I’m going to be vulnerable.
My WORST thing, the thing that I’m most afraid of, the thing that drives all my hurts, habits, and hangups – is the certainty that I don’t belong.
The certainty that I’ve not been invited; that I didn’t make the cut; that I got left off the list; that I’m not “in.” That I’m not cool enough, funny enough, cute enough, smart enough. Or, depending on the group of people or depending on the day, that I’m too much – too nerdy, too fat, too boring, too intense, too literal, too much of a homebody.
When Mindy Kaling titled her book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” I laughed out loud. That’s been the heartbreak that’s dogged me since I was a kid.
I’ve always felt just a little late to the joke, just outside the circle – close, but not quite there. If there’s an “in-crowd,” they will smile and wave at me, but I will not be in it. I’ve always felt, at heart, like a weirdo.
I’ve been trying to follow Jesus most of my life, and it was really just a few years ago that I was paging through the gospels (the story of Jesus’ life on earth) and was stunned for the first time by how relentlessly Jesus pursued the weirdos.
He literally looked for people that were considered too poor, too slutty, too sleazy, too dramatic, too sick. The heroes in his stories were the wrong social class or ethnic group. When he found them, he talked to them, listened to them, loved them fiercely, and gathered them to himself. The whole story of the gospel centers on a God coming to rescue a people who are hopelessly lost, completely left out.
Jesus came for the weirdos, and when it comes down to it, aren’t we all weirdos in some way? In a world that tells all of us that we’re wrong, in one way or another, we all feel how very much we don’t measure up.
And yet…how often do we fight back by “othering” everyone else? “I’m weird, but not like that person. Good thing I have these people around me – we’re all doing ok.”
What would happen if we, especially those of us that love Jesus, actually followed his example? Rather than making the social class lines deeper and wider, what if we actually opened our circles to all kinds of people…on purpose?
Jesus said it this way, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
But how can we do it? How can we make our homes and lives into spaces that welcome everyone – no matter how weird they are? I’ve found that it starts by opening your eyes. As you go through your week, be present in each of the places you go, and notice the women around you. Who seems a little lonely, a little distant, or even a little different than you? Then, the next step is invitation.
This is the heart of Craft a Community’s mission – to make it easy and fun, and even exciting, to invite women into your life. In order to truly connect, you need to spend time with people, and it needs to be consistent and unhurried. Gathering regularly to do something fun and light – like a craft – lets you grow friendships in a way that feels natural – and serves as a launch pad for sharing your lives together.