How are ya? Seriously.

Our group sat around the small tables at Starbucks hoarding all the nice chairs. I got the new drink “Maple Pecan Latte.” I wouldn’t recommend it, and I say this as a lover of most Starbucks drinks. It just wasn’t that good. Anyway, we got the nice chairs, and, as we sipped our drinks, Kris threw out the question: “How prospers your soul?”

Essentially, how are you doing? How are you really doing? More than good or bad or this or that… deep down in the core of you… how are ya?

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I’m going to come back to this. But first…

I’m convinced the internet has changed things. We feel like we are connected (almost all the time) to other people. We see constant glimpses into one another’s lives through pictures and snaps. We read updates on our neighbors via Facebook and Twitter. We make our opinions known on X, Y, and Z via certain social media threads or in the comments of a latest article.

What I’m questioning is that, despite having community instantly at our fingertips, are we even connected at all? We have the ability to only post the best photos (and most do), our most witty thoughts, and our most passionate political opinions. We also have the ability to turn each other off. We can unfollow, unfriend, block, delete, and shun one another all from the comfort of our own living room with one click.

Maybe it’s the other way around. We are connected but not living in community.

“We are connected but not living in community.” 

 

People were made for community and, yet, I think people are starving for community.

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God created us as people who are to be in community – with him and with others.

“God created us as a people who are to be in community – with him and with others.” 

 

So, our group sat in chairs at Starbucks because we are committed to community with one another and with God, and Kris asked us the question, “How prospers your soul?”

There is something powerful about sitting around a table with other people and choosing to show up and bring your true self to the table. Around our table were people of different ages, in different life stages, of different political beliefs, and facing different trials. Yet, though our differences are many, our commonality is simply to love each other and to love Jesus. To be in community with one another and with God.

Our souls were landing everywhere on the spectrum. Some of our souls were tired, exhausted, worn out from trying so hard and yet still falling short – tired and needing God to show up, give his strength, move mountains. Some of our souls were hungry – feeling far from God and, in that distance and disconnectedness, needing a filling of his spirit. Some of our souls were doing really well and experiencing God in new and exciting ways. I liked best when one of my friends said, “There were times this week when my soul prospered, and there were times this week when it did not.”

Nobody corrected one another. Nobody talked over each other. Nobody even really offered advice to one another. It was simply a time of one person sharing and everybody else listening. It was acknowledging each other: we see you, we hear you, we love you. We affirm where you are in life, and we affirm the work God is doing in you. With the occasional, “I’ve been there, too” thrown in. After everybody had shared conversation naturally gave way to talking about the latest podcast and each person continued to contribute thoughts, opinions, personal antidotes, questions. Real. Honest. Conversation.

Why am I sharing all this? I don’t really know. Other than it was life-giving. I left desiring to be closer with God, feeling connected, knowing how to pray for and encourage my friends this week.

We don’t always have to shout to be heard. We don’t have to engage in an online argument for people to change. We don’t have to only post the good pictures for people to love us.

We simply have to show up together.

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Contributor: Randi Shepherd 
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