When my first child was born in 2005 I had no one like me in my life. We were at a small church, full of people older than my parents. And even though I enjoyed our time there and learned a lot, I wasn’t connected. I was just the pastor’s wife and they had seen many, many pastors’ wives move in and out of that parsonage.
So, I turned to the Internet for friends. Women who wanted to talk about theology. Women who wanted to talk about making their own baby food. Women who wanted to grow gardens in their backyards. We found each other on Twitter and through our blogs. As fun as those relationships were, they still only existed when my computer was turned on.
I am genuinely thankful for the relationships I’ve made on-line. Especially those that have become in-real-life friendships. But if you focus too much on building an online tribe, you may miss out on investing in you real life community–the place where God put you and the people He put around you.
Since I started blogging back in 2005, I’ve seen the trend change from wanting more and more Twitter followers, to wanting more and more genuine relationships with people in real life. People who can stop in and check on you when you’re sick. People who will meet you for lunch. People who will grab you a tissue from the nearest box when you’ve started crying. People who will actually hear you laugh out loud instead of reading LOL on the screen.
Earlier this month I got to spend a weekend with our associate pastor’s wife and two pastors’ wives from a sister church. The car ride was fun. The conference was fun. The time we spent in our hotel room was fun. It was just fun. The old-fashioned, unplugged kind of fun. I needed that kind of fun to remind me just how fun it is.
Because I enjoyed it so much, when I got home I signed up to host the (in)courage (in)RL conference. I can get together with my in real life friends and we can have our own little conference. We set the time, the place, and the dress code. We can hear each other laugh and pass a tissue if necessary. We don’t have to wear name tags or pass out business cards. We just have to show up with a snack to share.
I’m excited about this conference that’s not really a conference. I want to spend more time investing in the lives of my friends. You can sign-up and host a group too by clicking on the image below. Enjoy some (in)rl time together!