How do I belong to a Transportable Community ?

I have always loved doing life with friends over a coffee or lunch. I love the way hearts connect as we share our stories, frustrations, hopes and as we talk about our journey’s and our faith struggles. There is usually laugher (and in my case, tears). It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life that I have been afforded many such moments.

I have always loved doing life with friends over a coffee or lunch. I love the way hearts connect as we share our stories, frustrations, hopes and as we talk about our journey’s and our faith struggles. There is usually laugher (and in my case, tears). It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life that I have been afforded many such moments.

Traveling and moving, however, makes these intimate moments harder to find. A sense of alone-ness can be a problem as one struggles to connect and experience community in new places and in temporary locations. Feelings of isolation are, I think, one of Satan’s greatest weapons.

I have watched my ‘mobile’ children grapple for years with the issue of “belonging” – asking themselves “which community is mine?, “where do I fit in?”. I know that these same questions still run deep in my life too. My family knows that even recently I have made poor choices because of my need to “fit in” and desire “to be included”.

Recently I sat with a relocated friend and watched the pain in her eyes and the struggle for composure as she allowed me just a glimpse of the sense of dislocation she currently feels. It requires work to find friends, to join in with a group and to start to share a common experience even if it’s what our hearts long for. After-all, we were created relational beings.
Because of my faith I know that the greatest relationship that I have is with God through Jesus Christ. Accordingly, I know I am never going to be alone because I am forever “included” in His family. Yet sometimes it’s people with skin on that I want to share life with.
I know that the way I was created I am energized by the spiritual “shot” of time with friends, of experiencing Life in community – I see His Spirit working in me through my relationships. I value all my individual friendships and wonder how God will develop them in the future.
But it’s the need for community I am wondering about here. How do I achieve that when I am on the move?
Because I know, there have been times in my life where I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had several friends encouraging me, praying for me and cheering for me: my community of witnesses (Hebrews 12: 1-2). We drew strength for the journey from each other.
The challenge for me now is to find that community in a “transportable way”. It’s a paradigm shift and one I am finding uncomfortable as I struggle to find meaning in my current way of living.
We all need community. 
 
My encouragement to all of you is to join me in looking for ways to include others in the journey, finding ways to extend and build your crowd of witnesses – because we need those who will run this race with us and who will support us to be all we were created for!

 

Confining Life or Gifts of Life

I often want to wriggle free from the confines of my life…. Yet these non-negotiables are not going to change – I live a life strange to most… my ordinary extraordinary to those who look in. I, alone, know the layers upon layers of complicated living that shapes my mind and heart. Yet there are layers I don’t yet understand… emotions lurking beneath the surface that threaten my peace and contentment! I reach to understand them but right they evade me – part of the mystery of my life not yet ready to be revealed.
Maybe its the common moments I am looking for – struggling to find them and God in the unusual way I live.
I know I am grappling with finding my truest, fullest self, the one He intended in this existence which is currently mine. I am grappling, reaching…for peace, for Him… It’s an intentional search but not a straightforward one and it looks like it will require much patience….because there are, as of yet, no answers.
I breathe deep. I need to trust the love-beat of my Father’s heart. So today, I decide to stop searching and instead rejoice… Living open, waiting with quiet anticipation …. Giving thanks that I get this opportunity to enjoy all the gifts this life of mine offers in all its complexity!

Bathing and ‘Confirmation Bias’

 
As I visit different places and listen to people talk about what I consider an essential part of life: “bathing” I have come to realize how many views there are on this topic. 
 
Some prefer ‘bathing’ twice a day (or more), some weekly (or longer), some mean in a bathtub, others in a natural water source, some have the restraints health, some of water…..
Something so ‘basic’ can be viewed completely differently depending on the social mores of your upbringing and your life’s context. What fascinates me about this is: how deeply the tentacles of our flesh-life go. Even in this simple area our opinions show the human need to be ‘right’ or ‘better’ and are strongly defended everywhere.
This psychological mindset, which causes us to connect mentally to evidence that reinforces what we already believe – while dismissing any evidence that would contradict our existing beliefs is called ‘Confirmation Bias’. Obviously, the effect of this tendency is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. “Bathing” is not a critical issue but it is an example of this human tendency that I have experienced recently and it got me thinking.
The thing about ‘Confirmation Bias’ is that it’s so much part of who we are that we often have a knee-jerk reaction against any evidence that contradicts our viewpoint. In other words, we know what we know that we know and we don’t want to be bothered with information that goes against what we think we know. The dangers of this as an attitude are easier to recognize in others than in ourselves.
One wonders how much better off we would be both personally and internationally if this human trait wasn’t so deeply part of human nature. Examples of poor decisions and ugly conflicts as a result of ‘Confirmation Bias’ are not only to be found military, political, and organizational contexts but also in our personal lives and friendships.
As a result of what I call “my complicated life” (and one of its benefits), is that I am becoming more aware of this tendency in me. I am grateful for the fact that my life-experiences are broadening my view. Because of my personal tendency to dogmatism and self-righteousness my heavenly Dad has given me many opportunities to “eat my words” and recognise that my “never” is very much more likely than I ever thought! I am thankful that here are some things I believed for a long time that I don’t believe anymore. I now see those things differently. Nonetheless, this looks like it will be a life-long battle for keeping an open mind to the Truth.