Most days, I feel the weariness seep into my bones halfway through the day. But there is still much to be done. And so I go, go, go. Drive the kids. Clean the house. Cook the meals. (Okay, I’ll be honest, I don’t always cook, but I do try. J) At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. The next day, we get up and do it all over again.
Where’s the time for people? Who has the capacity for pouring into others when we can barely trudge through our own lives? Is the time and energy worth it? I get the angst behind these questions, and I’ve wondered the same. When we’re content at home, when we’re tired and overwhelmed, it can be hard to make the effort toward friendships. I’m simply going to answer this from personal experience.
I’m an introvert, but I need people. I need the kind of friend I can text when something goes wrong or right. I need people who know me. The real me. It gives me peace to know someone loves me even when they’ve seen how impatient I can be or how neurotic I can be. There is grace in people knowing me and loving me. People I can even say this to: I need you to pray but I can’t get into the details right now. That kind of relationship is a priceless thing.
Right now, I’m in a phase of life that’s pretty busy. I don’t see friends as much as I might like to. Often, we grow our relationships over text. We check on each other. We ask for prayer. We chat. We give each other the grace to respond when it’s a good time and we don’t expect an instant answer. And when we’ve gone too long without seeing each other’s faces, we carve out a time, even though that time is precious, and we see each other.
If your energy is waning, and I get that, I would simply say to start small. Maybe this isn’t the time in your life for 3-hour coffee dates. But perhaps you could send a 30-second text to check on a friend. For the moment, let’s throw aside lofty ideas about community and dinner groups and Bible studies and all of the things that pile up and make us think we’re “not doing it right”. Or that if we don’t have the time for those things, we shouldn’t try at all.
What if we gave ourselves the grace to grow community in tiny seeds and baby steps instead of leaps and bounds? Figure out what you can do at this moment in your life and start there. It might not be an intense women’s bible study. It might be checking on someone when you’re walking out of church. Or sending a text. Or hugging another parent at school who’s going through something hard just to say you care.
I could say that it’s not a big deal to skip investing in others and growing community, but I’ve seen the other side of that. I’ve seen the pain of people who are flying along in life and suddenly everything screeches to a stop. They land in a sea of suffering, and when they look around for someone to latch on to, no one is there.
Pause in the silence of that a moment. Look around at the waves surrounding you. Do you want to see someone there? Or do you want to swim alone?
Growing community isn’t just about those moments of extreme hard when we need a lifesaver. It’s also about the day to day. And even though it requires effort and energy, I would say it’s worth it.
And I’m pretty sure God would too.