After going through a season of rejection and then realizing my need for connection, gather was the next word in the progression of healing. Gather can be defined as ‘bring together and take in from scattered places or sources.’ I also think of gather as getting people together for a movement, or a common interest.
That’s how I categorize my friendships. Each person is from a different area of our life whether its from work, church, workout friends, hobbies or new neighbors. It’s the common connection with these people which can lead to gathering together. Several people in Christian circles call it ‘doing life together’.
Doing life together is the Christian marketing term for community groups. God designed each of us to live in community and to grow in our walk with Christ. Part of the way this happens is to make sure you’re not doing life alone. Below are some of the ideas which have helped me to move forward in connecting and gathering with others.
- You don’t have to be perfect to gather with others. Whether it’s through a church or a hobby group, you realize people are flawed and long for connection.
- There’s no need to do it alone! You don’t have to be independent from others. We, as people, are designed for community. Community is also what’s missing from our society. Unless awful natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey happen, we do life only interested in ourselves. Whether it’s during the hard times or good times, we should help carry each others burdens and joys.
- Create a safe place where people can share what’s going on in their lives. This builds trust and helps bridge the gap to something greater.
- Learn to depend on one another. This requires you opening up and sharing things you may not want to share so that others can bear your burdens and provide for your needs. It also requires a trust and an ability to cry with someone or simply listen. When others take the leap and open up, receive them and have a passion for their lives so that the pool they jump into is not found empty and unwelcoming.
- God gathered and cared for the most feeblest and weakest of his people. Stepping out of your comfort zone and taking care of those around you can be exhausting, but also the most rewarding work. Isaiah 40:11 sums it well, “He tends His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”
So in the midst of relearning the above, I started to ask myself some hard questions. Am I seeking community? Are there people in my life I trust? Who has access to me and who has the guts to say something to me? Am I attempting to do it on my own? How can I love others well? These hard questions challenged me after a season of rejection. God helped moved me past all of this to find healing, comfort and a new community group. Our hope for this new group and season in life is to build relationships and to love others well.