The Land of the Living
It’s Saturday! I’m not sure what you’re doing today but I hope it contains a little fun. Whether it’s going by the game room, playing Ultimate outside, or just hanging out in the on-campus coffee shop, you need to take a little bit of time to enjoy this season, which means you probably need to be around some people.
This post is for all of you introverts, loners, and those who aren’t sure they want to go through the trouble of making friends. Take it from this introvert with trust issues: YOU NEED PEOPLE. And today is the best day to explore the people God has placed in your path.
It’s one thing to tell extroverts to go make friends. It appears easy for those who are already out going to go find a group of students to hang with. It’s hard for those of us who are shy and have to muster up the strength to just say ‘hi’ to someone we’ve never met. It’s even harder if you have some kind of physical feature that makes you feel different from everyone else. I have a slight speech impediment that only comes out when I’m nervous. And there’s nothing more nerve-wrecking than trying to carry on a conversation with someone new. Sometimes its just easier to stay in the dorm room & put on Netflix. It may be easier, but it’s not better.
There’s a verse in the Psalms that I often quote to people going through unique struggles:
“But I have sure faith that I will experience the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living!” – Psalms 27:13 CEB
This is an encouraging verse, but I found it challenging one day when I saw something implicit in its promise: the context of the Lord’s goodness is the ‘land of the living’. It’s where the people are. Could it be that there’s a degree to which my experience of God’s goodness is limited if I stay away from people? I could tell you story after story about how this thought has been more true than not in my life. If it is true, it doesn’t change the fact that people are scary, right? What if they reject me? What if they don’t even respond? The next verse speaks to the concern:
“Hope in the LORD! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the LORD!” – Psalms 27:14 CEB
“Let your heart take courage!” is what the Psalmist says. It’s a risk putting yourself out there, but you’re not alone in taking that risk. God is with you, ready to strengthen you as you look for opportunities to make new friends this semester. So put on your favorite shirt and get out of your dorm room today! The land of the living is waiting for you.
P.S. – To all of the extroverts, outgoing, and fun people reading this post: let the Spirit use you this semester. When someone takes a risk to talk to you, honor their efforts by responding with grace and open-hearted acceptance. By doing this, you will also experience the Lord’s goodness in new, profound ways.
Let’s all be good to each other – we need us!