclination is toward others instead of themselves.  They make people feel like they are the most important and interesting people in the room.  And really, who doesn't want to feel like that?


For me, I hope to be a "there-you-are!" person.  I don't want to hide behind my shyness (which can often be a form of pride, sorry to say) and miss out on the chance to know and be known by others.  If I spend all my time worrying about me and what others will think of me, I will lose the chance to reach out to the person who may really need me.  He or she may need to be known.  Don't let me be the one who denies them the chance to be known.


What kind of person are you?  Do you find yourself making excuses so that you don't have to engage with others?  Are you afraid of what people will think?  Or are you already learning to look beyond yourself and to the needs of others?


Let's pray for each other, that God will make us "there-you-are!" people for those around us, and that we'll take hold of the gift we have all around us -- each other.
  
This is the 5th part in a series.  Go here to read 31 Days of Loving the Church from the beginning.  Go here to read over 700 other 31 day series.

6 comments:

  1. I got a chuckle at the mental image of John schmoozing with a post :) I'm enjoying your series Kit, keep at it! I'm praying for you as you write this month, may the Lord bless it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there! I just found you among the millions of 31 Dayers and I am so glad you are doing this series! I will definitely be following along. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lisa, your prayers are so so appreciated! Thanks so much, friend.
    Judith, welcome! I'm so happy to have you following along. Amazing to be found among so many amazing women!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can especially relate to this post. Every Sunday, I fight the urge to rush out, retrieve the kids from children's church and flee. Not because I don't love the people but because I don't know what to say. However, community is important so I persevere through my social awkwardness.

    Great series, I look forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jaymi! Thanks for reading and commenting. I know, it can be so hard to get through those awkward moments. I often comfort myself that just maybe others are feeling as awkward as I am...kind of levels the playing field in my mind!

    ReplyDelete
  6. this is a tricky one for me too. i struggle with the transition from quiet reflection, prayer and worship to the flurry of hi, hi, hi...catch-up, catch-up, donut crazed fellowship hall and trying to hear how sunday school was for the kids. i often just need to retreat - and find the quieter times in the week when i can really talk and be with these awesome people. agh - sometimes i stress just thinking about it!

    thank you for the words of encouragement...loving your series!

    ReplyDelete

I love knowing you've been here! Let's have a conversation.