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Celebrating Our Uniqueness Tea – Invite the Neighbors!

by Cathy Baker 

Searching for a way to connect with other women in your neighborhood? What could be more inviting than conversation over a cup of tea?

With the Celebrating Our Uniqueness Tea, each woman brings her favorite teacup or mug to the gathering. It’s a casual way to learn more about those around our table—how God wired them, our commonalities, as well as our differences.

This particular tea gathering is a new one for me. I created it out of a desire to stretch myself beyond the borders of comfort. As a long-standing introvert I admit that inviting people I know only in passing isn’t a comfortable place to be, but rarely is comfort the catalyst for anything eternal bound.  

Stacks of books and fertile dust bunnies have often dictated when God’s home could be used for His glory. I’m learning, however, that the captivating aroma of Christ can only be released to its fullest potential when I’m willing to open my imperfect home to the perfect Host. 

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 

Do
not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have
entertained angels without knowing it. – See more at:
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Hospitality#sthash.8noAT4jm.dpuf

How An Introvert Does Life

As described by psychologist Carl Jung, introversion refers to energy flow and the tendency of some people to draw energy from the inner world — their focus is inward, on ideas and reflection, and they typically seek solitude to recharge their batteries. Many enjoy people and welcome social encounters and aren’t shy at all, but too much socializing would be draining for them.

My recent admission to being an introvert was met with disbelief and a few hints of laughter as our writer’s group cackled till midnight—yet it’s oh so true. I love people and enjoy “doing life” with women in different settings throughout the week, but without times of solitude, my battery is quickly zapped.

During our ten month search for a church home, we remained open to the Spirit’s leading in regard to a Sunday School format vs. life/small groups. For various reasons, the more structured-type teaching has always appealed to me a little more. We’ve “done life” with groups in the past and counted each a blessing, but I struggled nonetheless. 

Brian and I knew life groups were an integral part of Summit Church before visiting but it wasn’t until several weeks later, when we began sensing a true attachment to the church, that the reality of life groups hit home.

This won’t be comfortable.

Four words that sent my brain into a frenzy, like rowdy toddlers on a playground, until Truth quieted them with five words of His own.

Who says it should be?

In that glorious moment of conviction I realized how complacent I’d become. Since when did anything worth pursuing feel comfortable? Confession came quick (Hebrews 10:I9) and freedom forged in forgiveness swiftly followed.

This conviction, coupled with Sunday’s powerful message by our Campus Pastor, Brooke Taylor, left me feeling excited about the life group we were to attend that evening. One truth in particular from the message spoke life into this introvert’s soul: 

Community doesn’t just happen — it requires intentionality.

Here’s why I share my testimony: I know I’m not alone. There are others out there who feel there’s no greater place to be than a quiet nook, furnished with a good book and a hot cup of tea. I get it—but this doesn’t mean we’re not cut out for life groups. It simply means we require an extra dose of intentionality, with a booster shot of courage.

 
Turns out, our first visit to a Summit life group was a tremendous blessing (thank you Kevin and Carolyn!) We were warmly welcomed and felt right at home. As we drove away, I felt so energized by the group I almost mistook myself for an extrovert!
What about you? Have you ever allowed your comfort zone to impede God’s best for you? 
Be encouraged. Your glorious moment may be right around the corner. 
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  Hebrews 19:24,25
 

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