What are your reasons for not being connected with others in a Group? Here are the common reasons I have used or have heard by others.
1. I don’t think I need to.
Its easy for me to feel a self sufficiency that keeps me from connecting or depending on others. I actually think, “I can handle all that life throws at me, I can do this!”
I heard a story about Mohammed Ali (I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a good) Mohammed Ali was on an airplane and refused to buckle his seat belt and the flight attendant said, “Sir, you’re going to have to buckle your seat belt!”
He responded, “Superman don’t need no seat belt!”
To which the flight attendant responded, “And Superman didn’t need no air plane either! Buckle up!”
And some of us are like that. We think, “I’m strong, I don’t need anyone or anything. It’s not true. We have limits, and can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. When someone dies, when you’r laid off, when there’s more month than the end of the money, we do need someone.
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10
2. “I’m Shy/Introverted”
This is me. I prefer to listen and not talk a whole lot. Being alone creates energy and is necessary for me, but it’s no excuse to avoid people all together. Being introverted is not a good enough reason to miss out on all the blessings of being connected with others. What I have discovered is that in a group, I don’t have to be the center of attention. I can sit and just listen. You can too. Here’s what you need to know: In a Growth Group at The Ridge you will not be singled out. You will not be put on the spot. You will not be asked to read out loud or pray out loud unless you want to. You don’t even have to say anything, just get to know people and when you’re ready open up or share as you feel led.
3. “I’m Afraid”
Even those of you that are outgoing, It’s still hard to get involved with a group of people when you don’t know everyone. Perhaps you build up scenarios that certain things are going to happen. You might imagine that you would go to the door and then the whole group would be waiting for you, like they’d been talking about you or praying for hours and just couldn’t wait for you to finally get there! And then, when you step in they’ve got this circle of chairs and then in the middle all by itself is your chair! Then, they’re going to make you sit in the middle and then everybody’s going to lay their hands on you and pray for you for four hours until you confess all of your sins!
Who want to go through that!? And for those of you who think that that’s what happens in our Growth Groups, we don’t do that until the second meeting! No, not at all.
Then there’s the fear of exposing the real you, to be able to say, “Here’s what’s really going on in my life.” “I’m talking my mask off and need to share what’s breaking my heart.” That’s scary. It’s hard to let somebody know, “here’s where I struggle, here’s the real me.”
3. I’ve Had Bad Experiences in the Past”
I’ve been betrayed relationally and hurt by others in the past. I’m sure you have too. Your response may be like mine, “I’ll never let that happen again!” I may feel that, but it’s not a healthy response. It’s like having a bad meal and saying “I’m never going to eat again!” That doesn’t work when it comes to our needs. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t let past experiences keep us from God’s best. Often when we attempt worthwhile endeavors there are obstacles and setbacks. The first time I tried walking I fell down, the first time I was learning to drive was dangerous to me and others. Relationships will have their share of misunderstandings, hurts and conflicts, but on the other side of working through those are better things: understanding, communication, comfort, teamwork, satisfaction, fun and love.
5. “I’m Busy”
This may be the most common reason used today. “I can’t go to a Growth Group, I’m already out eight nights a week, I can’t! I’m busy, I’d love to but it’s not on my schedule.”
Some questions I ask myself: How many things am I not doing that I know I should be doing but don’t do because I’m busy? And how many things are in my schedule that are contributing nothing to my life? Is a chaotic schedule telling me how to live? Is being busy with good things, keeping me from the best?
Personally the times when I have said, “Today, I don’t have time for this group,” is the time that I really need it the most. A word of encouragement, a good laugh, an incredible insight or wise word, a prayer or confession touches me deeply. In my tendency to be busy, I can actually isolate myself. Isolation for any reason is not good.
God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Genesis 2:18. Not good. Alone-ness. This is what God says after creating everything and saying, “good, good, good, good, good and very good! He see’s man “alone” and says “not good.” A person or group of people we meet with, talk with, learn with, plan with, serve with, pray with, and grow with removes alone-ness. And I need that.
How about you? Are any of these reasons your reasons? Are there any other reasons you can think of?
PS. In the next post I’ll share some reasons we NEED to be connected.