Welcome Girlfriends!

Thank you for joining us to turn the pages of Becoming a True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. We will spend the next 17 weeks or so sharing our thoughts and maybe even asking one another some questions. We will most likely give each other some things to think on. If you’ve chosen to read this book with us you I can guess you already know that finding and growing in community is not something that happens easily. Since we are all here to learn more, let’s dig in and get started.photo-3

If this is your first time reading about Girlfriends & Bookends, we would love to have you join us. You can order your book or kindle copy here and jump in with us. Comment here on the blog post and let me know you would like to get started.

Will you take time this week to get someone to take a picture of you curled up in your favorite spot read with us? Here are the Girlfriends who curled up on the worn leather sofa to turn the pages with us.

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“I ponder my experience and I recognize once more that the way for us to be in the world is  to focus on the spiritual life. – Henri Nouwen” (From Chapter 1).

Larry Crabb begins to ask questions to consider on page 191.

He says “Confusion and disappointment are inevitable on the journey toward spiritual maturity. But the up side of confusion is openness, and the upside of disappointment is that it inspires hope by making it necessary.” He goes on to ask “What disappointments have you encountered along the way, disappointments that God is undoubtedly using to grow your faith and make you mature in Christ?”

I can relate to the confusion he speaks of. I’ve had my share of disappointments and hurts over the years in my attempts toward spiritual maturity in relationship with others. The disappointments were not always by others – some were brought on by my own choices.  I’ve found that if I can be sincere in my  desire to grow and in my commitment to struggle well, that’s more than half the battle.

The safe community he speaks of that offers healing power, I believe is cultivated over time. Although it takes intentional effort, it is well worth the investment. I need a safe place to be able to share that I don’t have life all figured out. A place where it’s ok to have questions that may never be answered this side of heaven. And I need to see that others struggle too. I am grateful God uses our disappointments and confusion to lead us to Himself. I’ve had to learn over time, and still need to be reminded…it’s not the answer that is most important, but that the questions might lead us to Him…that’s what really matters as we work to understand true spiritual community.

Join me in sharing your thoughts. Will you?

You may want to touch on my comment, or you may want to bring something completely different to the discussion. Please let the little keys on your keypad give us a glimpse into what has spoken to you from this chapter.

One little thought…let’s keep it to what we are learning about ourselves in the pursuit of community. I know it might be tempting to touch on where others have let us down in our pursuit.I know we all want to better understand what it takes to be healthy in community.

Please share your comments below.

As you share, your name will be entered to win a copy of this month’s Book Giveaway – God’s Dream For You: Finding Lasting Change In Jesus by Matthew Barnett from The Dream Center in Los Angeles, California.

 

15 comments on “Girlfriends & Bookends ~ Don’t Expect It To Be Easy”

  1. Since my book has not arrived yet, I was only able to read what amazon shows in its “look inside” section, the forwards intro and maybe page 1.
    Anyway, I really liked the story of “Let’s turn our chairs”, I tend to be that elderly person that goes to church, looks straight ahead and doesn’t really engage with those sitting around me. It has actually been really easy for me to do that with the circumstances I am in these past few months. A simple thought right? Community can only begin if you turn your chair and risk talking to someone else, but also how uncomfortable it can be sometimes.

    • Laura, I love that you jumped in and got the comments started! I just sent snapshots of the pages you were not able to read so that you will be able to finish the chapter before your book arrives.

      The whole book is written around the challenge of turning our chairs toward one another rather than being disconnected, without real conversation and unwilling to relate with each other.

      Thx for sharing how uncomfortable it can be at times.

  2. This was a great chapter. I completely agree that our efforts to change will be confusing and disappointing at times. As I’ve walked through life, there have been many times that I’ve turned my chair and opened up only to be let down, to experience no real community or accountability. But I like that he points out that none of us really know what we’re talking about. That we’re all struggling to change together. One of my favorite lines in this chapter is : “If we’re not confused about anything, its likely that we’re grasping the truth about nothing important.” To often, I don’t really feel confused about anything. And I want to welcome confusion into my like so that I can grasp truth that is of great importance.

    Disappointment inspires hope by making it necessary indeed.

    • Kristy,
      I love that you continue to seek out community even though you have been let down in the past. I may even be on the list of those who have disappointed you. Yet, we continue to press on toward the goal…right? Thank you for grace. Thank you for your hunger to know God more and to make Him known. We can learn from you in your desire to “welcome confusion”
      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. The first time I visited Florida many years ago, I saw many retirement communities similar to the one the author was talking about. There were rows of them. When I saw them I thought, why after all these years of working and planning would they retire to a place where they sat around and did nothing, just waiting to die. It was a sad sight to see. It really made an impression on me. For years after, whenever someone mentioned Florida, that is the memory that came to mind.
    I yearn for a community where people really connect. I’m use to be one of those who, when ask the question, how are you? I really answered. Then I learned it was something people, in social situations, politely asked, but not meant to answer. I still question the thinking behind that one.
    As a Christian drop out of church and religion, I many times, ponder the question, what makes up a real Christian community.
    I for one am ready for a journey through spiritual enlightenment with others to form a closer bond with my Lord.

    • Debie,
      I am so glad you are taking this journey with us. How precious that God would have given you a literal picture to think back on as you read the chapter. I trust God to meet you at your point of yearning.
      Thank you for sharing.

  4. I am grateful to have always had a husband who makes it safe to truly be myself, who is my safe place to land. I am also blessed to have a friend who lives out a beautiful example of Christ’s love and grace, who walks with me through the rough patches and lets me wrestle through my questions without taking offense. She prays for me, truly listens to both my words and my heart, and always loves.

    I am profoundly grateful for the sweet community provided by my husband, grown children, and a few very close friends. I am also blessed to be part of a church family where such community is both encouraged and made possible by the intentional building of it into the DNA of the church processes. I thank God every day for His provision of true community in my life.

    • Lisa,
      I think you said it well when you said “…let’s me wrestle through my questions without taking offense.” we need that from one another, don’t we? I am grateful to have you turning the pages with us.

  5. This is so fun! I love not only reading the book but reading everyones comments. I kinda like that it took me a few days to read and respond to see what others have written. I think I’m gonna really like this book. Larry Crabb is a Christian counselor and someone that I look up to not only spiritually but professionally so I love that I can relate to so much of what he says from a counseling perspective. The biggest thing that I took away from the first chapter was when he was talking about how dissapointment is inevitable and he says, “Chrisitanity remakes our dreams before it fulfills them.” That resounds with me and has echoed through my thoughts since I read it. Kristy I like your comment a lot and realize that I want to be open to that disappointment and confusion as well because I need to be challenged and I want my dreams to change and form into what Christ wants them to be. I’ve had glimpses of of spiritual community like that but feel it lacking at the moment so I have really been praying about practically what it looks like for me to take action and have that community again. I think this book came along at a good time in my life 🙂

    • Lauren,
      Yes, I agree that his comments about our dreams is pretty profound. God DOES remake them before He fulfills them. A little bit of refinement, huh? I love that you are willing to admit to the need to “take action”. Not always easy, is it? I love when God shows us His timing, and I am grateful this book club came along at just the right time for you. Glad you are here with us!

  6. Wow. What knowledge I’m gaining here. So thankful to be reading this too, Lauren, at this token in life ;-). One of the biggest things I struggled with in the past and am learning is that turning your chair to listen instead of to “share advice” is way more what spiritual community looks like. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, forgetting that every experience is supposed to be a journey owned entirely by a person, so no two are alike, hence listening and facilitating conversation is way more beneficial for someone who needs an ear than is constant ad advice. Sometimes, it can even be harmful . No realize more every day that the best and most valuable lessons I have learned have been when my facilitators have kept quiet and pointed me back to scripture. Usually leaves room for the Holy Spirit to speak and me to be in tune with His will in those divine moment instead of my opinion. So thankful for those who have done this for me 😉

    • Sarah,
      I have always loved your willingness to be teachable. You have always hungered to learn from every experience you walk through. I admire that about you. So glad you are here with us! Send me a photo o you curled up with your book!

  7. Turn your Chair around and Listen.
    In this day of busy people, multitasking with electronics, I find that will be hard for some people to do. Turning your chair and listening is a conscious effort. It means slowing down to pay attention.
    I know a lot about turning that chair and listening as my life has been taking over by an ADHD. My husband and son are wired that way. It is a daily struggle to get them to slow down and to pay attention. Listening is not in their vocabulary unless it’s something that peaks their interest. Then they are like glue.
    Connecting on an emotional level is double whammy for them. One because they are men and two, ADHD. Trying to get any feed back from them is like pulling teeth. They also struggle with understanding my girly wired brain. And in all fairness, as a woman, I sometimes don’t understand myself.
    The subject of spiritual community connection somewhat parallels to my life. The more I learn to turn my chair around and listen to my spiritual community, the easier it is personally for me to process my daily life.
    I don’t know if I got the gist of this chapter right. I read it as connecting spiritually with one one (as Christians), so we may become more Christlike in our daily life’s.

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