Where we are bold and gentle

Column Post by Lakin Easterling

There’s a constant struggle within my being to be a solitary creature.

It’s not that I don’t like people, or love doing things with those who are close to me; I absolutely do, and sometimes being with those people brings me great blessing and joy.

Sometimes, though, I start to hyperventilate, my vision narrows, and I just need to get away.

I don’t want to talk about things, be open or vulnerable. I sweat at the thought of having to share community, to look at someone and say “me too!” in response to her heart-hurts or happy days. I don’t want to be the first to speak about an issue, to release into the safe haven of my colony of friends the things that haunt me, chase me, pressure me and make me doubt, turn my resolve into a pillar of fear.

Blame my introverted nature, the part of me that revels in quiet solitude. It’s not bad to want alone time; some of us need it to function. It is bad to not want community, to buck and pull against the threading together of hearts and minds in unity, to try and break off and be alone.

We need community.

Funny how when this is my hardest struggle of the season, the message my pastor delivers, the message our house church discusses, and the movement of people of the faith is to gather and hold fast together. It’s like Someone knew I’d be feeling cornered, that I’d be breathless, terrified, and resistant.

In this season, I believe something great is happening. My spirit knows the blessing of community. My colony of faithful friends has fed me, put gas in my car, paid my bills, supported me, strengthened me, and made me strong.

Perhaps I am rebelling against being a part of this, even in my gratefulness, because I know I can never pay it back. I am inadequate, just one person.

But if I live like I’m one person, instead of a part of a whole, who am I really hurting? If we all lived in solitude, instead of individual working parts of a body, who would we be hurting?

Not ourselves, friends. We would be hurting each other. Pulling away when we are meant to be in union will hurt others more than us.

So I’m working hard to remember this today. I’m leaning on the fact that I can be quiet in community, I can have no words, I can have no strength to stand up straight, because I am in a community that cares and sees and helps. When the day comes that I find I can be strong on my own, be bold in my words, then I can be the community that holds up the weak and quiet.

Community is where we are bold, and where we are gentle. It is life, and it is good. This is my hope, today. Perhaps it can be yours, too.

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Lakin Easterling is a wife, mother, writer, and avid reader. She spends her days chasing her toddler, Belle, and conversing with the elderly who are afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. She loves surprise coffee dates with her husband Luke, texting novels to her best friend, Laura Hyers, and being a college student. She dreams about being brave enough to get a tattoo, and believes in the healing power of a good cup of coffee. Her favorite nail polish is Sail Away by Milani. She blogs at http://threadingsymphonies.wordpress.com.

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4 thoughts on “Where we are bold and gentle

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have struggled with this idea all my life…. your post gave me a glimpse of how I can honor my true introvert nature but still be part of the world as God designed us to be. Thank you!

    • Hi, Tina! It is such a big moment when we realize that the person we are, warts and all, is the person God loves, AND the person God has specific and beautiful plans for! He made introverts and extroverts, after all; He knows our natures. I believe His plans for each of us as individuals will reflect our nature — it will utilize the strengths we already have, and He can be strong where we are weak. When we come to understand that He’s always working this good for us, then we can be ourselves, which is the best thing we can do when we’re part of a community. It’s humbling, and empowering, all at the same time! (:

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this article. I struggle with these feelings on a daily basis….Do I really have to leave the house and face the world? or can I just stay at home…After all, there’s always plenty of things that need to be done around the house. I love being around people and I know that God does not intend for us to isolate ourselves; however, I still struggle with this every single day. This article is going to be imprinted in my mind….reminding me that I am not only hurting myself by isolating myself, but I am hurting all of the people that I am avoiding as well.

    • Christi, you are brave. I see you, and I understand those struggles all to well. Community is also something I struggle with on a daily basis; even this morning, I was thinking about how I wanted to delete all my social media accounts, pull out of all my responsibilities to anything outside my house, and never talk to anyone again. There wasn’t anything that hurt me to make me feel that way, I just simply enjoy the quiet — too much. Like you said, it IS hurtful to yourself, even if you think it’s exactly what you need, but it is more hurtful to others. If we are truly the body of Christ, and each of us is an individual part, well… imagine what would happen if one eye decided to stay shut for a month. Or if a leg decided not to move. It would cause the whole body distress, and readjustment to learning how to live life without that eye or leg. And, when that eye or leg decides to work again, there’s a readjustment back, and perhaps much mistrust.

      It is okay, however, to need a rest. To take time to heal a sickness, or to sleep, like every body needs. The pain is in the brutal pulling out of community, which I believe is spiritual warfare. It’s easy to defeat an enemy who’s arm decided to stop working, right? So it makes sense to me that Satan attacks the communities of Christ, seeking to make the body weak. Let’s pull together, shall we? I’ll watch your back while you rest, and you watch mine. Stay strong, friend, we’re standing with you. <3

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