Want to experience something fun? Laurie McClure and I filmed a conversation about friendship after age 50 – you may laugh so hard you cry! Click here to watch!
Watch the Video
Hi, when I shared with my teammates my feelings about the Find Your People study, they all encouraged me to write this because it would help others, so here goes…
I wish I didn’t need this study.
I’m a 64-year-old female, married 42 years, mother of five, member of Saddleback Church for 22 years, Christian for 60 years…and I’m lonely.
Not a gut-wrenchingly-alone kind of lonely, but just wistful about not having a best friend, with a touch of vague guilt about not trying hard enough with the friends I have.
For someone like me, Jennie Allen’s Find Your People is a whole heap of reassurance and hope. In it, I discover that I am not alone in feeling alone. Loneliness and isolation is a pandemic that has been surging since before the pandemic!
In this study, Jennie explores five ways to experience community, and it turns out I am challenged in all five areas!
Proximity: I don’t know about you, but my default impulse is to spend time alone, and if I were to think about having someone over, I’m just too busy and hospitality feels too draining. It’s hard to invite people in sometimes, but Jennie encourages us to look at who is in close proximity already. We don’t even have to plan something new…It’s as simple as inviting someone to do something with you that you’re already doing.
Transparency: I think I do really well with being real about my struggles and sharing my areas of pain. But…that’s where it ends. I rarely have a posture of needing. Sure, I’ll share and confess, but to ask for help? To seek out advice? To look for comfort? Nope, not this girl. No wonder I don’t feel a sense of community—my friends don’t feel needed by me! Transparency is key to vulnerability, and vulnerability is necessary for community.
Accountability: Jennie says that the thing that keeps us from living in accountability to each other is our pride. So true. My pride is at the root of my resistance to commit sometimes, because I think I don’t like the person, or I feel superior to them. I’m much more judgmental than I realize! I need people around me to keep me accountable to myself, to check me and catch me when I’m stumbling.
Shared Purpose: The communities I am most envious of and wish I could be a part of are those that do things together on a regular basis: travel together, camp together, have a reunion, share a tradition. I have tried to create that kind of community with my neighborhood, my family, and even the tour group we went with to Israel; so now I think my main goal is to delight in the community I have instead of being envious of the community of others!
Consistency: So…here’s my problem with consistency. I can put myself out there and initiate a lunch with a new friend, but rarely do people reciprocate or initiate a connection with me. I am left with the feeling that I like them more than they like me, so I withdraw, never to try again. Jennie reminds us to choose to stay in the game, even when we feel hurt – boy is that hard!
These reflections only scratch the surface! Every day, I hear Jennie’s encouragement and truth ringing in my ears as I’m reminded of God’s plan for community and my role in reclaiming that vision. Though I might be lonely now, it doesn’t have to be this way forever!
What I want you to know is that this study is for everyone… even 60+ year old women like me.
Because it’s never too late to make friends or build deeper, more authentic relationships with the ones already around you.
Are you with us? Sign up now to secure your spot for the Find Your People Online Bible Study - starting August 1st! I can’t wait to meet you in the groups!