Who Are Your People?
“I could tell you were nervous.”
Mary has known me for over ten years. I hoped no one else in the group could tell.
November 28th 2005, my birthday, was the last day I stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher. At the end of that day I resigned from teaching High School English. I turned twenty-three and after a grueling few months of teaching, finally admitted that I was stressed, burnt out, and heading towards a break down. Resigning was one of the hardest decisions of my life.
Looking back, I feel compassion for my younger self who had yet to learn how to rest and stay healthy in the midst of pressures and stress. My mind had spiraled out of control as I stopped taking care of myself. I lost 15 pounds and was unable to focus, instead feelings of being inadequate, and fear of failing crowded my mind.
It took me over a year to fully recover, but for more on that story, sign up here for a free copy of my upcoming book (if you are receiving this post via email, you are already signed up).
I’ve been better for many years now, having learned how to take care of myself, and thriving in my current position as Manager of Customer Service for Turning Point for God. These years of learning and now leading others have increased my skills and raised my confidence.
Since November, I’ve been restructuring my time and life around words. The time to write has not magically appeared. Instead I’ve had to carve away other projects and time commitments. It’s been hard letting the extra hour of sleep go as I rise in the morning. As I write more, instead of merely thinking about writing, I feel the tired satisfaction of knowing I have finally ordered my life around my most important task.
On Tuesday of this week, an important event took place. I entered a classroom for the first time in eight years to lead and teach my first writing group. I’ve missed teaching and the joy of facilitating discussions, equipping people and helping them grow (hence the tagline for my blog).
I was nervous. When I created the writing group through my church, I was not sure who would come or if anyone would come. Slowly the sign ups trickled in. Tuesday arrived and I reminded myself to stick to the agenda I had created and to see how it went.
It was magical. Seven people came, two more are joining us next week. We wrote, we shared our fears and writing goals. I proposed an agenda and the group gave feedback on what they looked forward to and what they felt was missing from it. At the end of our time, because I know those in the group are Christians, we shared a prayer request and something we are thankful for.
At that moment, as people shared their prayer requests, I knew I had led the group well. People brought to light deep parts of themselves. They shared their secrets, those struggles that usually remain hidden from everyone but the closest of friends. A community was born. These are my people.
I’m looking forward to the magic of the following weeks as this group writes, shares and grows together. Community has and continues to change me. When I resigned from teaching eight years ago, I joined a small group a few months later. The friendships from that group helped restore my soul.
Who are your people? Have you found a community you love and feel safe to share your secrets with?
I love hearing from you.