LifeGroup season is here again for our RLC family. 👏👏 During this time, I hear so many excuses as to why some will not be getting into a group this time. Honestly, I can emphasize with every reason. They are all good and sound very plausible. However, I don't get into a group because it is convenient or because I have nothing better to do. Honestly, being in a group can be difficult for an introvert like me.
Here are a couple of my excuses for not getting in a group each season:
- I don't have time.
- My kids sporting schedules conflict.
- There are not any groups that reflect my interests.
- There are no groups specifically for my season of life.
- I'm just simply an introvert and don't do well being around a lot of people for a long time.
So, why do I still sign up every semester.
Let's be really, really honest... I could get out of it.
I'm the pastor! 🤷 I could say I just simply don't have to. I'm above the law!!! 👮 lol. (sarcasm) 🤣
Here are five reasons why I sign up anyway and am always glad I did: 🧐🧐🧐
1- They help me feel seen. 🧐
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." -1 Peter 2:9-10
We live in a hastag, social media influencer world. There are so many people who feel unseen and unknown. We all desperately want to matter to someone. We want want to be understood and truly seen by others. As much as so many fear and avoid eye contact, we need it. We need to feel truly seen and to truly see others. Looking into someone's eyes is a deep connection. We see into each other's soul for just a moment. All the hope. All the pain. All the loneliness. It can be difficult because everyone has a private battle no one else knows about. For just a moment, you can see it.
There is a fear that we are all alone and unnoticed. However, in a LifeGroup I can be seen. People notice when I am there and they notice when I am not. I can be listened to and offer a listening ear to someone else. This becomes really important during difficult seasons. When I feel invisible by most of the world, I know there are a few people who still know my name and care what's going on in my life. They see me.
2- They help me feel loved. ❤
"And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone." -1 Thess.5:14
There are too many "disaposable relationships" in today's culture. The advent of social media has made having "friends" as simple as clicking a button... or unclicking it. Because of this, it is easy to have a bunch of shallow relationships and never truly feeling sincere love. In a LifeGroup, I am able to spend time with people and start to slowly develop sincere connections with others. There is almost nothing more amazing than to give and receive sincere, God-honoring love in a Christ-centered environment.
Here is another wrinkle no one likes to talk about. Many do not know how to give and receive sincere, God-honoring, brother/sister love that is not sexual. I know, I know... not you. I'm talking about everyone else. Social media, the porn industry, and own twisted fantasy world has made too many encounters over sexualized. Just because someone smiles at you does not mean they are interested in a hook up. People can just be kind. Just because someone is interested in your life does not mean they are trying to groom you. Not every encounter is a prey/predator struggle. Some are. Not all. This may sound over-the-top or silly but some people really struggle with understanding how to talk to someone without wondering if there is sexual tension. This is because our culture has perverted sincere connection with someone that has nothing to do with sex. In a LifeGroup, I can love someone and understand how to be loved without fear of sexual brokenness getting in the way. If it does happen, I have my brothers and sisters who are close and can help me find clear boundaries or report past abuse. There is safety in honest relationships.
3- They help me feel challenged. 💪
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." -James 5:16
It is so easy to stay "under the radar." There are so many ways to hide our issues when we stay secluded. In shallow relationships, we never grow close enough to ask the tough questions. In a LifeGroup, we slowly earn the right to ask hard questions like:
- How are you treating your spouse?
- How's your internet life?
- How are you processing that loss?
- Are you drinking too much?
- Are you spending time with your kids?
- Are you honoring God in your finances?
LifeGroups help me find freedom by walking with me through the challenging parts of life.
4- They help me know I am being prayed for. 🙏
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2
One of the requirements of each LifeGroup leader is that they pray for those in their group every day. There is something comforting in knowing that I have someone speaking to God on my behalf every single day. Sometimes I pray from such an insiders point of view, I lose perspective. Having someone who is praying God's best on my life, whatever that may be, is something that is so special. LifeGroups help me feel protected through prayer.
5- They help me develop long term relationships with no alterior motives. 😊
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." -1 John 1:7
Someone recently said the North American culture is an "entrepreneurial" culture. This means everyone has an angle they are working, something they want, or a product they are pushing. Because of this, it is easy to always feel on the defensive and quietly asking, "What do you really want?" At RLC, we tell our leaders no one is allowed to sell anything or ask for any business. It is purely a place of no pressure. Everyone needs an environment where there are no alterior motives. I don't want anything from you other than friendship. This is also something that does not happen in one semester. It takes time. It's the long game.
Choose your hard.
We can choose to go through the hard things of life alone or go through the hard things of life with others. Either way, life is hard. I have tried both and doing life with others is better. That's why I love LifeGroups. They make us all better.