Why Community Matters
If you’re like me, our lives can often be busy, overwhelming and noisy. Filling our mind with noise and our life with busyness, however, doesn’t always save us from experiencing loneliness.
According to a Meta-Gallup survey last year, nearly 25% of adults globally reported they frequently felt lonely. Loneliness was such an issue in Great Britain that they hired a “Loneliness Minister” because they realized just how much it affects every area of life. Studies show that feeling connected with a community is essential to our health. It can be even more impactful to our health than whether or not we smoke cigarettes. (Obviously I don’t encourage you to pick up smoking, but you get just how important having a connected community is.)
Being in an encouraging, connected community helps refine us and make us better versions of ourselves. We need a community - whether in person or online - that supports us when we’re struggling, helps us to improve, and encourages our strengths. I'm not saying that all communities are beneficial. It is important to be mindful of who you are in community with.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Jesus encouraged community by showing us how important community was to Him during his earthly life.
Healthy community affects all areas of our lives:
Social and emotional wellbeing: Strong social connections can provide support during challenging times by providing practical assistance, such as helping with health recovery, transportation, or sharing resources. Having friends, family and neighbors who offer empathy, help and understanding can reduce stress and improve mental health.
Mental wellbeing: Social isolation has been linked to several mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Being part of a community fosters a sense of belonging and purpose, which is crucial for good mental health.
Physical wellbeing: Our community can affect our health practices and routines. I am so fortunate because I have a wonderful community that includes health conscious women. We love to get together to exercise, go for a walk or share a healthy meal together. I know when I’m invited to one of their homes for a meal that they will have some healthy options!
When I left Chicago 30 years ago I was so sad to leave my family and friends. I know how important a community is for me so when I moved to Evergreen, CO I made it a point to meet people. I started working at the local health club. I remember inviting another instructor to come over for dinner with her husband. We laugh about it now because she didn’t know me at all and found it a little strange that I just invited them over.
I also joined a “Newcomers Gourmet Club”. We got together with a few other couples each month and shared a meal. Making friends and forming a community will most likely mean that you have to step out of your comfort zone.
If you are struggling to find a community, or just a friend, here are some practical ways to find a community right where you are.
Volunteer at a non-profit organization. You can volunteer at your local food bank, homeless shelter, or refugee center. Consider volunteering to read at your library, or help out at a daycare or nursing home.
Attend a class. Many cities have community centers that offer workout classes like Zumba, art and craft classes, and several other activities you can learn. (I once attended a painting class with adults of all different ages through our community center, and it was so fun!)
Participate in our Faithful Workouts online small group discussions: Just an hour ago I got a call from a woman who met a “new friend” during one of our small group events. They have now been accountability partners and confidants for over a year and have hopes to meet in person one day. A few days ago 2 women signed up to come to our Texas retreat. They told me they actually met at a retreat we did about 4 years ago and they’ve remained online friends since then. They can’t wait to room together at the retreat.
Become involved at your local church: This is one of the best places to meet people because there's nothing better than having a community who encourages you to love and live more like Jesus. Make sure you don't arrive each Sunday and rush out at the end of the service. Give yourself some extra time to talk to others. Most churches offer serving opportunties or different group meetings, this may be a great place to connect! Like I said earlier, not all community is beneficial, pray and ask God to connect you with people that He wants you in community with.
I’ve heard this from quite a few women who have shared similar stories. The truth is, they chose to show up at our online events and then reach out to others and form a bond. You can do this too. It might not be in your “comfort zone” but it might be just what your soul longs for. It makes me SO happy to hear that people are connecting through our program.
None of us were meant to go through life alone. Forming new relationships and finding community can be scary, but I think the reward far outweighs the risk.
If you’re looking for an online community of like-minded people who are looking for longevity and better health, you’re at the right place! We’re a community seeking to thrive in the second half of life and support each other along the way. We have community events and challenges, small groups, and retreats that offer you amazing opportunities to get into an amazing community.
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