Why Community Matters: On puzzle pieces and finding friendship in late night Kroger runs.

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It always happens this exact same way.

There’s something I need to talk to someone about. The something is very specific. It’s a situation with a person or an event that I’m not quite sure how to deal with. It nags my mind almost constantly for a week or so–sometimes longer–and I just can’t quite figure it all out. I want resolution. I think and “pray” about it a lot. There is no resolution. There is no movement. I sit and dwell and “wait”.

And somewhere in my heart I know that God clearly is saying, in the way he unaudibly says things, “tell your community about this”.

But I think He must be saying, “think more about this on your own and try to figure it out and look for signs and…. DON’T TELL ANYONE. THEY WON’T UNDERSTAND AND YOU NEED TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT ON YOUR OWN.”

God looks lovingly down and actively whispers the answer as I, once again (remember, I said this “always happens the exact same way”. That means this isn’t my first rodeo, kiddo.) run in circles when the straight path is clearly in front of me. I email random people that don’t know me—because that totally makes more sense than telling the ones that LOVE ME for the CRAZY that I am, but whatever. I look for guidance in blogs and books and even the Bible—sometimes I get desperate and actually turn to things that are healthy for me.

At the back of my mind, I know I should “tell my community about this” whatever that means. But I come up with excuses, like I don’t feel like I actually have friends—which is total BS (excuse my abbreviations)—or they’re too busy or blah, blah, blah, and I RUN IN LOTS OF CRAZY CIRCLES and feel like nothing is ever going to be resolved. I feel like I’m always going to be sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off—which is the WORST because I love flying and I love getting to where we’re going and waiting on the tarmac is the EXACT opposite of both of those.

Pause. I have a tendency toward drama. My friends and family know this, but I need you all to know this. Because my mom worries about me and the things I share on the internet. And I need her to know that we ALL acknowledge that I’m being a little bit silly and overdramatic. But people love drama. That’s why reality TV exists. So there’s my disclaimer, Mom. Don’t drive up to Jackson with tissues. Unpause.

And then, typically in a moment that I’m a little bit grumpy and a lot frustrated and kind of just over the world—and usually God too—a friend steps in.

Always. This is how it always happens.

And I usually almost say no to whatever situation it is that they are inviting me to, because being alone seems like it would feel a lot better than being around people, but I don’t—because I’m a good human being/have major FOMO. And at some point in the conversation, it turns to the thing that I’ve been needing to talk to someone about and I spill all the guts and wait anxiously for my friend to tell me I’m crazy.

But they don’t. They never do.

They point out the truths in my words and they point out the lies. And they usually say one very specific thing that they have no idea will have the impact it does and it’s the one tiny piece that I’ve been needing to complete the puzzle that’s been jumbled all over my mind. The one piece I couldn’t figure out on my own. The reason that God has been saying “tell your community”.

And with it all on the table, I’m able to piece it together. Able to process the things I couldn’t process. Able to step lightly over the hurdles that felt like mountains just two days before.

And I’m realizing lately that community might not always look like a group of best friends that you do everything with. Your community might be all over the country and “getting together” may look like Skype dates or late night last minute runs to Kroger because someone needs lemons and why not make a Kroger run into a friend-date. It may look differently than it’s ever looked before, and that’s good, because right now life looks differently than it’s ever looked before.

But I need them. Community. People. The ones with the puzzle pieces I don’t have. The ones with the words I haven’t yet thought of. The ones that God calls me to tell the things that I can’t quite figure out on my own. We each need those people. We each need the puzzle pieces they hold and the strong hands that help us put it all back together when we can’t do it on our own.

Find your people. Reach out and hold them tight. Tell them your stories. Tell them the crazies. Let them fill in the puzzle pieces you’ve been running after.

–Hallie