Discerning NEXT STEPS in life is not a solo process. I am learning you shouldn’t make big life-changing decisions in isolation. Community — real friends and fellowship — are not bonus nice things, but necessary things. We are created for community, and only a fool makes decisions without input from wise people and from community.
One of the hardest things about what has happened — what I have done — is that I have lost my community, most of my friends, and the people I have been “doing life with” for the past 5 years. That can never be replaced — not in the sense that I may not find another community, but you can’t replace people.
So one of the most important NEXT STEPS for me these last few weeks has been to find some people to come around me — who will care for me and advocate for me and challenge me and help me through the journey.
It has been amazing to see God’s provision in this. I have connected with old friends who I had lost touch with, connected with people I ony had passing aquaintances with, but have now become integral to the process, and connected with people I only knew through the books they wrote. So I definitely have 5 or 6 people around me now helping me navigate my next steps… while none of that changes how much I miss my community, it is a good thing.
What did I look for in these people? A couple of things:
1. Older… while older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser or more experienced, it does help. It also gives them a better perspective.
2. Experience… I need people around me who have some experience dealing with the issues I am delaing with and have helped others in similiar situations.
3. Love Jesus and love the word… that is a non-negotiable.
4. Wisdom and honesty… they need to have great wisdom and discernment and be willing to be ruthlessly honest with me.
5. For me… they need to be people who actually care about me, no matter what happens. I don’t need to be someone’s project or problem to solve.
So far, I have been really blessed by the people God has put around me.