“[Christ] died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with Him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (MSG)
No one left out. No one left behind. I spent most of my childhood as the girl with her nose in a book. It was a great way to escape reality and it gave me an excuse not to join in, not to care if I wasn’t chosen, not to care if no one sat with me. I began to say “no” to so many things before they were even opportunities so that I didn’t have to fail or feel left out. I never daydreamed about children or a wedding day because I wasn’t 100% sure they would happen for me and I didn’t want to be disappointed.
My excuses kept me focused on a false sense of self-preservation and instead of embracing possibilities, I became bitter – and more lonely than I could have imagined.
I was 16 when God shook me awake. I don’t have a specific date, but I was in the auditorium of our high school with a group of friends who led Bible study and worship each morning before we were called to our public school homerooms. I was sitting in those hard folding chairs because the friends were kind, they asked me to join them, and it felt like the “right” thing to do.
I might not have understood friendship or community, but I was really good at making sure I was doing the “right” thing.
I’m sharing my testimony at (in)courage today, and an invitation to use encouragement as the foundation for our communities – will you join me over there?