Have you ever longed for friendship and meaningful community but it simply isn’t materializing?
You see others having worthwhile gatherings, talking about “their people”, toting the joys of authentic connections. Unknowingly boasting about their life-giving relationships, their supper clubs and book clubs and mom groups. It’s peppered throughout the blogs and books we read, rolls by us as we see happy friends chattering at the farmer’s market and people connecting in the grocery store. And doesn’t that make you feel even more isolated and lonely?
Oh, it may feel like that. It may be like that. But friendship is coming.
There are people out there, lacking community, longing to know YOU.
Community and friendships seem to ebb and flow in seasons. Coming to this realization yourself might bring peace. It might give you patience for the leaner times and encouragement to keep your heart open for budding friendships. Here are 7 ways to wait well in a community-less season.
Embrace your alone time. It may seem counterintuitive, but breathing in space and solitude can feel like a retreat for your soul if you choose to frame it that way. Spend lonelier times on personal development, mastering that bacon carbonara recipe, restoring parts of your heart that are banged up and bruised. Pick one activity, one that brings you the most joy, and do it solo this week. Relish in it.
Keep nourishing your mind, body, and soul. Eat well. Just because there aren’t a throng of people around your table at the moment doesn’t mean you have to have pop-tarts for dinner. Make that delicious baked french toast recipe you’ve been wanting to try. Keep talking walks or bike rides; enjoy your favorite form of recreation even if you have to go it alone. Continue on the path of spiritual development, engage in activities that restore your soul and renew your mind.
Look for opportunities to engage in all areas of your life! Fostering that awareness opens your eyes and heart towards potential new friends. Where you work, play, mail packages, sip your coffee, walk your dog — might just be where you form your next life giving relationship. Instead of sitting home wishing you had faithful friends — go out and be present where others are.
What are you good at? What passions and gifts do you have? Who might need fellowship and restoration through your friendship? Think about ways you can invest in your community. What might you coach, teach, lead, participate in? Tapping into your gifts and sharing them with others opens the door to friendships. Friendships you might never make if you stay home and withhold your gifts and aspirations. Bonding over common interest tends to accelerate the formation of friendships too!
Extend those invitations repeatedly! Often times you know people but don’t feel connected to them just yet. You’ve asked them over for coffee but they politely decline. You’ve invited them to a concert but they can’t make it. Your next attempt involves extending an invitation to an afternoon BBQ, yet they still can’t attend. What the what?! Sometimes it takes several tries to find common interests with others. Continue to suggest a variety of activities (different times/days) to those you’d like to get to know. Look for opportunities to meet others where they are.
Although not a permanent solution for fellowship in your life, investing in friendships and communities online can help meaningful connections flourish. A few years back I met 4 lovely ladies in a business group online and we formed our own little community. We meet every other week via G+ to virtually talk life and business. We’ve never met in person but I have a feeling we’ll be life-long friends.
Telling God what you desire is beautiful. Praying specifically for meaningful community moves the mountains of isolation. Many times in relation to community I’ve prayed, “Establish what you desire in my life, God.” And he has — and continues to usher new friends into my life. This summer my elderly neighbor sold her home. When we heard she was going to sell, I started praying for good, good neighbors. It’s hard to believe who finally moved in. A young, super nice couple with a little son. I invited her over for pumpkin muffins and coffee earlier in the month. She invited me over for ice cream last night. It’s no coincidence, it’s an answer to a prayer I spoke repeatedly for several months.
Where are you at in terms of longing for community? From the list above, what way might you try this week to wait well in this season of loneliness? Let me know in the comments below – I love to hear your heart and see you connect with others there.