Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World

BOOK: Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World
7.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Praise for
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
 

“We know we need to do life with other people and have a supportive community around us instead of living in isolation, but we often wonder
how
when we’ve had friendships fail, we’ve been hurt, or we feel too busy to even make the effort. In
Find Your People,
my dear friend Jennie Allen shows us how to make true emotional connections with the right people so that our authentic relationships can be healthy for all.”


Lysa TerKeurst
, #1
New York Times
bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

“This book is a true reflection of God’s heart for us to experience authentic, vulnerable, and meaningful relationships. Through Jennie’s wisdom and practical advice, she shares how to overcome the common barriers that keep us from finding our people and pushes us to fight to replace loneliness with community.”


Sadie Robertson Huff,
author, speaker, and founder of Live Original

“I can’t think of a better book or message for our current moment than
Find Your People.
We are starving for community, meaning, and deeper, more life-giving relationships—and Jennie gives us the road map to actually get there. This book is essential reading for our tired and lonely souls.”


Jefferson Bethke,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Take Back Your Family

“Jennie Allen not only casts an incredible vision for true friendship and community, but she also leads the way by example. In an age when we’re tempted to believe deep and meaningful friendships are impossible,
Find Your People
is a timely, practical resource.”


Ruth Chou Simons,
Wall Street Journal
bestselling author, artist, and founder of gracelaced.com

“Deep community is the path to health, joy, success, connection.
Find Your People
will inspire you, challenge you, and encourage you toward the relationships you need and want.”


Annie F. Downs,
New York Times
bestselling author of
That Sounds Fun

“Every generation must learn again for the first time that the fathomless ache we all experience is that of being alone—and that the trinitarian God of the Bible has come in Jesus to heal the ache and recommission us for the work of creating beauty and goodness in the world. For this generation Jennie Allen is the vulnerable voice we need, and with
Find Your People
she has provided a beacon-illuminated map that is as practical as it is inspiring. Read this and find your people. Read this and find the life you have been hungering and thirsting for. Read this and find Jesus.”


Curt Thompson,
md
, author of
The Soul of Desire
and
The Soul of Shame

“We were never designed to journey through life alone. We need to be seen, to be known, and to belong in order to flourish. In
Find Your People,
Jennie Allen shows us how to build deeper, stronger relationships that point us to Jesus and help us live out our God-given purpose.”


Christine Caine,
speaker, author, and founder of Propel Women

“Community is key to living a full and faith-filled life. Jennie Allen does a beautiful job of using her own journey to give us a vision for why we need people in our lives and, more important, how we can find those people. This book is going to challenge you to say no to the lies of the enemy and find what I call your circle of faith.
Find Your People
will inspire you not only to find those who will fight on your behalf but also to become a fighter for the people in your life.”


Michael Todd,
lead pastor of Transformation Church and
New York Times
bestselling author of
Relationship Goals
and
Crazy Faith

Find Your People

This book is not intended to replace the advice of a trained psychological professional. Readers are advised to consult a qualified professional regarding treatment. The author and publisher specifically disclaim liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use or application of any of the contents of this book.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (
NIV
) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. (www.zondervan.com). The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica Inc.™ Scripture quotations marked (
NLT
) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Details in some anecdotes and stories have been changed to protect the identities of the persons involved.

Copyright © 2022 by Jennie Allen

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by WaterBrook, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

WaterBrook
® and its deer colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Published in association with the literary agency of Yates & Yates, www.yates2.com.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names:
Allen, Jennie, author.
Title:
Find your people : building deep community in a lonely world / Jennie Allen.
Description:
First edition. | [Colorado Springs, Colorado] : WaterBrook, [2022] | Includes bibliographical references.
Identifiers:
LCCN 2021029667 | ISBN 9780593193389 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780593193396 (ebook)
Subjects:
LCSH: Interpersonal relations—Religious aspects—Christianity. | Communities—Religious aspects—Christianity. | Friendship—Religious aspects—Christianity.
Classification:
LCC BV4597.52 .A45 2022 | DDC 158.2—dc23

LC record available at
https://lccn.loc.gov/​2021029667

Ebook ISBN 9780593193396

waterbrookmultnomah.com

Cover design: Sarah Horgan and Mike Marshall

Cover images: Oksana Latysheva/Getty Images

ep_prh_6.0_139201566_c0_r0

It is not good for man to be alone.

—God, after He built the first human on earth

 

So, as messy as relationships might be, we cannot live life alone. We have to figure this out.

WE AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS LONELY
 

I HAD A PANIC ATTACK LAST
week. A full-fledged, couldn't-catch-my-breath, on-the-floor-of-my-closet panic attack. I haven't had one in ten years.

I write these words with the rest of this book nearly finished. And yet I want to be honest with you: this is my reality today, after spending a couple years of my life living, writing, researching, and thinking about something that apparently at least three in five of us feel daily:

Loneliness.

I imagine you are here because you feel it too. That sinking feeling that you aren't seen, you aren't known, and you are on your own to face whatever difficult thing life is throwing at you.

I get it.

But I'm convinced that feeling is rooted in a big fat lie—a
lie that threatens to pull you and me into a dark place unless we learn how to fight back.

Case in point: my recent panic attack.

—

IT HAD BEEN BUILDING
over the course of several weeks.

I'd hidden myself away to edit this book, and when I finally emerged…

…I was in a fight with one of my sisters. We hadn't seen each other in months, and we both live so busy. But my sisters are two of my closest friends.

…My husband was frustrated that I had been so disconnected, because even when I wasn't working on the book, I was distracted by the million things that had fallen to the wayside.

…I realized my people had been building memories together and sharing experiences without me. It had been so long since I was available to hang out, they had finally stopped calling. In my mind they had moved on together, and I was now alone on the outside.

All this hit at once, along with this crushing certainty: while I was writing a book about finding your people, I lost all of mine.

I was a complete fraud. I didn't have people.

The conflict, isolation, and fear went on for weeks. And it kept growing. I thought about it all the time. Then, after yet another person expressed disappointment in me, I found myself alone on my closet floor, unable to catch my breath. The lie that left me gasping?

—

I am all alone.

That same night I had a vivid nightmare in which my worst fears came true. My people were not only quitting me, they were gossiping about me, stabbing me in the back—and I had a book out in the world about how close we all were.

Drama, I know. I imagine you're now wondering about what kind of help you can expect from someone who was recently melting down over this very topic.

So why tell you this?

Because on some deep level, being alone is a fear we all share.

Maybe you're experiencing loneliness right now?

Maybe you had people and they quit you?

Or maybe you've never truly had your people?

Or maybe you have them, but even when you're with them, you feel distant and unseen?

—

THE ACHE OF LONELINESS
is real, and it's haunting us.

I mentioned in
Get Out of Your Head
that my neuro-buddy Curt Thompson likes to say we all come into the world looking for someone looking for us. It's true, but it's incomplete; we are looking for more than that.

In a recent conversation about connection, Curt pointed me to these three words we need from infant to ninety!
[1]

Every human is looking to be:

—

Seen

Soothed

Safe

We don't just want to be seen; we want to tell a friend or loved one about our disappointments and hopes and find comfort as well.

We want to be seen and comforted, and we want to be safe. But we aren't always safe.

We aren't always comforted, and it might feel like we aren't even seen.

Sometimes it's as simple as a fleeting thought. You're falling asleep with some worries about your future, and this whisper sneaks into your mind:
No one even knows what I'm going through.

Sometimes it's a deeper reality: life has been so chaotic and stressful for so many years that you accidentally didn't invest in your relationships, and when you look up, your people are gone.

It's a profound, in-the-crevices-of-our-souls sense of isolation.

It's the wondering if you are truly known, seen, accepted, even cherished, such as when:

  • You don't know whom to call to pick you up at the airport.

  • You have something to celebrate or grieve and no one to celebrate or grieve with.

  • You have an idea you want to brainstorm and can't think of anyone who would care enough to dream with you.

  • You're dealing with a difficult situation at work but can't think of anyone safe you can talk it through with.

  • Most of your friend group is married and starting to have kids, and you aren't even dating.

  • Your kids are grown, and you are single and spend most of your time alone.

  • You are eating another meal alone—again.

  • You are looking at the weekend and don't have a single plan. Unless you initiate or go it alone, you won't have anything to do.

  • You're talking to someone you thought was a good friend but realize you are on completely different pages about important issues.

  • Your family is broken and unhealthy, when it seems everyone else is excited to be going home to see their (normal, happy, well-adjusted) families at Christmas.

  • You need to talk but don't know whom to call.

  • You haven't had anyone genuinely listen to you in so long that you honestly can't remember the last time you opened up.

These scenes strike at the quiet ache I'm talking about. It's just an inescapable reality of the human condition, right? Isn't it just something we all face?

Or is it just me?

Or is it just
you
?

Do you ever wonder that? If maybe you're the only person who feels
this
alone?

You aren't, by the way.

You aren't alone in feeling alone.

—

The morning after that vivid nightmare, I woke up and saw with crystal clarity:

I am believing the lie that I'm destined to be alone, and in believing that lie I'm making it into reality, because I am pulling back and judging those I love, guarding myself from them as if
they
were the enemies.

It was early but even as I was having that thought, one of my closest friends called. Instead of letting it go to voicemail and pulling the covers over my head, I thought,
This is my chance to fight back.

When I answered, Lindsey said she was calling just to check in. I said, “I need to bring you all into some things that have been going on.”

Now there was no chance of my going back into hiding. I have the kind of friends who won't leave me alone until I tell them everything. That night we got together, and I described for them the insecurities that had been growing for weeks, the nightmare, the fears of being a fraud, even the panic attack and difficulties with my family.

They wrapped me up with love and prayed and fought for me. As Lindsey dropped me off afterward, she smiled and said, “Jennie, I've never felt so close to you.”

Then I called my sister and asked to get together. Over a meal, I looked in her eyes and described the hurt I felt, and
she described her hurt, and we laughed at how much confusion we'd both believed. We ended up spending the day together sharing everything going on in our lives.

One by one I went to my people and did exactly what I used to be terrified to do:
I openly acknowledged that I needed them.

I fought back against the lie that had threatened to take me down.

I am not alone.

I am not a fraud.

I have people.

—

YOU MIGHT BE BELIEVING
the lie right now that you are alone. But what if the people you need are right around the corner?

Come close and let me tell you my hopes for us here.
I want us to trade lonely and isolated lives that experience brief bursts of connectedness for intimately connected lives that know only brief intervals of feeling alone.

Think I'm crazy? I'm here to tell you that I'm not.

I might have momentary setbacks when the lie that I'm alone creeps back in, but I've learned not to stay there. And in recognizing that I occasionally feel lonely, in experiencing and then sharing it honestly, I've found it brings people in—because now you know you are not alone in feeling alone!

The connection you and I both long to experience? I've seen for myself that it is possible. And once I saw it, I couldn't unsee it. I couldn't not fight for this kind of life.

You'll fight for it, too, I promise.

You'll see and not be able to unsee.

Fight back the lie with me. Let's find your people.

BOOK: Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World
7.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Thrust & Parry: Z Day by Luke Ashton
The Notorious Nobleman by Nancy Lawrence
Goya'S Dog by Damian Tarnopolsky
Living Rough by Cristy Watson
A Shining Light by Judith Miller
The Diviner by Melanie Rawn
Adrianna's Undies by Lacey Alexander
Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland