Finding local community has been a lifelong struggle and lifelong prayer of mine. I’ve had a few (usually short) seasons of solid community. I’ve had a few seasons of mediocre community. And I’ve had many, many alone-in-the-wilderness seasons.
In my post-college years, I quickly realized I wouldn’t have any friends if I didn’t learn how to reach out and be a friend. This was a time of major growth for me, as I became more assertive and started forcing myself to approach people first instead of waiting for others to adopt me, like I’d done in the past.
A few years into this routine, I came to another realization, and this one stung: If I stopped reaching out first, most of these friendships would end, because I was the one doing all the initiating. And that’s not really friendship at all.
I’d learned how to make friends; I just hadn’t learned how to make the right ones. Most of these people weren’t my people, because the relationships weren’t mutual. I was the one making things happen, and other people were letting me do all the work. They weren’t invested.
I asked God what to do, and he told me something along these lines: You’ve learned valuable tools about how to make friends, but you’ve done everything in your own strength. Now sit back and watch as I bring the RIGHT people to YOU. You won’t have to go after them; they will chase you down. That’s how you’ll know they’re from me. I’ll do it. Your only job is to wait for it.
That sounded pretty great to me! I was tired of maintaining all these one-sided friendships and still feeling unfulfilled. Don’t get me wrong; I think that season of assertiveness was an important one that taught me a lot. I also think we may find ourselves in different seasons at different times, and some may require more action. It’s important to hear God’s voice for the season you’re in right now and obey whatever he says!
That’s what I did. And for more than a year…almost nothing happened.
This was one of those times I knew I’d heard him right. (Sometimes I’m not as confident, but this wasn’t one of those times). So I kept waiting. I kept my eyes open. I was armed and ready to reciprocate whenever the Holy Spirit winds of change whooshed these wonderful, God-given people into my life. There were a few small moments of triumph, but for the most part I was still alone as ever.
Then, one weekend an old friend was in town and asked if I was going to a local event. I hadn’t planned on going, but I agreed to meet her there so we could catch up. (Example number one of me not planning this myself!)
The speaker at this event turned out to be someone I’d been wanting to connect with. I didn’t know much about her, really, but she had prophesied in my church a few months earlier (something that doesn’t happen often), and that automatically intrigued me. As a supernatural ministry school student, I had been longing for a local prophetic community like the one I had in school, but prophetic people seemed to be few and far between in my rural hometown.
I still wasn’t planning to actually approach this person. As the event wrapped up, people were lining up to talk to the speaker and I didn’t want to intrude. I wanted to say goodbye to the friend I’d come with, though, and she happened to be chatting with the speaker as I was about to leave. I approached them, and instead of turning my way, my friend didn’t see me and walked away as the speaker extended her hand in my direction. (Example number two of me not making this happen.)
“I don’t know you,” she said.
I introduced myself, told her I’d enjoyed her presentation, and asked if she’d been the one to prophesy in church a few months back. She confirmed that she had. I blurted out that I was a student at BSSM (which ordinarily isn’t something I mention because no one knows what it is!), and she got excited and said she watches Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson. No way! She told me to find her on Facebook, and I planned to.
By the time I logged into Facebook, intending to send her a friend request, I already had one from her! (Example three.) Then, before I could ask her if she wanted to meet for coffee sometime, she asked me first! (Example four.)
Every step of the way, God seemed to be doing exactly what he told me he would: he was bringing people to me. I didn’t have to do a thing. I was just there, watching it happen.
This new friend has been a gift to my life. We talked over coffee for six hours that first day, and she’s been an encouragement and a prayer partner to me in the months since. Everything about our friendship starting felt like such a God thing to me. He really does do what he says he will.
If you’re in the same boat as me and have been contending for healthy local community, I release this testimony over you and decree that God has people for you! If you’ve been trying to do things in your own strength and failing, I believe he actually has people for you who will chase you down. Let them. Let God do it. He loves you that much!
God is a good Father. He wants us to live in healthy community as much as we want to. He knows how to bring the right people into our lives at the right times. Ask him how to partner with him in this, and let him do what he does best. May he bless you with people who are truly gifts to your life!
They’re out there. And they’re coming. Don’t give up. ❤️