We started a new community group at church recently and it's been such a good reminder of what community is, and what it takes.
MOST people will say that they really yearn for community. Many people feel frustrated that they don't have it. When you become a mom for the first time, it can change your community - it doesn't mean you leave your old ones, but there's a natural camaraderie between those who've weathered sleepless nights and day after day of wondering if you're doing this thing correctly. And when you start caring for a child, you find at least part of yourself doing mom things, thinking mom things, saying mom things, etc. And that in itself often opens up new opportunities for community.
But it doesn't stop - when you add preschool, there's another opportunity for community. MOPS might be another one. And then elementary school, dance classes, sports - the community that's available is constantly shifting, and that doesn't even include adult friends. (#momsnightout #canigetanamen)
But one thing we need to realize is that social noise doesn't equal community. A packed calendar doesn't equal community. Community comes with connecting, and connecting comes with intentionality. So yes, community might come THROUGH the connections made from a packed schedule. But it always takes work.
Building community takes both showing up and stepping up. It means you have to be present, and you have to ENGAGE. You have to take off the mask, let the guard down, and talk about the beauty and the difficulty in your life. And it means you have to be willing to enter into that space with other people.
If you're often surrounded by people, but you don't feel known, consider the work of community. If you're busying yourself to avoid the silence of loneliness, consider the work of community. If you're alone more than you'd like, consider the work of community.
We were made for this! We were made for lives that are so connected we can hardly tell one heartbeat from another. But moms or not, it simply doesn't happen without doing the work.
Where are some places you can show up AND step up this week? Who are some people you can invite in, with whom you can remove your mask? How can building community become part of your self-care this month?