Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Questions

Have you sat in a room full of people and felt very alone? Have you looked around and wondered if anyone there really knew you? Does it make you feel unnoticed, unneeded and unnecessary? And the big question--Does this happen to you at church?

Whose fault is it? Are the people around you at fault because they don't approach you? What if they're sitting there thinking the same thing about you? Are you at fault for not extending yourself? How does this happen in a fellowship of believers?

Is true fellowship, not church socials, but a meeting-of-the-minds-I've-got-your-back kind of fellowship possible in our frenzied society? Are you missing connections with other believers? Do you long for people to think of you, notice you, call you? Would feeling connected enhance your life? How?

What can we do about it? Are we all so busy keeping our heads above water in our busy world that we don't have time to get to know others? What are we missing out on? Have we become self-centered, wanting everyone else to do the work? How much time does it take to ask someone how they are and listen intently to their response? How hard is it to tell the truth when asked? If we want to be known, don't we have to open up and let ourselves be seen?

Can you see the two extremes? Where do you fit in between? What would you like people to do for you? Are you doing it for them? What do you expect? What will you do? How can we foster fellowship?

12 comments:

FEAR OF SPIDERS said...

hey tami~ i like this one i often fell that way to bout sitting ina room with alot of people and feeling alone . mabey both partys are at fault thanks 4 doing bible study on monday nite i like comeing sea ya soon phil

Anonymous said...

Tami, Two friends & I were having lunch yesterday & were talking about this very thing. I feel that each of us as believers have the responsibility & opportunity to be friendly to others. I too have been lonely in a crowd, but it was only when I didn't reach out either. We concluded that if we don't speak to those around us, we don't have any reason to complain about not being spoken to. "If it's to be, it's up to me." I feel this is something we all need to work on. Thanks Tami, Twila

Dena said...

i think its more to the side that we need to be putting ourselves out there, stepping up to new people. then the part that worries me (and a lot of people i'm guessing) is that by putting ourselves out there we leave ourselves vulerable, open for disappointment. "Do not give way to fear." -1 Peter 3:6 (seems hard to follow sometimes)

Kara Bird said...

Wow! You just did an amazing job putting into words what I think is running around in so many of our heads. Way to get it out! :) You're right... it seems silly that we're all feeling the same way. You'd think we'd be able to figure it out and help each other get out of it. Great thoughts! (I like how it was all in questions.) :) What a neat way to write! :) Wonderful as usual friend!

Anonymous said...

Ok people. This is about me. My frustration with lack of friends. My disappointment in the church body. I have not gone so far as to project my disappointment and yes, anger, toward God but I suspect many in my situation might do just that.

I have accused myself for lack of action. But in the last few years, I have joined new groups solely out of the need and purpose to connect and make friends. I have forced myself into situations I am not comfortable with, made myself vulnerable and put myself out there much more than ever before. I have made my needs known clearly and publicly. I have prayed and prayed for God to put it on someone’s heart to befriend me.

With the exception of one patient and dear friend,(and thank God for her!) I have seen very little change.

I love my church. I am committed to its ministry. I gladly serve in the church. But right now I am hugely disappointed with the body of Christ. Why can’t the fellowship, community and love we share Sunday extend beyond the walls of the church??? Why don’t we take it outside the box to every day??

God give me a humble heart. One that holds no expectation, no bitterness. Give me the strength and desire to continue to reach out.

God give me a grateful heart. One thankful for every precious act of love and kindness. Grateful for the timely words of loving encouragement.

God give me a servant heart. One that can see the needs of others and take action never thinking of my own.

God give me a forgiving heart. One that sees my own faults and confesses.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (The Message)

22-25So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

How many friends do you want? Hasn't God answered your prayer in the friend He has provided? What would satisfy your need?

R.G. said...

Wow, I can really relate to your post, Tami, and I can relate to Anonymous, too. I don't know all the answers! I do think Dena has a good point -- it's scary to be vulnerable, isn't it?

I've found that part of our problem is that nobody has "time." We might have the desire for a nice little circle of close friends, but it takes a serious investment of time to nurture those friendships, and somehow "going to the movies with my girlfriend" never gets to the top of the priority list. Yet I am convinced that's exactly what it takes. We can't just talk with the ladies in our Bible study group, we have to pull one of them aside and say, "let's meet for coffee." We can't just sit with the other moms at the park, we have to get them together for a girls' night out. It takes effort, and I've found that without the proactive and intentional investment of time and effort, we will all continue to be sitting side by side in church and never knowing each other!

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Tami. I think I could write for hours, pondering the answers to your questions.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't God answered your prayer in the friend He has provided? Yes, my friend absolutely is an answer to prayer. She is caring, accepting and a kindred spirit. I am immensely grateful for her! However, she is like the hub of a wheel, the central anchor for many things and people. I see so many people and activities vying for her time, energy and emotions, I sometimes wonder how she holds up. She is giving what she can to our friendship. I would not be a good friend to her if I tried to get more or expected her to be the answer to all my concerns. I should find ways to help fill her spirit rather than take away.

What would satisfy your need? God is my hiding place and Jesus is my rock. There is no greater satisfaction beyond that. God has sustained me faithfully through the years and been my comfort. Jesus is the real answer.

But does that let the body of believers off the hook?

Thank you Rachelle for expressing my feelings with such kindness. I was praying and studying this morning and to me it seemed to boil down to time and investment. Your comments fit exactly.

It takes a proactive, intentional investment of time and effort. We as are the body of Christ. His hands, His feet.

Can we all be more sensitive to eachother and watch for the silent opportunities that pass through our lives? Needs like this are rarely spoken, but they are everywhere. Even where we would not expect them.

Can we keep our spiritual eyes open and ask God to show us before they slip away? Can we invest a little more time in someone's life? A little time from us may make a huge difference for them.

Anonymous said...

wow! this one got some comments I will keep mine to my self
-becca

Anonymous said...

Come on, Becca. Let's hear your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

okay, so it has taken me a while to decide to write on this topic i have never really felt alone at church at least not at the church that i grew up in or the church that i belong to now i do remember wanting to be a part of a different church so i thought the best way would be to serve i volunteered to make cookies for VBS and was told they didn't serve cookies was there anything else i could do no i wasn't needed or wanted that left me with a feeling of a well there loss but maybe that was just covering my true feelings of hurt more recently i was placed in a position of working with a different group of Christians that all knew each other but i didn't know them in meetings opinions would be asked for but mine were not even acknowledged okay i could use some humbling moments as the time went on i just felt more alone here i was surrounded by christian people good christian people who love the Lord and were there giving their time for HIM and yet i was completely alone i laid in bed first upset and then tears came what was wrong with me but then that now famous phrase came through it isn't about me on top of that while reading God's Word i found that He was calling me you are not alone I am here focus on me watch me so I went to sleep that night sometime actually in the wee hours of the morning with such peace no matter where i am He is with me that night like so many other nights He held me close the next morning i was awake and pumped and ready to serve the people around me so those are my thoughts and experiences not that it matters the rest of the time i was there a lady who i had never spoken to took me under her wings and i gained so much spiritual wisdom i talked to other people who felt lonely and couldn't understand i shared my story and was able to encourage them to find comfort in Christ so i will stop blabbing thanks

tami you sent me an email i sent you a response

Tami Boesiger said...

Dear latest anonymous,
Did you want to talk more about this privately? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail. You can do so through the profile page.