::Craving, Choosing, and Creating Community::

by Marissa Rubin

Boisterous individuals who love being around people, silent types who awkwardly keep to themselves, and every varying degree in between…we all crave community.  No matter the personality type, there is always a longing to “belong” and be a part of something other than self.

Most people consider me quiet, and without a doubt I do sway more on the introverted side.  However, I have no problem trying new things, socializing, and talking to people.  Five or six years ago, this would have been completely untrue.  There is one major factor that assisted in helping me overcome this frightening feat of meeting new people and socializing…forcing myself into social scenarios.

I recall dreading cross country practices in high school, not so much for the grueling work outs, but because I’d have to “face” my peers.  School was a battle every solitary day.  I’m past this now, praise God!  Seriously.

It sure is a good thing because if I had never made myself “have fun” and converse, Jack Johnson might be my only friend in Colorado when he streams through my car stereo…besides Jesus.  I’ve had quite a stellar time getting involved in any way that I possibly can out here.  I’ve “tried” out more small groups, young adult meetings, and recreational activities that I can count.  After two months, I am JUST beginning to connect.  It’s been an interesting process and continues to be…all for the sake of being in community because I crave community.  I am on overload with all of the great folks I’ve met within the past few months.  There is so much opportunity for this community out here, that I’ve had trouble narrowing down the “ideal.”

I’ve heard, as I’m sure you have, that people are attracted to those who look like them.  I’m pretty sure it’s true.  Now, don’t judge a book by it’s cover or a person by their attire or “look”, but I can usually tell who I will get along with, or connect with the most.  I hate writing people off, and of course never want to do this, but I’m just being honest.  If someone happens to be wearing a boatload of makeup and has a manicure, I’m not as inclined to walk up and start a conversation.  I’m more attracted to the casual, outdoorsy type because I can relate.  I would rather hike than shop…simple as that.  To each his own.  Again, I am not trying to be shallow, just factual.  My sister, who is a total athlete could most likely begin a conversation with anyone wearing sports apparel.  But hey, I’m not opposed to having friends who are quite different, for I already have quite a few.  Don’t want to give the wrong spin here…

This idea of being attracted to similar people has helped me greatly in choosing community though.  Of course, I am still in the process, but I’m pretty set on one particular young adult group out of about five primarily because they have frequent hiking and camping trips.

Some key points for community searching/choosing:

-Try a variety of things.  I’ve come to find that the places I thought I would love have not been so hot.  Websites can be deceiving.  Plus, it’s simply fun to see what’s out there.

-Talk to a variety of people at these such places.  If you go to a church service, don’t go in, stay for the service and simply bolt.  If there is an info. table, stop and ask a few general questions.  You never know who you may meet, or what you’ll find out.

-Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.  Sometimes I feel a little “proud” when I go up to people and randomly introduce myself when I’m the newbie.  But, really…people like it.  Honest.

-Be consistent.  If you find a group/activity that you enjoy, go as much as possible.  Things come up of course, but even skipping a week can put you out of the loop.

-Pray about it!  God knows where and with who He wants us to spend our time!

So, am I vigorously searching for this fellowship?  It’s all said in Acts, chapter 2.  The early church was devoted to this concept, and out of it, many signs and wonders occurred.  I want this strong bond with a Christian community as well as with non-believers, for we are called to be in relationship with BOTH.

I am enthralled to pick, or rather find out who God wants me to do life with out here.  It’s a pretty stellar adventure and so incredible to see unravel.  There are so many unique, interesting, exciting individuals to encounter in Colorado and around the world.