My life has been nothing but shifting rhythms and changing seasons for the last 5 years. From graduating high school, going to and leaving college, COVID, marriage, moving out, job changes, and a lot of moves, it has been a constant tide of change. This has affected my community, routines, and even my walk with the Lord. Shifting rhythms has become my normal, and maybe you feel the same. We live in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.
Summer comes, new activities start, seasons in life change, and it affects our relationships and community. So how do we remain connected through shifting rhythms, and how do we pursue community when they come? Over the years, the Lord has given me valuable answers to these questions. I pray that you can learn from the knowledge I’ve gained.
Connection to community in shifting rhythms takes proactive anticipation and intentional follow through. This can look a myriad of different ways, but I believe it starts with being proactive in finding and planning time, then intentionality in spending and filling it. Try asking these questions:
- Proactive in time found – when will it happen?
- Proactive in time planned – what will I do?
- Intentional in time spent – when did it happen?
- Intentional in time filled – what did I do?
Let’s begin with being proactive in the finding and planning of time. This is the most neglected step when our schedules and rhythms change. It is so easy to say we will make time, but if we do not plan or anticipate the time we will spend together, it will get pushed to the side and may never happen. So how do we combat this?
Begin by searching for connection points and opportunities you would not have considered before. This may be trying out a new book club, attending fellowship events, or being the one to invite your community group over for dinner. Don’t be a “here I am” person, waiting for community to come to you. Be a “there you are” person and seek ways to get to know people in places that you may have been too comfortable to try before.
I would encourage you to make use of circumstances that would otherwise prohibit connection. Take advantage of the very things that have shifted your rhythms and don’t be afraid if community looks different than it did before. If we rely on community looking the same every time, we miss out on chances to grow deeper with our brothers and sisters.
Then simply make time. This is often the most difficult step to live out. Shifting rhythms have shifted for a reason and with new seasons comes new availability or schedules. My challenge to you is to prioritize finding time to connect with others. Be committed enough to your community to make it a priority. Our priorities are not determined by our availability, but our availability will and should reflect our commitment to them.
Once you have been proactive in your planning, be intentional in your follow through. Don’t just show up to the event, but actively let others in and invite them to see your struggles. Honestly confess sin, ask for help, and be transparent when you do not have any more capacity. This kind of vulnerability cannot be replaced by only fellowship, and it calls people to step up and walk alongside one another despite change.
Above all, cover everything in prayer. Ask the Lord to bring you opportunities for connection with His people. Pray for the energy to seek out community, even when it feels as if you are doing all the work. Seek His face as you seek to be vulnerable in your relationships, and ask Him to bring you rest in the fellowship of believers. It is through Him, by Him, and for Him that we do all things. May our community bring Him glory.