Have you found your tribe? Your clan, your network, your people? No matter how you describe it, everyone needs a place to belong. Recently found one of my tribes and it has changed my life!
Welcome to Mindful Monday, dear friends (and members of my tribe!); oh, how I have missed you! I pressed pause on my blogging AT THE CROSSROADS three weeks ago for the purpose of pursuing an area of personal growth: writing. If you missed that post and are also feeling the need to press pause in your life, you can read it HERE.
Thank you for your patience in giving me permission to do this. Sometimes it is necessary to take a break so that you can return with a new attitude and fresh ideas. My hope after attending the Write-to-Publish Conference was to return wiser and stronger with a new vision for my ministry. I am grateful that God not only answered those prayers but also did something totally amazing and unexpected: He helped me find my tribe.
In this context, what do I mean by tribe?
Seth Godin, author of Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, gives us a definition:
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea… A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
I have been part of many tribes in my life and they all serve different purposes and meet different needs. My big Italian family is one of my tribes, so is the group of football moms I hang out with at my son’s games. There is also the Bible study girls tribe, the tribe of parents who have kids in college, and my Dinner Club tribe. When you stop and really take the time to assess the people you are connected to because of common interests and ideas, you will realize you are part of many tribes too.
You can usually find your tribe because of these shared passions, people, and purposes.
However, once in a while, something unexpected and magical happens: Your tribe finds you.
And that is exactly what happened to me when I attended a writer’s conference, Write-to-Publish, almost two weeks ago. Only my family and a few close friends even knew of my plans to participate in this conference. Why? I was nervous and anxious. Afraid of feeling completely out of my league, I did not want to have to come back home and explain why I thought I belonged in a place where there would be real writers, editors, and publishers.
Many of you know that I often describe myself and what I do in this order:
Somewhat reluctant blogger, third.
Writer, dead last.
There is a very good reason for this order. I just do not see myself as a writer…never have. My blogging grew out of my teaching and speaking ministry. Writing my weekly posts began as a way for me to work out my faith and my life and to bring others along on the journey.
But in the past year or so, my writing has grown into to something more–which is a total God thing. I have lamented before on how I find writing lonely and laborious–how it stretches and scares me, so why in the world would I want to attend a writer’s conference? (You can find all my thoughts on how I really feel about writing HERE)
Great question. And I am not sure I have the best answer except to say that a dear friend, mentor, and fellow writer gently urged me to go, and my husband and children were on board as well (practically pushing me out the door!). I also spent a lot of time on my knees where God revealed that it was precisely because of my doubt and insecurity that I needed to replace fear with faith and trust His leading.
And so I decided to go–way beyond my comfort zone–not knowing who or what I would encounter.
And that’s where it happened. Where I found my tribe…or they found me.
I remember our first night together so vividly. A group of us sat in the lounge area of the dorm (yes, I stayed in a college dorm for 5 days!) and introduced ourselves. My plan was to keep asking everyone else questions, so I would not have to talk about myself and admit that I was an imposter, a phony, a fraud. These were real writers who had been writing for years, published actual books, regularly attended writing conferences, and knew the difference between a publisher, an editor, and an agent. I was so far out of my league that I was not even in the arena.
But as I listened to them share openly and honestly, I found I had more in common with them than I thought. They spoke my language. They identified with my feelings. They understood me on a different level. C.S. Lewis describes how this kind of lightbulb connection happens:
“…[It] is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”
Without even knowing it, they welcomed me into their tribe as if I was one of them. There was no secret handshake or code. They accepted me as a part of the group even with my limited knowledge and experience.
Who knew that some of “my people” would be fellow writers?
People who “got” me.
People who made me better.
People who reminded me of who I was.
I cannot thank them enough for teaching, encouraging, including, and helping me embrace myself as a writer.
Today’s Mindful Monday post is dedicated to all of them: Ronnell, Janis, Sarah, Maggie, Casey, Kathleen, Heather, Lisa, Michelle, Tonia, John, Joyce, Cyle, Blythe, Steve, Athena, Lin, Jane, Letitia, Marilyn, Rowena, Cynthia–and others who I am sure I forgot to mention. I am so thankful you found me and made me part of your tribe!
What about you? Have you found your tribe? I hope you know you are welcome to join us here AT THE CROSSROADS. We are a group of people earnestly seeking to connect our faith and life on the journey. We are always looking for fellow travelers, so I hope you will consider joining our tribe today. The easiest way to stay connected and share your experiences is to sign up to be an email subscriber. Look for the box to your bottom right, enter your information, and wait for a confirmation email to arrive in your inbox.
Everybody needs a place to belong–I want you to know that you can belong here with our tribe!