Last year, I pulled out my grandma’s rosebud china dishes and hosted a formal tea party complete with roses, petit fours, and a silver tea service. This year, it was more casual. Homemade pizza, games on the living room coffee table, and conversation that wandered to dreams and ideas. Two distinct ways to celebrate Valentine’s day.
That holiday can be an disheartening day for single girls, at least it can easily become that for me. Because of that, I chose to organize and host a Single Girls Valentine’s party the last two years. Instead of grumping about a Hallmark holiday, I chose to embrace it. I transformed a day to grouse about being single into an opportunity to love others by embracing community.
This kind of intentionality in seeking out community is part of thriving in singleness. The virtual community of Facebook and Instagram doesn’t fulfill our need for genuine community; we need other people. Jesus said the second most important command is to love others (after loving God – see part 2 of this series). Part of the way we love others is by engaging in and seeking community.
I want to challenge you to take a step to seek out community this week. Reaching out to a new person can be intimidating and uncomfortable or we just might not feel like it. When I was in high school, a new girl joined my homeschool group. I didn’t really want to reach out to put forth the effort of making a new friend. I was comfortable with my current friends. But I knew I needed to make the effort. And so I did. Quickly, this new girl became a close friend and it was a joy and a blessing to spend time with her. When I moved to a new state a few years later, she was one of the last people I said good-bye to.
Similarly, there are times when we need to take a first step to seek community. Here are some ideas I’ve tried:
- Texting someone you don’t know well to see if she wants to go out for coffee (or tea or ice cream!)
- Joining a small group at your church. Or, if there isn’t a group to join, form your own by inviting some others to study a book of the Bible or read a solid Christian book together.
- Inviting some other girls in your stage of life over for a game night or for dinner, even if they don’t know each other well. Gathering in your home is a great way to practice hospitality and create a comfortable environment for fellowship, whether you use China or Chinet.
- Finding a group of gals to celebrate special occasions with, like going out to dinner for birthdays or having a Christmas brunch together.
While we need other women in our stage of life, it is also valuable to fellowship with people outside our demographic. Our lives will be enriched as we seek out fellowship with people older and younger than us, with married couples, with families, or with co-ed groups of young people. As we invest in others around us, we have the opportunity to receive wisdom from those who have gone before us and to share our experiences with those a few steps behind us.
Coffee with a friend builds community. Pizza with the group from church builds community. Hiking with your neighbor’s family builds community. Crocheting with an older woman builds community. These are ways we can live out Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
What are some creative ways you can seek community this week? What is your favorite activity to do with friends?