Monday, January 23, 2012

Choosing Community

Today's blog is the weekly entry from fast.pray, a group of singles and those who care for them who fast and pray at lunchtime each Monday:

We're back at it tomorrow, praying and fasting for God to change us, change men, and change the marital status of everyone on the list who is wanting that change!

Sometimes it’s hard to admit we are weak and need community — but learning to let others “get under” our burdens can be the path to life and strength.

One of the hardest weekends in my season of singleness was about three years ago. I can’t remember what I did Friday night, but I spent Saturday morning as usual: I straightened up my townhouse and then ran errands. For some reason, this particular Saturday I felt incredibly lonely. Maybe it was scurrying around town alone (again!) to take care of the basics of life. Or maybe my house just felt particularly empty. Who knows? But that afternoon, as I lay on my bed to read a book, I ended up sobbing my eyes out, longing be married, to have a partner. In between sobs I checked email on my blackberry about two dozen times, hoping for that magical note from someone signaling an end to this season — you know, someone saying they had a blind date to fix me up with, or some guy from the past emailing me out of the blue … anything that would give me a little hope. A Saturday afternoon rescue.

Sunday at church I found a seat — alone — in the back. A guy I had chatted with a few months before, but who had blown me off when I included him in my evite list to a Christmas party, sat two rows ahead of me. A wave of rejection and awkwardness swept over me. There was no way I wanted to bump into him at the “meet and greet” time after the service. Couple that with the usual loneliness of Sundays (ironically, I often felt the most alone at church), and I had to fight hard to keep the tears at bay. By now the service had started; I thought, “I don’t want to cry in front of everyone.” I saw some girlfriends walking in late, and I knew I needed my friends. So I grabbed all my stuff and ran over to sit with them.

After the service I broke down again, but this time in the company of friends. What a difference! So often it’s tempting to keep our walls up, our tears private, and our upper lip as stiff as possible. But that’s not what God intends. He means for us to share one another’s pain, to bear one another’s burdens. He calls us to pray for one another, to find healing in the context of community. He knows we need others to pull us to the Cross.

So my challenge on this snowy Sunday is for all of us to be willing to be weak and to admit that we need one another — to choose to share our lives, and our pain, rather than try to go it alone. We need to be willing to be open and vulnerable with trusted friends, even though at times it’s easier to put on the mask of strength. This can be as simple as being honest about our struggles and asking for prayer, or asking a family to save a seat for you on Sunday mornings so you don’t have to sit alone. God made us for community, and if you don’t have one, pray for God to provide and look around — he means for us to share our lives.


Have you hugged a single lately?

~ Linda
Cache' Connections

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