Every so often, I reluctantly uncover memories of how it felt to be an introvert in high school. I remember breaking the rules to sneak my lunch into the journalism room so I could avoid walking into the cafeteria. I didn't believe there would be a welcoming seat waiting for me. I didn't talk to a lot of people in that season of my life. Because of that, I wove lies that I was unseen by high school humans into my brain.
But I also know how it feels to be filled with love and acceptance, sitting around a coffee shop table, warm mugs in hand, while speaking truths about God and life and listening intentionally on each others' stories. How different it is to be a part of an authentic community that breathes life into the soul.
Sweetest friend, if voices are whispering phrases like, "Nobody sees you. You're worth nothing. Nobody would notice if you disappeared into the dark, snowy night," I pray for a chance to proclaim from the mountaintops that those voices are laced with vicious lies with a plan intended for isolation.
God allowed me to lead a group of the bravest middle school girls for five days this summer. My sweet campers called themselves the Fireflies and they sat down at the table as they were, breaking into the nitty gritty of their hearts' burdens within mere hours of meeting each other. They formed a bare bones community, overflowing an abundance of love and acceptance. My girls were the community that I wished I had when I felt invisible, so I tried to remind them daily that they are seen, brave, worthy, valuable and so, so loved.
This is a love letter to all who crave community and to those who haven't found it quite yet:
Give the lonely season time, sweet friend. Give it a fight. Sometimes it's a matter of praying for a life-bringing community. God wired our souls with a desire to be in community — in fact, He said it's not good for humans to be alone.
We matter, our thoughts and works are precious so we are so much bigger than shallow conversation. Life is sweeter when we have intricately woven relationships rooted in God, and He calls us loved. This life is much too difficult to walk by ourselves.