I talk a lot about being intentional when it comes to building friendships or creating a Tribe. Here is a perfect example of a situation that recently happened in my life that may be able to put this into perspective. As I have said before, to call me an extrovert is an understatement and yet, I too, have days where I don’t want to make an effort when it comes to friendships. Friendships can be messy. Dealing with people is exhausting. And, sometimes you just want to get into your comfies and park your hiney on the couch.
Now there is nothing wrong with getting comfortable after a long day and couch surfing. However, if you desire to build friendships, or make new friends, or create a Tribe you have to seize opportunities when they literally land in your lap.
Recently, my friend Matilda sent me a text asking me if I was ever available on Wednesday nights to get together, within a few miles of my house, as she drops off her teenagers at youth group. I immediately told her I would not be available most Wednesday as we host Life Group in our home every Wednesday night – minus the occasional night that we cancel based on the hubs’ chemo schedule or being out of town on vacation. After I responded to her text we both moved on.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and God opened my Wednesday nights. We took the opportunity to move our Life Group onto our church property to open it up to newer church members or families with kids and we changed the night as well.
I could have easily taken this opportunity to throw on my comfies, grab the popcorn, and channel surf. However, God reminded me of Matilda’s offer and I seized it. See, she works full time and does her family stuff on Saturdays and we both are busy on Sundays. The only guaranteed time I could spend with her would be on Wednesday nights. And though this requires me to go back out after being home all afternoon, I saw it as an opportunity to hang out with a friend that God literally dropped in my lap after meeting in Okinawa and living many miles away from each other for over 5 years. Matilda said she would NEVER move back to Texas and my husband swears we are dying in our home – sometime after we are 80 plus years old of course. Obviously one of us did not win that battle and we are living within a few miles of each other under the same state flag.
Would it have been easier to let Matilda believe I was still busy on Wednesday nights? Yes! Would cruising on the couch with the world’s cutest bulldogs be easier and not require freshly re-applied makeup and driving several LONG miles back into our downtown area? Yes!! However, couch surfing doesn’t build community unless you want your community to consist only of the world’s greatest slobber producing canines and sports fanatic Marine husband. Plus, there are 6 other nights in the week to cruise.
To make new friends, or to continue to get to know your current friends, or to build a Tribe you can do community well with requires getting your hiney off the couch and into the game.
So this is how Matilda and I do this community thing: We committed to meeting the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month at the same little Mexican Bakery downtown that is conveniently located between our two locations. We may mix it up and meet somewhere else on occasion but, for now, we meet there – 2 Wednesdays a month. This way we can plan out our other two Wednesdays and the rest of our month around it. So far it has worked out beautifully. We get to support a small, local business that just recently opened up and we spend almost two hours getting caught up. Laughing about our crazy lives. We share how we have seen God work in our day to day living. Or we cover really intense topics like “is it possible to get organic deodorant to work like the toxic stuff does?” (Oct. 4, 2017 update: The organic deodorant challenge has been solved!!!)
We may not be solving world hunger and will most likely never win a Noble Peace Prize for sitting in a Mexican Bakery talking about random stuff. But, we’ll get to know each other better and one of us may not have as much body odor in the future if she discovers the key to staying odorless minus toxic ingredients. Building community takes effort – even for extroverts. But trust me when I say, it is so worth the effort it takes!!!!