“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
Who does that?
Who signs up for a Women’s Bible Study without even knowing what it’s about?
That. Would. Be. Me.
We were just weeks into attending a new church and the word “community” was everywhere. It was intriguing, yet unnerving to this perceived outgoing, but personally private girl.
Besides, who wants community anyway?
But then, the nudge. His nudge. Okay, I knew what I would do. Go one time, call it a day, and say that I tried.
I parked the car and kept the motor running. I needed the assurance that there was still time to turn back. My mind filled with excuses ranging from “Did I set the DVR for Fixer Upper?” to “I really could be cleaning my toilets.”
Because, when you’re afraid, any excuse will do.
Have you ever allowed the excuses of fear to stop you from experiencing life to the full? Baby steps of faith, friend. Love is closer than you think.
I finally entered the building and was immediately met by an enthusiastic greeter. “Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here! Take a seat anywhere or sit with someone you know!”
And, that was the problem. I didn’t know someone. I didn’t know anyone. I was petrified.
You know that feeling you get when you realize you’ve just stepped on someone else’s gum in your cute new flip-flops only to find that you’re going nowhere fast? Well, that’s how fear felt on me. I tried to pull away, but I couldn’t. Or, maybe, just maybe, I didn’t want to?
I preferred the comfortable of fear over the unknown of community.
“Dear Lord Jesus, show me where to sit,” I whispered under my breath. And He did, as I proceeded past all the other tables to the very first one.
Fear doesn’t sit in the front, y’all.
I noticed three sweet faces talking and smiling. I interrupted with the awkward “Mind if I join you?” question, then pulled out a chair. Soon, we were joined by another, leaving only one empty seat.
But, it only looked empty.
“For when two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
The leader (who was previously the “greeter”—I should have known!) introduced herself, opened with prayer, and explained the purpose of the study. It was deep. It was transparent. There will be lots of sharing, she said, emphasis on “lots”.
And, as my right foot wiggled uncontrollably under the table, I thought to myself “There is nooo way…”
So, when it was my turn to get real with four women I had never met before in my life, what did I do?
I spilled my guts.
Then, I embraced their nods and their stories as well.
God rocked my solo act into a band of sisters.
That’s community, people.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
What about you, dear one? Does the word “community” send shivers up and down your spine? I get it. But let’s get this too: There are a group of souls who need us and we need them. Fear may not sit at the front table, but we do.
Oh friend, surrender the fear that is holding you hostage and be open to His heavenly nudge. Then, don’t be surprised by the where or the when or the who… or the joy.
Our unexpected is always His perfectly on time.