I’m creating a community, not a brand.
You hear this more and more now that businesses are starting up ‘virtually’ everywhere (pun intended). That Instagram (my personal fav) has become a platform to build the “brand” that you are wanting to sell. You are portraying the person or idea that you are essentially wanting others to invest in. This is the basics I know. I have never attended a ‘build your brand’ webinar or even researched it for that matter. This is just the gist of what I get when I hear the words, “build a brand”. But that’s just it. Not all of us are here to build a business, a brand or sell a product. I write because honest to God, it is my therapy. It’s cheaper than the couch and it works for me. It allows me to process the thoughts in my head, understand the root of what’s causing them and find His truth in all of it. It is my passion. Not my hobby, not my business, not my brand.
This morning I had the pleasure of spending 2+ hours with my Lifegroup. The ladies I literally DO life with. It breathed more grace, wisdom and love into my heart than I thought possible. I always approach Lifegroup as a space for others to feel welcome, feel God’s presence and just be real. When I go rogue and tears start fallin’, I know that is exactly what just happened. You see I may be an ’emotional’ person but my tear ducts have a mind of their own. They don’t shed a tear when I think they should and vomit out puddles when I’m trying to hold it all together. The more time I spend listening and meeting with God, I realize He sends me signals. Nothing crazy like doves descending from a brightly lit heaven but small little moments that I just know He is with me. Random crying where it’s not deemed “necessary”, well for me…that’s God, my Holy Spirit. He also makes His presence known in chills and when I hear the words I love you. Now this isn’t a matter of fact thing that applies to everyone, I get you can hear I love you and have no presence of God nearby. But for me, it’s those words, when uttered by my children on a random, spontaneous moment or my husband, just because, that I know this is God. This is Him visiting me on this dark earth, telling me I am loved and that He is with me.
I am not here to build a brand. I want to build genuine, loving community. Where people can get real and be honest without being shamed. Where sin can be a word that offers reconciliation over condemnation (thank you Andy Stanley for that one). Where we set judgement, hurt and pride aside to listen, to love and to feel seen. This is what the group of ladies I do life with offer me. This is where I feel most accepted, most myself, most filled.
I don’t know if you have found your people, your tribe, your sisterhood that let you be real, but I promise you, when you do, you will not want to let them go. I know with certainty that specific relationships are put in my life for a reason for certain seasons and some are taken out but God is so abundant in His love that He will not remove one without offering you another. God knows how loneliness can isolate us and therefore spends much of the gospel speaking specifically on community. But friends, we have to do the work, we have to show up.
Life is not about an image. It’s not about checking off a to-do list for others to notice you. It’s not about volunteering, coordinating or leading, it’s about living. Living among brothers and sisters that look differently, think differently and believe differently but together you are the same. We all face struggles, we all have past hurts and pride that cloud our judgement. But it’s those friends, those relationships that will walk alongside you to see you through to the other side.
I write because I love it. I love the sound of the keys, the vision of the letters popping up on a screen, the spark of my mind firing off thoughts. I love the healing it offers me through each word written. I love the connection it builds among myself and those reading it. I love the “me too’s” that I get or the “thank you for saying this” I hear. Words are valuable. What we read, watch and listen to become our dialogue for how we interact with the world around us.
You should admire your friends. For real. They should have qualities that you want, this is how you know you are with good people that will breathe life into you. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this in many different seasons of my life. Even if I lose contact with a friend due to distance, babies or just life, the good ones never go away. I can pick up the phone and we are right back where we left off. So don’t fear change, distance. Know that what you built will sustain itself. And trust that there is so much more where that came from.
True girlfriends are better than gold.
So as I wrap this up, I realize two things: One, I am so grateful to be doing life with a group of girls that meet me in this season and see me. And two, I am so grateful that I see it for myself, not jaded by all the junk this world likes to throw at me.
I am not building a brand. I am building a community.
And you are cordially invited.
To be a part of my daily community, please check me out on Instagram!