Every woman needs community.
Allow me to preface this post with a confession: I’m not good at this. I’m awkward. I’m the wrong age. I can be a little unconventional. I move all the time.
With all that said, I think finding community is worth the effort. I hear over and over again from readers that they feel lonely, and that’s a pretty natural feeling when you’re alone with little children most of the time. Little children are lovely, but they can’t carry on adult conversations.
If you crave friendships with other adult women, you are not being selfish. Let me shout this from the rooftops!
I used to feel guilty about wanting to socialize, but it’s really not frivolous. I tend to feel badly about leaving my toddler with my husband for a couple of hours so I can go to a ladies’ event at church. Which is really kind of ridiculous if you think about it. He’s with his dad. He’s going to survive.
Another common stumbling block is exhaustion. We are run ragged to the point that going to one. more. thing. just feels like too much to bear. There are times to say yes and there are times to say no, but most moms need at least one chance to get out of the house per week to stay sane.
And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB
It’s healthy. It’s normal. It’s good.
Sunday school – Our church has a class for young married couples that we’ve really enjoyed. The class occasionally gets together outside of church time. We try to attend these events when we can.
Small groups – On Sunday nights, we do a large group teaching time, and then a small group discussion time. As an introvert, I’m so bad at small groups. My comfort zone is to sit in a large lecture-style meeting and then leave without chatting with anyone. (Terrible, but true.)
However, when I force myself to overcome the awkwardness and contribute to the discussion, I find that I get to know others on a deeper level. Deep relationships are good for the soul.
Service opportunities – This was hard for me when my son was tiny and not staying in nursery consistently yet. Even now, I feel somewhat limited in what I can do. I hope to get plugged in with Awana next year, but in the mean time I take meals to people. While it seems like a little thing, a warm meal can encourage those who are dealing with loss, a health issue, or some other challenge.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ – Galatians 6:2 ESV
MOPS – MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. I haven’t tried it yet, but I hope to in the future. I’ve heard great things about it!
“But I don’t have a _____.” Maybe none of these ideas work for you. Take a few minutes to brainstorm an alternative.
Perhaps the most important reason to cultivate a community is this: it helps us to remember that we aren’t alone in our struggles. In the age of social media, sometimes we get trapped into thinking that everyone else is living a charmed life and we’re really the only ones with problems. However, Instagram doesn’t tell the entire story of one’s life. Nothing better combats that idea than getting to know and speaking with people on a regular basis.
How have you cultivated community in your life? Is it something that comes easily to you?