When You Need to Know You Belong

Did I ever tell y’all I was Miss Arkansas 1991? It’s true.

Well, sorta.

Actually, I was Miss Arkansas band camp.

Not quite the same, I suppose? Well, you already know I play oboe, so my I’m-just-a-big-nerd-and-always-have-been secret isn’t really a secret, now is it.

In high school, we band kids knew all the band-geek jokes and where we fell on the popularity totem pole. We couldn’t have cared less, and you know why? Because we belonged, and band was our catalyst for belonging. We were individual as snowflakes, but we shared a common interest and built a little community around it. I’ve seen the same thing in school classrooms, sports teams, and military squadrons. The team spirit sparks genuine camaraderie and friendships, and there’s no denying the sense of belonging felt by its members.

Since getting married, I’ve lived in ten neighborhoods across five states {and one ocean}. Not that many for a military family, but enough to see all kinds of friendship seasons. Sometimes friendships formed quickly, sometimes they took their sweet time. When I’ve been blessed to have close-knit community, there’s no doubt the sense of belonging makes my soul sing.

I want that same sense of belonging in my map dot home of Colorado Springs. I bet many of you want this in your neck of the woods, too. Do you know who else wants this for you? The folks of (in)courage. This is why they are pouring their heart and soul into something called (in)RL.

What is (in)RL? First of all, it’s short for in real life. (in)courage thrives on building relationships that bless you in your day to day, and they want (in)RL to be the catalyst that sparks new friendships in your own zip codes. So, in an effort to encourage us to form near and dear friendships, (in)courage dreamt  up (in)RL. Think of it as one giant excuse to get together {and gab} and hang out {without worrying about our hang-ups}.

If you want to take part in this global meet-up on a local scale, you have two options:

1. Host a meet-up in your home, at Starbucks, or wherever suits your fancy.

2. Attend a meet-up that is already happening in your area.

There is a $10 registration fee  that includes a T-shirt and Simply Marvelous card pack. {FYI ~ (in)RL is not a money-making venture for DaySpring. The registration fee simply covers the price of those two items.} A community keynote will kick off Friday night, and then Saturday will be the get-together part. There will be additional videos available for viewing if you or your host so desires.

If you’re a visual learner like me and want more insight into this whole crazy-beautiful notion, peek at the videos below. They feature several of the (in)courage writers {including yours truly in the second one}.

For more enlightenment into (in)RL, *please* read Deidra’s article from yesterday and Jessica’s tomorrow. Both these darling women are master encouragers and write tenderly and eloquently about friendships and community.

If you’ve visited here for 5 minutes, you know I get how hard it can be to make friends. It feels messy and tricky. But maybe – just maybe – (in)RL could be the catalyst that removes these scary parts so your heart feels free to connect with new folks.

I love you ladies so much. If you live in the Colorado Springs vicinity, please stop by my own meet-up! And in the comments below, feel free to ask more questions about (in)RL. I’ll do my best to answer {although you may find some of them answered in this Q and A about (in)RL }. Also, what do you find to be the most difficult thing about forming new friendships? The most difficult thing about maintaining established friendships?

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  1. Kristen, I want to be with all of you in April. Still waiting on a potential move to see where I’ll be by then. Maybe Colorado Springs? If so, you will be hearing from me! Looking forward to new friendships, new connections.

  2. If only I lived in the Colorado Springs area, fellow band camp nerd, I’d SO be at your house!

  3. Oh, Kristen, reading this makes me MISS you! We’re so much alike in that we both “know” how to make friends, and yet friendship still eluded us! Your always-encouragement fills my heart FULL and serves as reminder to just keep doing what I know to do.

    You’re fresh air, lovie…and I know you bless others with your words and heart, IRL and online.

    xo