I’m an introvert in every sense of the word. This is a fact I easily covered up in my younger years with alcohol which completely took away my social anxiety. It worked so well I didn’t even realize I was an introvert until much later in life when I finally gave my crutch up after it became a full blown addiction.
In my early years of sobriety, I had to leave behind all of my friends who still chose the lifestyle I knew I had to flee from. This meant finding new connections which quickly led to my discovery of an incredibly introverted self. After several years of hiding in my home with my husband and kids, I knew it was time to build those necessary spiritual friendships I desperately craved.
I want to share three ways I found my tribe and the beautiful bonds we cling to today. The first one is a fantastic way for introverts such as myself to break into socializing.
My first venture into friendship after those years of self imposed isolation happened through the internet. I joined a Proverbs 31 online Bible study on the book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst. My first Yes to God came in the form of starting a blog sharing my testimony of addiction and the amazing grace God saved me with. By the end of that study, friendships had formed and confidences renewed enough to know I would continue with Proverbs 31 for many more sessions.
I stepped out in faith even more in the weeks that followed by joining a small Proverbs 31 Ministries Facebook group of fellow studiers and letting them completely into my private world. Before we finished that second book, I had a tight circle of women I deeply loved. Some of us even connected in real life at a couple of local conferences.
If you are just beginning to reach out, online is a wonderful place to start building spiritual friendships. Try a Bible study or a Facebook group related to something you enjoy. This is a great way to meet people and start to open up. You may even end up with very special real life friends as I have so graciously been blessed with through this avenue.
Community Groups Through Church
Another space I found fellow God loving women in those early years was though a local church. My husband and I had been struggling to find a church family we both felt connected to. We ended up joining a community group that got together weekly in the home of a couple we met in my son’s karate class.
Satan worked hard on me in those days trying to convince me to stay away from people, keeping me quiet at many of our meetings or even completely absent. Online connections were still much easier, but I knew deep down these people weren’t in my life by accident.
Over time many members of that group have grown to be our nearest and dearest friends. This is a great way to plug in with your spouse and kids. My entire family is blessed with strong connections in that Friday night circle even though we switched to a new group (also on our growing list of people we cherish) a while ago.
Small, Intimate Groups of Spiritual Women
One of my sweet friends from our first church community group brings seven Christian women into her home every other Thursday. I’m immensely blessed to be one of those seven friends. This small group has helped me to find my voice and share things I wouldn’t tell anyone else.
I trust these women with my secrets, sins, and copious amounts of tears. Satan still tries to talk me out of going to most of the get togethers by a sudden headache or a quickly brought on identity crisis. He doesn’t win anymore.
I make myself show up and share my life openly. Every time. And I’m always so thankful I spent that special time with them. Every single time.
Smaller groups can be more difficult for us introverts but they are so worth it. These women can truly see me, also seeing through my stoic “I’m fine” lie at times. Once after sitting down with fought back tears in my eyes beside my beautiful hostess friend, just a simple look from her forced me to fall into her arms as those tears flowed and many words followed telling all seated at the table what was breaking my heart that day.
As hard as the raw emotion springing from me was in those moments, every tear brought me further from isolation and closer to my special friends who love both me and Jesus. Two facts that continue helping me grow to love and trust them more every day.
If you aren’t ready for a small, intimate group yet, just start somewhere. You’ll be surprised how quickly God will bring you into the exact life-changing spiritual friendships you deserve. I would love to get to know you better! Leave a comment here, visit my blog, or join me on Facebook.
Candace Playforth is a wife, mom, Jesus follower, serenity seeker, and writer on a quest for health in body, mind, and soul. Join her in creating a healthier body, emotional well-being, and unprecedented faith at CandaceCreates.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.