people need people.

*really: i need people.

I NEED people.

I’ve spent so much of my life fighting against community.

I’ve spent most of my life running in the opposite direction. Afraid to let people in.

I’m fiercely independent in some ways. I like being by myself, doing things by myself. I grew up with the notion that I was better off doing things on my own. I didn’t need anyone to do anything for me.

I didn’t grow up in much community (besides family, and that was pretty fragmented). Didn’t have a solid group of friends until I was older (and that’s still small). I didn’t grow up in church, and didn’t find a church home until I was older (and now college has put that in limbo). I wasn’t involved in many extracurriculars or activities until college- and even now, I shy away when it becomes too hard. I worry about getting too deep and too personal– and how people will react when I do that.

But now, I’m at a point in life where I’m realizing that it’s OK to lean on people. Actually, it’s more than OK– it’s necessary. I need people to surround me.

I need people to speak my crazy to.

I need people to listen. A listening ear or crying shoulder.

I need people to hold my hand or hug me lots (I love hugs) when the bad days come.  Or the good days. Hugs are good on good days, too.

I need people to help me see what I can’t see in myself– and to help me believe that there are better things coming. I need to be reminded that I’m loved and welcomed, because sometimes I just can’t feel it.

 I need people cheering in my corner when I need the encouragement, and calling me out when I’m in over my head. I need someone in the good, the bad, and the everyday. 

I need to hear other people tell their stories so I know that I’m not alone. That I belong.

I need a real-life community of people that are willing to stand beside me and hold my hand and just be there, or stand behind me and push me through whatever wall I’m trying to break down on my own. I need people to remind me that I need people to get through this thing alive.

I cannot wait to own this print and hang it on my wall.
Great post about this on twloha here:

I’m at a point at my life where I’m just exhausted from trying to live life on my own. I’m a Type-A control freak that wants to do things my way. I’ve been my own caretaker for so long. I want to do things and fix things myself.  I can handle everything on my own shoulders, thankyouverymuch.

Except: I can’t. Well, I can, but it’s utterly exhausting and miserable and lonely to live this life (especially this season of life) alone.

Okay, I know I’m not alone- I have friends and family and God, yada yada yada. But I’ve never fully embraced community- or people in general, to be honest. I’m good at letting people celebrate the joys- I shout em from the rooftops. I like talking about the good stuff. It’s the low points, the struggle that I don’t like sharing. I’ve always struggled with vulnerability and letting people see and be around the good, bad, and ugly. I’m scared to let people know that side of me.
I’ve been burned before by people too many times that I’m scared of who I let in. So I just don’t. It’s safer to have my walls up and my blinders on. Safer, but terribly hard. I’m getting better at this, especially the past few months; even still, I rarely let anyone see everything. I’m working on it.

I have plenty of excuses for this. My biggest one is I feel like a burden talking about my bad stuff. I’ll talk about the good stuff all day long- but the bad, not so much. I don’t want to ruin people’s days with my sads, or  overwhelm people with my life’s ups and downs. It’s scary and hard work letting people know me. Everybody has their issues- why should I bog you down with mine?

I also worry about who I let in. Are they safe? Are they going to actually be supportive or walk away? (I’ve had that happen too many times, too). How are they going to react? (Forget that almost every reaction I’ve had when talking about my life has been extremely empathetic and/or “me, too.”) Yet I still don’t like it.

I’ve spent my life running from my story. Vulnerability is hard.
(can’t wait to actually read Brene’s books). 

My counselor and I have talked about this at length. Because of past experiences with feeling inadequate and hurt by the people in my life’s words and actions, I closed myself off to everyone. I became impenetrable. I’m too afraid of getting hurt again so I don’t let anyone get too close. When people try, I run. Hard and fast in the opposite direction.

In order for me to fully heal and deal with my issues, I have to break the walls down. No matter how scary.

And that starts in community. Giving my story a voice. Listening to other peoples stories and realizing that we’re all a bit broken and we need each other to lean on through our brokenness. Who knows how much your story could impact mine if you aren’t willing to share it? (Preaching that one to myself).

But UGH. It’s not that easy. At least it doesn’t feel that easy for me. It must be for some people. I just don’t know how. Or where to start.

The irony is that the community I have and have finally built is about to change.

Lipscomb has given me community in different ways (dorm life. missions. campus ministry. EML department. just to name a few). And yet, just as I’m starting to give in to this idea that I actually need to be involved in the community and engage in it, that time is running short. I feel like I’m finally becoming a part of a community… just in time for everything to change. I’m so, so grateful that I’ve found community and friendships that I hope last a lifetime here– I just wish I had really taken the time to get involved and know the community I have. And to let them know me, beyond the surface level.

So, here I am, finally admitting that I’m not as strong as I think I am. Finally willing to surrender to this thought that I need support and other people to make this life meaningful. It’s taken so long for me to believe this– that I’m not as independent as I think. I need a community to lean on and walk through this journey with.

People need people. We need people to remember that we’re not alone.

I wish I had figured that out before I felt like I was walking alone on this journey.

2 thoughts on “people need people.

  1. Could've written these exact words in different seasons of life. Am the same way as I fight b/w that independence and desire for community. Life is soooo much richer when we take down the walls and let people in. It is risky and sometimes it hurts. But God is always faithful to put those that we need (and that need us) in our path no matter the season. Praying that God will surround you with safe and authentic community!

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