My name is Taylor Navel. I come from a small town full of big things (aka world’s largest things aka Casey, IL.) I am currently a Social Work major in my junior year at Greenville College. Here at GC, community is a word we hear on the daily, which makes me hate it, just a little. However, in all reality I absolutely LOVE the idea of community and have no idea what I would do without my community.
So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D O A
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week
Your month or even your year but
I’ll be there for you
So now that you have hummed the Friends theme song in your head (You’re welcome) let’s get to it. Who are the people you count on? Who are the people that you would drop everything to go help? Your inner circle? Your no-matter-what people? Your best friend? Maybe a family member? Possibly the people who have helped build your faith? Well anyway, I like to call these people my home team.
Now if you only know one thing about me, you know that I do not have a single athletic bone in my body. So I don’t know a lot about being on a real team. However, I’ve had a few different communities around me that have most definitely been my team. The thing about teams is that they change. My home team has changed since I started college and your home team will change too. You meet new people and you lose people.
“The goal of true Biblical friendship is about helping each other become fully devoted followers of Christ. Sometimes, that’s through laughter, sometimes that is through speaking the truth in love” (Becoming a Fully Devoted Follower of Christ).
Each person on your home team has a special gift to share with you and you have a special gift to share with them. I have cheerleaders on my home team who encourage. I have coaches, who correct me, give me advice; they are the mentors I look up to in their relationship with Christ. I have teammates, who walk with me in my faith. After church camp this year (shout out to Brush Creek), I have had a bible study online through Google Hangouts with 4 other women every week. We share the Word with each other and pray with each other. They are apart of my home team and have definitely encouraged me to stay devoted. We read multiple books of the Bible together and spend quality time at retreats and sleepovers at the church. Your home team is the people you share life with.
What can you do to help your home team?
Pray for them faithfully.
I don’t just mean include them in your bedtime prayers (which is great also, I have a prayer wall in my dorm room for that). I mean when they are telling you what a terrible day they have had, pause, hug them tight, and pray over them. I have had a new addition to my home team in the past month or so. A few weeks ago we were sitting on her roof talking with two other friends about how our past weeks had been. I had been really drained from school and work. Once we were done she just said “I want to pray for you guys, can we do that right now?” I won’t ever forget the peace of that moment and the love I felt. After we talked, prayed, and drank lots of hot tea, she grabbed her guitar and we sang worship songs for an hour or so. When I left her little apartment I no longer felt drained, but so incredibly full. I can’t count how many times this girl has prayed for me. Instead of telling people we will pray for them, do it right in that moment.
Spend time with them and share with them.
When I was in high school I had an awesome group of friends. We had a blast! We did everything together. They were good friends, loving, encouraging, Christians. We had the best times! I have so many awesome memories with them, but they never saw me broken, never saw any of the bad, we didn’t share our struggles with each other. I know now stories of things we all went through during that friendship that we should have come to each other for. Sharing your struggles is scary and hard, but I think when we give that part of ourselves to someone who loves us we get so much more in return. Sharing the hurt and pain in our life is part of community.
Encourage and thank them.
Let the people on your home team know what they mean to you. Unfortunately the people who we are encouraged by most and the ones we appreciate so much, aren’t the ones that we tell often. So, call them up, send them a letter in the mail, text them, whatever you do, let them know the influence they have had on you, the strengths you notice in them, and how much you love them. Maybe you could pick one person a day for a month. Just make sure they know. You don’t want to wait to talk about the things you love about them after they are gone when you can’t look them in the eyes and tell them. Maybe they don’t know what they mean to you or the change they have made in your life. I completely believe God gives us people in our lives when we need them.
Choose them wisely.
So here’s a question that is asked fairly often in the church. Is it okay to have friends who aren’t Christians? Absolutely! If you’ve read any of the four Gospels you know that Jesus did. You get the opportunity to share Christ with them as you build a relationship with them. If we only created relationships with Christians we wouldn’t be able to share the gospel (which is our main job). My freshman year of college I had a few friendships like that. It started out great. These were the people I spent a ton of time with. I was able to freely share Jesus with them. They asked questions, and they always told me I had such an impact on them. However, we talked about other things too, worldly things, that didn’t line up with what I believe. I didn’t participate in any of these things, but I didn’t have to. I slowly noticed how easy it was for them to talk about these things in front of me and I wasn’t okay with that. I noticed the influence that they were having on me all the while they weren’t having any changes in their lives. If your friendships are influencing you in a harmful way, more than you are influencing them as a light, I think it is best to take a few steps back or even walk away completely. Proverbs 13:20 states, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Also, you don’t need a ton of friends. I actually find that to be worse. Be intentional. Currently, many of the friendships I have are friendships where we can build each other up in our faith, keep each other accountable, learn from each other, and worship with each other. I think that that is beautiful.