I’ve just come home from a women’s retreat. The last time I saw most of these women in person was at last year’s women’s retreat about this time of year. Since then, all of our interaction has been via Zoom or Facebook groups.
Our theme for the year comes from Hebrews 10:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews `10:23-25
The theme of the retreat was “Hold Fast.”
The term hold fast comes from sailing terms. In a storm, you secure yourself first, then help others. Hold fast – secure yourself to the confession of our hope without wavering. For He who promised is faithful. It’s a beautiful, comforting thought as we near an end to an entire year of this pandemic storm.
I was one of the three speakers and I spoke on not forsaking the assembly. Among the points I made in my 45-minute teaching was that we need other people in our lives. God did not intend for us to be alone. He intended for us to be in community with each other.
We read about fasting throughout the Bible. Throughout history, God has called man to fast and pray, and to pray and fast. Christ himself went into the wilderness for forty days and fasted. It’s good, healthy, and holy to fast. But it there is also a time to break the fast and to feast again. To continue to fast would cease to be good, to be healthy, to be holy. It would become unhealthy, even bad, and eventually, you would die. At the end of forty days, Christ did not continue to fast. Angels came and ministered to him, feeding him food and water, restoring his strength.
Much like fasting, there are times that isolation is required. I have a very isolating job. I sit in my little office in front of a computer screen and, without any kind of human interaction, write for hours on end. In fact, if there is human interaction, it pulls me out of the story in my head that I’m trying to convey onto the screen and it takes me a while to get back to where I was.
I am the introvert’s introvert. Interaction with people actually exhausts me. That’s not just a fable from a meme on social media. I’ve always thought I could take that challenge to go live in one of those bubbles, cut off from people, for a full year and be just fine.
Despite my personal introvertedness, we are designed to be in a community. A year ago today I could have written about this and none of us would have a true understanding of what it’s like to NEED community. Now, a full year since the shut down of much of the world, since the closings of restaurants, the canceling of Bible studies and church services, the limit in holiday gatherings and the way many of us have simply not done anything or not gone anywhere as we waited for a solution to the pandemic, right now at this moment, we ALL know what it means to need community.
It was hard to go to the women’s retreat and not worry about the virus. We all stayed masked. We constantly sanitized. Everything was well ordered.
Once there, I realized how much my soul actually longed for that connection with sisters in Christ. I NEEDED that time. I needed to make eye contact that was real eye contact and not pretend eye contact as I looked at the camera lens instead of the image being projected of someone’s face.
Even speaking on needing community, I wasn’t prepared for the way that being with my friends filled a gaping hole inside of me that I didn’t even know was there.
We’re all ready for a return to normal. In the midst of that, let me encourage you to (safely) discover or rediscover community. Find your people and connect with them. Fill your empty well, even if that connection doesn’t look like it looked a year ago.
Like most people, I long for a time when this is the distant past. When we can think about this pandemic and say, “Remember that time when…”
In the meantime, hold fast. Secure yourself to the confession of our hope without wavering. For He who promised is faithful.
This is my last blog post here on Inspy Romance. I am concentrating on writing romantic suspense novels for the next several years. I will miss this community and will continue to hold you all in my prayers.