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Power of Community

You were never meant to be alone.

If you find yourself alone because no one seems to understand or because you can’t imagine sharing your struggle; listen in.

We’re exploring the need we all carry for community.

There is power within a circle of safety and good listening. And you deserve it.

Maybe you’ve found community and been hurt within it.

This is for you too.

Highlights:

Pain alone is awful. Pain together is bearable.

Healing from Trauma requires intimacy because intimacy is where the trauma happened. – Curt Thompson

Maybe you’re thinking, “There’s nobody else like this. There’s nobody else feeling this like me. There’s nobody else doing the things I do.” So, let’s talk about shame for a bit because we all need community. But, I think that no matter your struggle – whether it’s porn or hooking up or if it’s anger with God-  don’t let shame tell you that you don’t belong in community, that you don’t deserve community, that you should be alone. 

Maybe the first time you go to a community group, you just listen. That’s great. You’re showing up, you’re listening. And that’s a big step.

Phiippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. v14 Even so, you have done well to share in my present difficulty. 

Prayer for Community:

Hands open to ask God to fill them with community.

Hand to your heart to name the pain of your disappointment or sorrow.

Hand to your belly to acknowledge the hunger to be seen and heard.

Help the show

This Episode’s Transcription

Andrea 0:00
Design. Welcome back to another episode of sacred by Design. Today as with me, and we are going to talk about something very near and dear to both of our hearts. And the question that came up as we were preparing is, you know, what makes trying to pick up the pieces after being cheated on or as you’re trying to quit porn? Or uncover your longings? What makes that even more difficult is trying to do it alone. You are never meant to be alone. You are not alone. There is power in community. And Anne is with us today to help us see it, find it and build it. So let’s do it. Yes.

Anne 0:42
I’m glad to be back. Good.

Andrea 0:45
I’m so glad. Where do we start? Where do we even start?

Anne 0:51
Well, when I think about a group coming together, and circling one another, listening, offering a nod, a tear ASABE I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be is with a group of women, or men and women who are willing to come together and listen to one another. Can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

Andrea 1:19
I remember when we were brainstorming for ideas, even just for the show. And you know, we’re always trying to think about what we’re hearing in our sessions, or just what we’re experiencing as women, ourselves and in our lives. And when you had mentioned something about your wives group, and like you said, there’s somebody coming is coming in and crying, and to see other people crying around them. We all just were like, Oh, yeah. Wow, that’s something you take for granted. When you have it. Sometimes you take it for granted, right. And it’s the power of community. I know in my life, my community is a treasure, an absolute treasure.

Anne 2:00
And throughout my life, different groups have meant the world to me, and I think of a time that I was in a house church, literally called, like the house church of pain. And I don’t think I would have gotten through that time without this group. I was struggling with infertility. over a number of years, there was a friend in there that was a new widow. A good friend was he was single and very lonely. There was a marriage crisis in the group. And we didn’t hurt each other. We listened. We came together and met needs prayed, laughed, cried. And no one offered advice or tools or anything. It was just it made the biggest difference in that very painful, crushing time of my life.

Andrea 3:00
Just being able to share that.

Anne 3:03
Wow. And not feel alone. And maybe this is a season maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s whatever it is it is and that’s how we gathered.

Andrea 3:19
So you are all coming with very distinct pain, but the common thread was pain. Wow. Wow.

Anne 3:28
Oh yeah, I hold that near and dear to want one of the more important groups in my whole life

Andrea 3:36
because it’s deeper pain has that effect. And I think that that’s why this conversation is so important is because pain alone is awful. But pain together is bearable. Did it make it bearable for

Anne 3:54
made it bearable? And I made it a place on what I can’t remember exactly what night we met, but that night I knew I would find comfort I would find solace. I didn’t feel so different, you know, trying to you know, have a child and struggle and the doctors and the pain and the disappointment I just needed just somewhere to be.

Andrea 4:21
Oh, that’s good. What a gift that was it was huge. A sense of community might be one of those longings that is unfulfilled. It is not always easy to really surround yourself with people who can just listen or or can share that sentiment with you. So what do we do about that? Kurt Thompson, who we both really respect. He said healing from trauma requires intimacy because intimacy is where the trauma happened. intimacy is necessary and terrifying and terrifying. So how do we begin to build? How do we begin to build community? If I mean, I imagine with something like trauma that you hold it so tight to yourself. So then how do you be? How do you begin to release that and circle yourself?

Anne 5:22
Very safe people? Yeah, really safe. Yeah, say that enough? Yeah. I mean, acknowledging it, and I’m terrified. I don’t know if I trust it. I don’t know if it exists. And you just good just put your big toe in. And that’s all you do. And you just little by little you enter into a group with your big tau and test it out and make sure it’s safe. And it’s an acknowledged just the, the fear of it.

Andrea 6:00
It doesn’t take it away, does it?

Anne 6:06
Maybe not, maybe it isn’t so loud, the fear. But that’s where, you know, you, you, you join you, you join a community, and you have people like coming alongside and saying, Hey, show up. I’m here. Just come.

Andrea 6:32
That’s a big ask. But then also, I think that with the intimacy of trauma, shame can be a real component also, especially if you’ve been carrying something so close to yourself for a while. There’s nobody else like this. There’s nobody else feeling this, like me. There’s nobody else doing these things that I do. So let’s talk about shame for a bit, because we all need community. But I think that no matter your struggle, whether it’s porn or hooking up, or if it’s anger with God, don’t let shame tell you that you don’t belong in community, that you don’t deserve community that you should be alone. So that is the motivation, I think, behind our conversation, and our hope. And our prayer is that you hear you listeners hear that no matter what it is that you’re struggling with, that the invitation is for you to that there’s community for you to and that you are not meant to be alone.

Anne 7:34
Yeah, I, I believe that. And, you know, having a trusted friend to do it with, right, somebody saying I struggle to, so you feel safe off the bat. I’ve been there. Maybe the leader feels you know, the leader, and you know that you can trust them, because they are honest about their own life, either struggling themselves, they’ve been betrayed. And you, you take a chance, because it is like a lifesaver. So you take a chance, and you maybe the first time you go to a community group, you just listen, and that’s okay.

Andrea 8:16
Oh, that’s good. That’s great. So maybe the first time you visit, you just listen. Yeah, yeah.

Anne 8:23
You’re just showing up.

Andrea 8:25
And that’s a big step. I don’t know where I’ve heard this before. But that emotions are contagious. And so I feel like especially being in a group if you’ve been holding something for so long on your own, to sit down and just listen. But also witness emotions of compassion, or understanding or a shared sadness, that, that emotion if you let it be contagious, if it touches you just a little bit, it’s such a great first step to breaking down some of the walls that we build up around ourselves.

Anne 9:03
Yeah, like, Oh, me too. Yeah. The word you just used is what I feel. And, okay, okay, I’ll go back. I might go back another week, because that emotion you shared is always right there on the surface. The tears are always right there ready to burst out and when you share that, I felt permission to have that too.

Andrea 9:34
I just think about you know, if whatever the struggle is that somebody might be holding on to, to witness somebody else crying about hope for something, you know, for a change, and maybe even hope isn’t something that you’ve allowed yourself to even consider. It’s just so good. Yeah, it is.

Anne 9:57
You can almost taste it for yourself. Yeah.

Andrea 10:01
And so in addition to spiritual coaching, you lead a wives group here in that region. So obviously, you’re not going to share details because that’s betraying but can you explain some of the what you notice in a group setting? What’s distinct about a group setting?

Anne 10:19
Well, they finally feel like the women in the group get it. Maybe they don’t feel like their outside friends really understand what it feels like to be betrayed. And the six women in the group are I feel that. And there is encouragement between one another there is, you got this, you know, you, I feel the same way. One more step. Take one more step. And we’re going to do this together. We’re going to show up next week. Oh, I love that. Yeah, I wouldn’t trade it. And I don’t think they would either.

Andrea 11:02
So there there are ground rules, or what are some of the ground rules? Okay, so let’s, let’s talk about some of those. So that anybody who is listening and might even consider some sort of group work, or community setting, what are some of the ground rules that are set up for a successful group work?

Anne 11:20
Well, 100% confidentiality, and any group out there feel safe when it’s confidential, and you know that what you share stays there. Now you can go to your friends or spouse, or you know, and say, This is what I shared, this is what I’m getting out of it. But you don’t share anything that’s going on with anybody else in the group. And you’re honest. And you, you know, you share from your own experience. And you don’t give advice or you know, your advice is, hey, this is what I’ve done. And this is how it’s helped me, but not what you should do. We’re all in it together. But we’re on our own journey and our own pace. And it’s, that’s how it works. That’s how it works best with everyone feels as though nothing’s going to be shared, and it’s a safe place.

Andrea 12:16
And nobody’s fixing anything. No, that’s

Anne 12:18
right. That’s where you stop giving advice.

Andrea 12:23
I mean, that that’s a gift where you don’t have to offer there’s nothing expected of you, other than just to share and hold other people’s stories in a safe, confidential way. This, we pick this title for a reason. We cannot stress it enough. I feel like I’m jumping out of my shoes a little bit about it just because I hate the idea of people thinking that they’re alone. I don’t want one woman listening to leave this episode thinking any differently than I meant for community. I meant to be circled around by friends who understand me or want to listen. And that there’s more than carrying these things so tightly on your own.

Anne 13:13
Yeah. And I, you know, maybe this would be a good time just even say, there is hurt to in groups, you know, there is sometimes not feeling understood, and not finding a group that fits right away. And that opens up like, the cavern, right? Have I tried it out and it didn’t fit or I tried it out I and I wasn’t ready for it or something like that. It’s just say that it’s okay to say that. and name the disappointment there.

Andrea 13:54
Yikes, yeah, that’s really good. There are in my own experience with pain, I feel like pain is a really impressive professor. And pain has really taught me in really pointed ways and two of the verses that I feel like can sound really solitary that a lot of people put on Pinterest or you know, will have up and on a poster board or on their lock screen or something is I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me from Philippians four and then from Hebrews 12. You know, I run the race set before me. Those are powerful. And those are powerful scriptures. However, Philippians four, a friend Colleen actually pointed out to me when I was not well, that the phrase just after I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me is but it was good of you to share in my troubles. And that idea of relieving some of the weight of what we’re carrying. And putting a little light on some of the shame or guilt of nobody else does this or nobody else sees this, nobody else feels this, to share it, then then yes, I can do things through Christ who strengthens me. But then also, and Hebrews 12, I can run the race set before me. And you know, Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of my faith. But the phrase before it is, remember, I’m surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. So it’s really intentional that while you’re doing your work while you’re running your race, so to speak, that you are also really mindful of, of this great cloud of witnesses of this team. And it’s not a hype squad.

Unknown Speaker 15:53
It’s a lot more than I asked God, yeah, this is like,

Andrea 15:57
I get you, I see you. Full stop.

Anne 16:04
Thank you so much for sharing those those brought so much more depth to the the phrase that you just shared with us. I love it. Thank you.

Andrea 16:15
Pain is a great teacher. Yeah, I’ve been a great student. But it, I could not have had that insight or understanding of, you know, just the focus of Jesus ahead of me without the people around me, encouraging me to look to Him, encouraging me to say, you know, you’re not alone in this. You will get through this keep on Yeah. And you have scars, guess what I do, too. And my scars are a little older than yours. Let’s talk about how, it’s, it’s so powerful. So for the people listening, who I mean, we’re pride, all different places of whether we’re longing for community, or we’re deep in community. something we’d like to do on the episodes is end with some sort of spiritual practice. So is there a practice that we can use today in relation to community,

Anne 17:20
I have one, and it’s, it’s kind of a simple, it’s a simple prayer. And I was thinking, Andrea, if, if anybody is thinking, I’m going to jump into the prayer, but, you know, I have I long for community and I’ve been hurt by community, I want you to find courage to, in our prayer, to keep asking God for it. Or name the pain, right? So that’s gonna be part of my prayer is we’re going to be maybe potentially opening our hands asking God to put community in there, if it’s been lacking. Maybe it’s put your hand on your heart, and name a pain of disappointment in a in a community group. Or just a sorrow that you’re feeling. Or if you even want to put your hand on your belly, which is our hunger, reminder that our bellies and ache where we’re hungry, we long and maybe you’re longing for to be heard and seen, like you and I have shared during this podcast, and Jesus says, you know, come to me, all you who hunger and thirst. And I do believe because he walked in community. He had those three, those 12 and his three, he wants you to find it. And so let’s have just a minute or two prayer time, and if you’re listening at home, I offer you to consider one of these postures. If it is putting your hand on your heart, naming a pain. If it is a hunger, your hand on your belly, if it’s your hand open, ask him to put a group in your hands. And so Lord, thank you. Thank you for that you are the part of the Trinity Jesus, Father, Son, Holy Spirit in community. Pray for the women listening, who have longings to be seen and heard and known and a place to laugh and cry. When you hear their prayers, you see their postures now at their where their hand is if it’s longing Lord, hear their longing, if it’s their hands open, give them community, a place to belong. Courage to step back in or courage to begin one will Holy God, hear the prayers of these women? You, Lord, offer us a home. You offer us a place. Thank you. Would you offer that to these dear ones who are listening today? In Jesus name, amen. Amen.

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