Don’t ask my friends, they will exaggerate. They will tell you it’s 2-3 times per day, but they are wrong!
I confess–I do obsess about my floors, and in turn sweep them often. In my defense, dark hardwood floors show EVERYTHING! A few times a week I cave in and clean them. I do. No shame.
During my first year of college, we took a spiritual gifts inventory. Much to my surprise, teaching (what I was made for) was not on my gift list. BUT, wait for it…hospitality was listed as one of my primary gifts. Giving the gift of hospitality to an introvert is just cruel. Seriously!
For many reasons, most outside my control, I don’t exercise hospitality in my home as often as I’d like. A handful of times each year-my husband and I have numerous families in our home to share a meal. It’s glorious! When serving inside the giftedness you’ve been given–there is an indescribable energy that’s returned.
Something I noticed after a recent dinner party-was when lives were in front of me, when laughter filled my home, when my heart swelled with the joy of friendship–my obsession with floors disappeared. Not one ounce of me wanted to get up and run for my sweeper!
You know–that’s the thing about community–it keeps us focused on the things that really matter. When I’m alone, I tend to dwell on the “problems” in my life. Dirty floors, greasy hair, unmade beds, unfulfilled dreams, loneliness, etc. You know what I’m talking about, right?
When friends and family gather, we become a community–a collection of lives that have the power to encourage and hold each other up. That’s the thing about community, it is the antithesis of isolation. Isolation is the tool of our spiritual enemy. Isolation points out flaws, fears, deficiencies, and errors. It focuses my eyes on the dust collected on my living room floors. Community, however, breathes hope and courage into the soul.
When I think about all the physical healing recorded in the Bible, lots of it came in the crowd. The one seeking healing had to come out of isolation, or desolate confines, to receive the blessing of healing. The woman with the issue of blood, found in the gospel of Mark, defied social laws/norms and walked out into the crowd. With community rubbing against her shoulders, she reached for healing and found it. Was she afraid, no doubt…but her need for the healing was greater than her fear.
What about you…what is keeping you from linking up in community? Is it fear? Are you worried that others will see your “dirty floors”? Listen, we aren’t perfect. NONE of us. As long as we are distracted by our lack, we won’t enjoy the benefit of community. If past hurts keep you from relationship, I cannot assure you that community is free from hurt–we are human, after all, but I can assure you that when you are linked up with the hearts of others, joy will be a result.
Today you have the opportunity to join a community group through (in)courage. I will be hosting, along with two new friends, a community group called Extraordinary Grace http://www.incourage.me/extraordinary-grace. As women, finding time to be in the Word together is sometimes next to impossible. We hope to create a safe, inviting community that works for you within your crazy schedule. You can engage and grow and be encouraged right there on your couch in your jammies with your fuzzy slippers on and a cup of coffee in hand. We are ordinary women searching the Word to encounter extraordinary grace. We will dig into Ephesians, one chapter at time, and discover the power available to us as we pursue the God for whom nothing is impossible.
You can view the entire list of community groups available at http://www.incourage.me/community Don’t hesitate, groups will close at 30 participants…take a step into the crowd. Risk exposing your heart, I think you just might be “floored” at what God does!