Last week I was at a social function for an organization and through a series of events found myself quickly going from surface to deep conversation with a complete stranger. It was on a topic of much conviction, one of which I have yet to accomplish … building a community. The past two years have been ones of constant transition, moving and shifting further away from my strong college network and towards the unknown of my 20s. In that process I have preached the significance of community on my little soapbox of encouraging and meaningful relationships. I’ve posted endless amounts of articles that agreed with my position, and I have all but exhausted the term “doing life together”.
Ironically, though, I have yet to personally plug into a new community of my own. Month after month, carrying the excuses of time, energy, busyness or just plan laziness, I have continued to justify my lack of commitment through the judgment of what the right fit should look like. It was through my very honest and open emotions that I was gently, yet directly, called out of my pity party and asked the golden question, “Well … what are you doing about it?” I was encouraged by a stranger’s words that if I have experienced true community before, why am I hesitant to now share that experience with others?
I thought I had already answered his question. Did he not hear about the number of different churches I had “tested out” or the endless search for real people in a superficial environment? No, all he heard was me wanting something that I felt passionately certain I was entitled to. This condition that I had adopted — the condition of knowing and feeling as though I deserved to find or bring justice to a certain area of my life — had me in bondage from actually making something happen. I had placed my previous community on a pedestal as the standard of what I desired and deserved. As I now rework that standard, my judgment of other communities has lessened and time has stopped placing pressure on the situation. My good intentions and good desires needed to find follow-through in order to bring about a result.
…let’s find boldness, put in the time, and make actionable the change we crave.
Regardless of the situation, we can all get stuck in this same mentality. Think about how many times you’ve complained about something without actually doing anything about it. Whether you know it or not, hear this now: you do have the capacity to change. Maybe the change is as simple as addressing sleep patterns to combat feelings of exhaustion, as emotional as breaking up a long term relationship due to concerns that have been present from the beginning, or as complex as starting an organization that addresses a social problem that you are passionate about. We all have that inner instinct that tells us we’re here for more, but we can’t simply go through life just waiting for that greatness to be placed upon us. Though it’s easy to air our opinion on social media, let’s find boldness, put in the time, and make actionable the change we crave.
Take a moment to look in the mirror, listen to the words coming out of your mouth, ponder the articles that are moving your heart, and hone in on the change that you want to see in your life — whether that’s something big or small. For me, the gentle push by an unexpected messenger was my reminder to keep pressing on and to break out of the passive, judgmental condition I had acquired. What will be yours?
For an in-depth look at how we can become personal catalysts for change, check out the article “When The Crowds Start To Say” on page 23 of Issue No. 7.
Image via Erin Grimson