In one of my first conversations with Jack, he asked me what my personality type was. I had no idea what he meant, so I just said, “Um…awesome?”
What he was asking for was my Myers-Briggs personality type. I had never taken the test, that I remembered, so I went and took it to find out what the great algorithm could tell me about myself. Turns out, I’m an ENFJ. Let’s talk about the E. (or go take the test here)
The “E” stands for extrovert. Most people who know me would probably call me an extrovert. It is certainly true that I get energy from being around people. However, I think I may be something else…neither an E or an I: an ambivert. (No, I did not invent that term.) I used to hate being alone, but now I’ve started to really enjoy it. I even feel reenergized because of it.
The problem is, I just don’t have much time to myself. I am usually with people or rocking my little girl to sleep or hanging out with my wife or something. All of those are great and I really enjoy them, but I don’t get a lot of time alone. Even though I’m always tired, I’ve started staying up late and watching tv just to be alone for a few hours. Weird, right?
So you can imagine my dilemma when it comes to community groups. I’m always around people who want to talk about Jesus: how he changed them, how they don’t feel him, if he’s real, how they love him, what this story means, etc. It almost seems like another time that I don’t get to be alone or do what I want to do. It almost feels like something I should skip.
And then I remember why group life matters to me.
I’ve found that it’s not just another venue for me to tell other people how they can follow Jesus better, but it’s a place that people can take care of me, too. It’s the place where my leader gives me that Christian side-hug and says, “I love you man…how’s everything in your world?” It’s where the other group members laugh at my inability to pour coffee. It’s nice.
It’s my third space, I guess. Starbucks has made millions of dollars off of this concept. The idea is that home is your first space and work is your second space, but everyone is looking for a third space that’s not those two places. For me, when I am feeling best about life it is when my third space is centered around Jesus and his people. The times when I feel closest to God, the times when I feel good about myself…they happen when I have consistent third space relationships with people who show genuine care for me in the context of God’s kingdom.
We weren’t meant to live alone, even though we want to be alone sometimes. We weren’t meant to take every wave of life that comes at us by ourselves, even though we think we are strong. God created us for the rest of us and it’s in community group that I understand that truth most clearly.
I’d encourage anyone and everyone to be a part of a group. If you don’t have one, come to Group Link this Sunday right after worship and find one. There will be lots of options for everyone!