In March, I spent the weekend with some of my favorite writer friends. That was the first time I met Christen Price in person. She had driven from Alabama to my lake house here in Kentucky, yet she radiated hospitality. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was going on a walk with Christen and our other friend Amanda. I’ve since read her book, “Invited: Live a Life of Connection, not Perfection.” She’s real and encourages women well. I’m glad to welcome her to my blog today as she shares about one of my favorite topics and includes one of my favorite scriptures.
Women need friendship like a flower needs water.
When my husband and I moved to our hometown, I was thirsty for friendship. Sitting alone in my bedroom, I felt the pull of wanting to belong. One of the most difficult things about moving to a new city is finding community. We can easily experience FOMO – a fear of missing out – and make our homes in silos while hiding behind our smiles.
Loneliness is a disease. The best cure for this disease is to find community, which often involves vulnerability, risk-taking, and letting people into our not-so-perfect lives. In an effort to make new friends, I began to ask girls to join me in a small group. Soon, a group of us began to gather for dinner and discussion once a month.
Acts 2:46-47 describes how the early disciples experienced community by saying, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Sharing beyond the walls of their homes, the followers of Christ gathered together to tell the message of Jesus to the people. They were not exclusive – daily God increased the number of people who were being saved. The breaking of the bread and extending of grace was an open invitation. All were welcome to listen, eat, drink, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
If God is inviting us to a table that is always open and never reserved, who are we inviting to sit at the table with us?
When I first began to be in fellowship with the girls from my small group, I felt like for the group to stay safe, it needed to be inclusive. But, as our group grew, the complete opposite happened. A fellowship of friendship formed, a kind that would never have happened if not for our group being centered on Spirit-led conversation. Adding more seats to the table has only increased our joy, not diminished it, which leads me to believe in the efficacy of an open table.
When a group is exclusive, there is a certain amount of trust and camaraderie between friends, but it can make those not part of the group feel very unwelcome, unwanted. If you’ve ever been on the outside of a group of friends, it’s easy to ask yourself, “What do I have to do to fit in, be invited, and belong with these people?” It’s like in the movie “The Help,” when Celia Foote shows up at Elizabeth’s house with a pie, and instead of inviting her in, Hilly tells all the girls from Junior League to hide and be quiet. Friendship becomes a game of cards, luck, and elitism. But fellowship is different.
Fellowship is unity, something that binds
people together from the inside out.
Fellowship is not just about friends being together, it is about friends coming together to do God’s will. The early church went out each day to teach the truth about Jesus, help the sick, and share what they owned with the apostles. Fellowship was an action shown through generosity, hospitality, and serving.
Being a fellowship of believers, we each play our part in the body of Christ, but we also exist to connect to one another so that we display His perfection together. Next time you meet a girl new in town, remember what it was like to be in her shoes. Extend an invitation and help her feel connected in community. Widen your circle, and welcome her to the table.
In “Invited,” Bible teacher Christen Price weaves together personal stories with a practical party planning handbook as she shares about her own struggle with perfection when she moved home and began to build community. Her desire for perfection causes her to experience anxiety and meltdown when parties (and life!) don’t always go as planned.
With kindness, honesty, and Biblical truth, Christen will encourage you to overcome the hurdles of perfection by finding balance instead of breaking down; receive others in love by releasing your anxieties to God so you can rejoice in the moments worth celebrating; and discover that the antidote to perfection is embracing the beauty of imperfection and present not only yourself, but your home in an artful way so you can give and receive joy.
Celebrations, whether they be special occasions, a surprise party, or a spontaneous cookout on a Saturday night, are about spending time with the people we love. Hospitality helps us to pursue Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, so we can invite others to join us in a party we will never forget. Connected to Christ, we find wholeness, completeness, and beauty so we can celebrate the life we’ve been given.
Christen Price is a writer for The M.O.M. Initiative and founder of Undivided Women, an online Bible study community. With the heart of a hostess, she writes devotionals, designs party printables, and creates inspirational art in her Studio that invites women to celebrate their people, place, and purpose. Christen is married to her best friend, Raleigh, and their crew of three little ones, two dogs, and four chickens call the countryside of lower Alabama home. Connect with her at christenprice.com.
This post includes excerpts from “Invited: Live a Life of Connection, not Perfection.” Used with permission.