I was encouraged to hear how you had got on with reflecting on your social circles and amused to hear of your encounter with the travel group at the museum!
Today we are looking at B for Be. I appreciate that it can seem strange to talk about ‘being’ oneself…..who else can we be?! However, we can hide our true selves in circles where we do not feel certain of our position, or our acceptance by the group. Trying instead to mould to the group identity when perhaps deep down inside we are not entirely comfortable with that.
At different ages and stages of our life we find ourselves in a variety of social circles. Some we feel strongly connected to and others, while we may on the surface appear connected, we may feel less so, deep down inside ourselves. This was certainly the case for me, in the circles in which I moved in my late teens and early twenties. Not being part of a faith community at that stage of my life meant I was far more at the ‘beck and call’ of the prevailing social culture/scene. With the current prominence of social media, this is probably even more so for people today.
As I have reflected on the social circles that I have been part of over the years, I realise that often the groups I have felt most at home with, were the ones where I was free to just ‘be’ myself, without any of the expectations that came with the role or task, within other groups. I have also experienced a strong sense of belonging in groups where there was a clear common focus and purpose, as these seemed to enable me to ‘be’ myself.
One particular example of this which stands out, was the small group that came together to go on a prayer trip to the Middle East. At the first meeting I looked round the room and was struck by just how disparate a group we were! We varied from each other on so many levels, and in so many ways, and were it not for the opportunity to go on the trip, our paths may not have crossed. However, the common denominator in the group, was our faith.
As we spent time with one another prior to the trip, in training and prayer, God wove us into a strong team. We had an amazing week in the Middle East, often way out of our comfort zones, but we saw God’s provision and power at work in so many ways. It was one of the most remarkable weeks of my life – and I have had a number to chose from! I am still, nine years on, in close contact with over half of the group members even though, they are not all still in this country!
I have found too that there have been particular locations which have facilitated me just ‘being’ – places where I could go and ‘be’. Places to rest and recover in the midst of the stresses and struggles and busyness of everyday life. My favourite was at the home of some relatives in France. There the only expectation was to join them for lunch and dinner! It was a beautiful property, in a beautiful countryside location and it was so quiet and peaceful! I was always reluctant to leave, but left rested, renewed and refreshed.
Let me know what ‘Be’ means to you at this stage of your life!