Play dates are the best. The other day, all of us moms lugged in our car seats with toddlers in tow, we spread out some toys across the living room carpet, and our babies just sat there staring at each other. The ladies cracked open some sparkling waters while the toddler boys roamed the room, and in no time, it was pretty apparent we didn’t get together for them anyways. Because really, a play date? Who are we kidding…more like a mom therapy group.
“So when did you introduce a second meal?” “How many ounces is he drinking these days?” “Can you take a look at her rash?” And on. And on. And on. No one else could possibly be interested in hearing about potty-training for a half hour, or my woes on how my baby’s sleep schedule has rocked my world. It would be a complete and utter snooze fest, a wasted hang out, to everyone else. Everyone else, except the very people going through the EXACT SAME THING. To them, it was like finally finding a lemonade stand on a hot summer day.
How have you experienced this in your season of life? You know who those people are. They’re the ones giving jerky, emphatic nods whenever you share the highest highs and the deepest lows of what’s really going on, chiming in to every detail with a, “Yes! Yes! YES.” Don’t you just love them? When you meet these people, you can almost feel the connection, the electricity in the room that comes from finally being understood, finally feeling like you aren’t alone, finally pulling back the curtain and getting a standing ovation. You walk away feeling nothing short of a kindred-spirit-kind-of-bond after all the confessing, debriefing, and empathizing.
And this freedom we feel? This sense of belonging? This solidarity? It’s exactly God’s plan. He never meant for us to walk our path alone. It’s been obvious since day one when God gave Adam, Eve, because it wasn’t good for man to be alone. As fellow humans, we’re made to be transparent, vulnerable, and compassionate with each other. We’re made for deep fellowship, a close camaraderie, perfect harmony. Not just with God, but with our neighbor, our family, and friend. Isolation is not our gig; but support and companionship makes our hearts soar.
Which is why I’m ob-SESSED with Exodus 17:8-13. The scene: War between the Israelites and Amalekites. And like a game of tug o’ war, there was advancement back and forth. Moses climbed a hill to overlook the battle and lifted both hands in prayer holding up the staff of God. But as the clock kept ticking and time trailed on, his arms got tired. You know the feeling, those tinglies you get when you accidentally sleep on your arm. He was tempted to drop his hands, but every time he did, the Israelites started losing. Yet every time he lifted them back up, the Israelites would make a come-back and victory was theirs. So what was Moses to do?
Cue his friends, Aaron and Hur. When they saw what was happening, they pitched in with a sort of teamwork that would make Herb Brooks proud. Aaron grabbed his right arm while Hur grabbed the left (unless Aaron grabbed the left, and Hur grabbed the right… either way, semantics). And they remained in that position, holding up Moses until the sun set and the Israelites were pronounced victors.
This is no different than the hill we’re standing on today. Whatever season you’re facing, whatever battle we’re overlooking, whatever weakness threatens to overtake us, we need an Aaron and we need a Hur. We need someone to stand next to us, pray with us, and hold up our hands when we’re tired and where, as Susie Larson puts it, “the devil doesn’t know where you end and where I begin.” Because sometimes, having that group of people standing next to you makes all the difference between losing and winning the battle.
Whoever that may be, find your kindred spirit. Find that person, that group, that community, and pursue those relationships regularly. Couples, find other couple friends. Church go-ers, join a small group. Students, study with your other classmates. Moms, set up play dates to unleash the crazy. Because introverts and extroverts alike, we were made to be in relationship, and when we refuse to step back into the shadows of solitude and we refuse to be a hermit, we’ll finally find the connection and understanding our souls long for.
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10