Here’s a scenario: You find yourself seated beside your college friend whom you haven’t seen and talked to for years, what types of questions do you ask?
“Where do you work now?”
“What do you do?”
“When did you move?”
“When did you move?”
I am not a fan of small talk but you have to start somewhere, right? So when I found myself in the same scenario a few days ago, I began asking the questions above. The answers were quick to come from my friend, stating each statement in a matter-of-fact fashion.
But then I asked her: “Why did you decide to resign from your previous job?”
She had to think about it for a few seconds before finally answering me. And it was an awkward and almost-uncomfortable silence because I knew I was getting deeper into her life. She answered anyway, and somehow I was able to see far deeper than what the eyes can see, and I start to see her heart and her needs.
Moving Past the Small Talk Shenanigans
I found myself at the other end of a similar question not so long ago. Months after my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I wasn’t talking about his condition as much anymore, so I thought I was okay.
But then one of my friends asked me my unknowingly-most-feared question at that time: “Are you okay?” And it was then that I knew that I wasn’t. Tears started welling up in my eyes and I couldn't even bring myself to say more than 10 words because I knew I was going to cry.
Maybe it was because she lost her mom to cancer that I felt like she knew exactly what I was going through… It was when I allowed myself to be vulnerable that I realize that I had to talk about it more to more people. I have to be brave enough to answer those questions from the heart and be brave enough to also ask the same question to others that I may comfort and encourage them.
My friend prayed for me and ever since that time, she is quick to send me comforting thoughts and prayers when I start to worry about my dad’s condition.
Finding your Tribe
It was then that I was reminded how important it is to have your tribe – people that you connect to on a regular basis, those who celebrate your wins and milestones with and those who cry with and pray for you when the challenging times come.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Here are the great things about being part of a tribe.
It Heals You
Asking more hows and whys are almost intrusive at times but they are necessary. To be vulnerable with the right people is a good thing – especially in the face of our most challenging moments because it allows us to process things and to heal.
I think being a Christian, we sometimes fall into thinking that it’s way too difficult to follow Jesus. And this is true – following Jesus has costs so it really gets challenging and hard. But seeing others walk with you reminds you that while we are all work-in-progress, we are also being transformed into His likeness day by day.
This is our growing tribe! We meet every week to talk about God’s Word and how it connect to the season we find ourselves in :) Of course, always over food!
It Corrects You
Now this may not be so appealing but it is needed if we want to grow. Sometimes we need people to look at our situation objectively and to point at our blind spots because we have been so accustomed to looking at it too close that we miss the bigger picture or the other sides of it.
Not only is this psychologically sound (thank you Johari’s window) but spiritually as well.
He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue. Proverbs 28:23
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
It Protects You
As the age-old saying goes, “there is power in number” and we are truly better together. It’s easy to isolate one’s self when problems come knocking, but carrying our own problems is not how God designed us to be, because sharing it to others lightens our load allows them to support, encourage and pray for us.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
This is our Leadership Group, with whom I meet with every month. We celebrate milestones together -- they're one of the first people to know when my relationship status changed from single to in a relationship, to being engaged! They're also the people I holler to for prayers and thanksgivings. So grateful for these strong women in life.
PS. If you want to be part of the church community, just send me a message! I'd love to connect you :)