Are you comfortable with your small group, your network of friends and family? Do you ever find yourself anxious about the idea of your friendship circle being infiltrated by an outsider, a newcomer to town? I do.
If you answered no to the last question I suspect you were being less than honest with yourself. We all get comfortable and confident in what we know and who we know. There is safety in understanding, anticipating the status quo. But I would argue there is also the danger of becoming narrow minded, inward looking and perhaps unintentionally exclusive. Having lived in both rural and urban settings, both in Australia and overseas, I know only too well the sting of a cold shoulder or the silence when you have extended hospitality or an offer of friendship, however tentative. People are reluctant to get to know the new person. Why do we struggle to open our doors, our minds and out hearts to new friendships?
We fear that the goodness and blessing that comes from our friends may be hindered or compromised by new friends. And it may. But most likely, being on mission as a group to extend a welcome to others or to intentionally expand your group or network by engaging in a community activity together may bring abundant goodness that one cannot really describe in words. We all know we get to know people best when we do something together, share a task, an event or experience.
At times we need to seek those experiences and those people who are there in the shadows, waiting to be brought into the light and into friendship.