When I was going through a very difficult time in my life, I withdrew. I stopped talking about how things were going with me. I held my personal life very close to me and was quick to turn the subject away from me if anyone attempted to ask. You got an earful of how my kids were doing, but nothing about me.
I avoided opportunities to meet new people. I spent more time away from others.
You see, I was afraid of how people would view me. I was fearful of judgments from quick assumptions and false beliefs. They didn’t know my situation and they certainly wouldn’t understand it.
I spent too much time alone. I spent too much time in my head.
And that leads to massive doses of false narratives. Lies galore. Fears and insecurities running rampant.
I desperately wanted to confess to someone my difficulties, but fear held me hostage and lies prevented me from sharing.
And then one day, I was given a door to walk through. And it changed everything.
“What would you do if someone you loved was an active alcoholic?” I was asked. Funny you should I ask, I thought and for the first time felt compelled to speak my story.
I was shaking with fear as I told it, waiting for the world to come crashing down around me.
But it didn’t.
That small step, that was monumental to me at the time, gave me courage to take another small step and try a new church. And then another small step and sign up for guitar lessons with my son to meet others. (Safety in numbers you know.) And then another small step to join a small group which resulted in me sharing my story further with others.
And on and on until one day I realized I was surrounded by numerous tribes that listen to me without judgement, support me, and lift me up. They believe in me when I don’t.
They celebrate my successes. Reminding me that I need to do that more. They tell me like it is. No fluff, no tiptoeing, just plain honesty. And I love that!
So you may be wondering what exactly a tribe is. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a tribe is, “a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest.”
But it’s deeper than that. It’s my people.
When I’m with my tribes I feel stronger and capable of taking on anything that comes my way. I worry less. I give more.
I pretty much have a tribe for every aspect of my life. And it. Is. Awesome. There’s my tribe that supports and encourages each other’s steps towards healthier living. Understanding that we’re each on a different path and lifting each other up along the way.
There’s the tribe that cheers each other on as we pursue our passions and share podcasts and books with each other that will get us energized and ready to take on the world.
There’s the tribe that I can safely share my deepest worries and fears and real life problems without hesitation. They encourage me, comfort me, and pray for me at the drop of a dime. Together we encourage each of our paths in deepening our relationship with God.
There’s also the tribe I love writing with and the tribe I explore photography with.
It is much too easy to pull away and seclude oneself. And nothing good comes of it. Tribes on the other hand help us to feel alive! And not alone! So many of us are going through similar issues, frustrations, and concerns. But we don’t realize it until we start talking to each other.
I encourage you to find your tribes if you don’t already have one. Find a group that shares similar interests. There’s pretty much a group for anything and everything. Not sure where to look? Start with www.meetup.com. Check into small groups of a church you attend or may be interested in attending. Check out groups on Facebook.
And if you already have a tribe, expand it! You can never have too many people cheering each other in life.
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