Creating Community Right Where You Are – This girl’s take on creating real authentic relationships with her neighbors and beyond. Simple tips on how you can start where ever you are, no matter who you are!
I remember several months ago I set out to do some new and daring things (at least to me they felt daring.) I just felt that what needed to happen needed to be on a large scale. It needed to be HUGE. Everyone needed to know about it. There would be emails going on. Promotion going on. Social media posts and the like.
Do you ever struggle with that? Nah…it’s probably just me. Thinking that if it’s not big and powerful and blow-me-away that’s not worth something.
And I remember having a conversation with my husband. And he looked at me intently and said. Why does it have to start so grand. Why don’t you just start small. Do you know that scripture verse? And he quoted to me: ‘Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.’ (Zechariah 4:10) I felt in awe and hubmled in that moment. I felt God was speaking through him to me in that small moment of time.
It doesn’t have to be grand to be worthwhile. Small is good place to start.
Whoever said that in order to be effective that I or you need to be grand?
Whoever said that community can’t start with 2 people? Isn’t that where it should begin?
Don’t be worried that this has to involve your entire community. Maybe it just needs to start with you and your next door neighbor.
START WITH PURPOSE
Everything should start with purpose. If you’re looking to create friendships and community right where you are. What’s your reason and heart behind it?
If you’re signed up for a marathon, why? What’s your reason. If it’s to impress people you may fail. If you’re set to lose 10 lbs. Have a why. Is it to be healthier or is it to look good?
Creating community is not easy in a age of social media, ongoing sports activities and every hobby imaginable, from jewelry making to DIY to lettering. But for me I knew that I wanted to build community with the people in my neighborhood it was for one simple reason. I want to know my neighbors. I want to have people that I’m surrounded by that I trust. Friends to have dinner with. And of course there’s the staple, “Can I borrow a cup of sugar?”
I remember looking at it through this vantage point. If I were to move away would anyone miss me? 5 years ago or even 3 years ago, I clearly would have said a big fat NO even to myself. There’s no sense in lying about it.
As of today I don’t know for sure but I’m certain that I’ve put myself out there to be a friend, a trusted soul. Someone you can rely on in a time of need.
Am I an expert? By no means. Am I the best loved neighbor of all time? Heck, no! But I’ve been taking the time to invest because of my WHY. Having a WHY keeps you on track.
START WITH PASSION
Just having a why doesn’t automatically generate something. But if you have a why and a passion behind it you’re bound to build something great.
Years ago I strongly wanted to work with yeast and learn to make bread. So I have a perfect WHY. I want to enjoy homemade bread. But if I didn’t put my heart and my passion into this challenge it would have died quickly. I committed Mondays to making something with yeast. Every Monday. Sometimes more. But always at least once a week.
If I would not have made that goal and committed to it. It would have died along with my dream to eat fresh loaves of bread. But I keep the passion alive by setting goals and sticking to them.
My passion for building a community has stuck around. For about 3 years now I’ve committed to Neighborhood Girl’s Nights. Sure, we’ve missed a few because of scheduling and sicknesses but I’m able to hold myself accountable by putting it on the calendar as something important.
Be passionate about whatever it is you decide to start with. If it’s Girl’s Night, write out ideas for what you can do. If it’s Neighborhood Nights on the Lawn, figure out how to get people involved. If it’s delivering meals, sketch out some ideas of who to bless.
Here’s the part where I say “Go Big!” Even if what you’re doing is small, create it from heart full of ‘big’ passion. It won’t fade out quickly and it will help you focus on your ‘why’.
Til we meet and eat again,
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