I Thought I Hadn’t Found My People Yet, But There They Were
- May 20, 2018
- Rachel Dawson
I’ve been complaining for a while that I haven’t found my people yet.
I have this picture in my head of what I think it means to have “your people,” and my life doesn’t match that picture. To me, it looks like a solid group of girlfriends, ongoing group texts, weekly dinners out around town, living rooms full of friends cuddled up on couches watching reality shows together, tight-knit Bible study groups that meet weekly, vacationing and road-tripping together… And that’s just not my reality. So I’ve been complaining that I haven’t found my people yet.
I showed up at church on a recent Sunday morning when I wasn’t really feeling like I wanted to be there. (When you feel like you haven’t found your people, the last thing you want to do is go be around people.) I sat by myself, in the fifth row like always, and just as the service started, a dear friend slid in next to me. We started catching up as soon as the service ended, and she quickly suggested brunch so we could keep chatting. We saw another friend in the hallway as we were leaving, and invited her along as well.
As the three of us sat on a sunny patio and caught up, I updated them both on my life. I mentioned feeling disconnected from people at church. I mentioned friends at work. I talked about how our company had gone through some changes, and how my team had grown closer in the process. I processed through what I was desiring in community at church, what I felt like I wasn’t finding there.
And my friend stopped me as I started to complain once again about how I hadn’t found my people yet. “What about the friends at work you just mentioned?” she asked kindly. “Maybe they’re your people.”
It was such a simple yet powerful realization.
Because there I was, sharing conversation and brunch with two dear friends, talking about a whole group of other close friends from work, and somehow feeling like I didn’t have real friends.
The thing is, I have found my people. They just look a little different than I had expected.
We might not go out for dinner around town together or watch bad tv together or have Bible studies together, but we do go for walks on our lunch breaks, we email and g-chat and meet daily, we pray together once a week before work, we go to happy hours on Fridays at the bar near our office, and we do life together. They’re my people.
And there are the friends from Instagram who always comment encouraging words and share inspiration when I need it most, the bloggers I connect with daily over heartfelt posts and helpful advice, the long-distance friends I call when I can and see when our schedules align, the family members I spend time with weekly. They, too, are my people.
It all just looks a little different than I thought it would. And I’ve been missing the beauty and the value of these people because I was expecting “my people” to look like something else.
This same friend who gently helped me see that the people all around me might just be my people also shared a story from Scripture that brought this whole truth home.
In Luke 24:13-35, we read about two men who were walking to a village just after the death and resurrection of Jesus. They were discussing all that had recently happened, arguing over the details, lost in conversation. Jesus himself came up and started walking with them, but they had no clue it was him. He started asking them questions, started digging into the heart of the matters they were debating. They still didn’t know who he was, but they invited him to stick around anyway.
Once they sat down and broke bread together, the eyes of the men were opened, and they realized Jesus had been with them the whole time. He just didn’t look like they’d expected. It was different than they thought it would be, to be with this risen Jesus.
They couldn’t see him for who he was, because they were looking for something, someone, else.
I’ve been just like those two men.
I haven’t been seeing Jesus at work answering my prayers, because I’ve been expecting the outcome to look a certain way. And because my reality wasn’t like the picture I had in my mind, I was believing Jesus wasn’t answering my prayer and he wasn’t at work in my life.
But he did answer my prayer. He brought me my people. He brought close friends, loyal friends, intentional friends, faithful friends. He’s been at work, orchestrating the details of these relationships, creating openings for conversations, building connections between us, and I’ve been missing the beauty of it all because I was looking for something entirely different.
How often do we do this?
How often do we miss who Jesus is, what Jesus is doing, because we’re looking for something of our own creation, our own imagination, our own making?
Here’s what I’m taking away from that conversation with my wise friend and from that story in Luke 24:
- Our expectations and desire for control of our lives can blind us to the beautiful reality of what Christ is doing in our lives.
- God is always at work, we just need to open up our eyes, our hearts, and our lives to encounter and experience him and his blessings.
- We are a lot less alone than we think we are.
- I, too, have a key role to play when it comes to finding and building relationships with my people. It looks like showing up, it looks like opening up, it looks like stepping out, engaging, encouraging, seeking, it looks like starting conversations and asking questions, it looks like making an effort and keeping in touch, and it looks like inviting others in. Just like those two men, it looks like inviting those around us to stay a while, to share a meal and a conversation, even if we aren’t sure about who they are or what they will mean to us. They might just turn out to be the very people we have been hoping and praying to find all along.
Let’s be people who open our eyes to see that Jesus is right beside us and has been all along. Let’s invite him in, ask him to stay awhile, and ask him to help us see his presence and his influence in our lives. And let’s be people who show up for each other and be friends to one another– it might just be a whole lot better than we ever expected.