Whether you’re new in town or have stayed in your same neighborhood for years, creating community is a fantastic way to connect with new friends.
Guest post by Christen Price, author of Invited: Live a Life of Connection, not Perfection
“Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
It’s true, the people make the city.
After college, my husband and I moved to three different cities for work. With each move, we not only had to pack and unpack our belongings, but we also had to pack away memories that we shared with the people who made those cities feel like home.
Memories like morning walks around the block with baby strollers, nights at fancy restaurants celebrating birthdays, and holidays such as “Friends-giving” where we chose to stay in town instead of travel – all of these simple and special events spent with friends was what we left behind.
As excited as we were to begin the next chapter of our lives, the thought of having to make more friends was always quite intimidating. Starting over, I always was anxious to invite people into my life because I feared that they wouldn’t like or accept me. Have you ever felt this way too?
Why women need connection
Not feeling like you belong, I think, is a common worry of women like you and me. We are timid to invite because of the fear of disconnection. Instead of living in community, we make our homes in silos, hiding behind our smiles, guarding our hearts, and hoping that nobody gets too close and discovers that we are a fake.
Brene Brown writes that women need connection because our greatest fear is disconnection, the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.
If God designed us for connection to Him and others, don’t you believe our enemy will threaten us with the fear of disconnection?
Women are made for connection, community, and celebration. It’s why we go to the bathroom together, have roommates in college, and plan parties. One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever received when moving to a new city is to ask myself, “What does my community need that I have to offer?”
Connecting without perfection
During our last move, my husband and I realized that there weren’t any small groups that were very active at our church for couples our age, so we decided to start one. Even though we were new in town, we invited people from work, some friends from high school, and others that we’d met briefly to come to our house for a small group social.
We were living in a rental house that was completely furnished with shag carpet, laminate countertops, and mauve floral wallpaper. We knew it wasn’t beautiful, but I’m so thankful that we didn’t allow the fear of not having a Pinterest-perfect home stop us from building community. As our guests entered the home, we instead turned the 1980’s decor into a conversation starter and now, five years later, we still laugh about that floral wallpaper with our small group.
The gift of community
The definition of connection is “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.” You were made in the image of God, which means that you were made for connection to Him. One of the best gifts that God has given us is the gift of community. He wants us to be connected with Him by being in relationships with other Christ-followers. Connection is what makes us feel part of something bigger than ourselves and is an invitation for belonging.
Acts 2:46-47 describes how the early disciples experienced community by saying, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Sharing beyond the walls of their homes, the followers of Christ gathered together to tell the message of Jesus to the people. They were not exclusive. No, daily God increased the number of people who were being saved. The breaking of the bread and extending of grace was an open invitation. All were welcome to listen, eat, drink, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The best tool that we have to fight the fear of unworthiness is to live actively in community with like-minded friends. Small groups are a great way to make friends who help us feel understood, accepted, and loved. A friend is someone who completely accepts us as who we are, and loves us at all times. True friends are like family, sisters who stick with us during the hard times and celebrate with us during the good times.
You and I are called to live in community. The call is not for us alone. So many people want to live lives of invitation but they don’t know how to begin. Engaging in meaningful friendships might not always feel natural but it’s a necessity that we just can’t live without. Don’t let the fear of disconnection keep you from opening your home and living a life of invitation. Start small and simply ask yourself what you can offer to others. Find the people who will make your city feel like home.
How are you creating community where you live? What are you doing to invest in the lives of new friends?
Christen Price is a writer for The M.O.M. Initiative and founder of Undivided Women, an online Bible study community. With the heart of a hostess, she writes devotionals, designs party printables, and creates inspirational art in her studio that invites women to celebrate their people, place, and purpose. Christen is married to her best friend, Raleigh, and their crew of three little ones, two dogs, and four chickens call the countryside of lower Alabama home. Connect with her at christenprice.com.
This post includes excerpts from Invited: Live a Life of Connection, not Perfection. Used with permission.
Celebrations, whether they be special occasions, a surprise party, or a spontaneous cookout on a Saturday night, are about spending time with the people we love. Hospitality helps us to pursue Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, so we can invite others to join us in a party we will never forget. Connected to Christ, we find wholeness, completeness, and beauty so we can celebrate the life we’ve been given.
In Invited, Bible teacher Christen Price weaves together personal stories with a practical party planning handbook as she shares about her own struggle with perfection when she moved home and began to build community. Her desire for perfection causes her to experience anxiety and meltdown when parties (and life!) don’t always go as planned.
With kindness, honesty, and Biblical truth, Christen will encourage you to:
- Overcome the hurdles of perfection by finding balance instead of breaking down.
- Receive others in love by releasing your anxieties to God so you can rejoice in the moments worth celebrating.
- Discover that the antidote to perfection is embracing the beauty of imperfection and present not only yourself, but your home in an artful way so you can give and receive joy.