Last year, I started attending a new church. My old church was pretty small, so to attend a bigger church with a more active women’s ministry was a huge difference from what I was involved in before.
Last night, I had the awesome opportunity to attend one of their really fun activities… a Chocolate and Pajama party! I was actually pretty hesitant. Even though I’ve been at the church for a year, I didn’t really know very many people, especially in the women’s ministry. I did have one friend who offered to drive me, and honestly, that was the best thing, because otherwise I would have probably stayed home (purely out of nerves– I’m not good at meeting new people!)
However, what better event for nervous me to go to than a chocolate and pajama party! You can’t get a more laid back gathering, and it was so easy to connect to the small group that was there. Ten ladies showed up, and honestly, hilarity ensued.
As chocolate flowed, inhibitions left the building, and we all connected over a wild M&M game. You took a random amount of M&Ms, not concerned about which you were taking. For certain colors, you’d have to say a certain number of things about it… for example, for the first round, you had to list one hobby you had for each red M&M you happened to take in your handful. For yellow, it was favorite movies, and for orange, favorite places to go. For brown, though, that’s when things got crazy.
We each had to share an embarrassing moment with the group.
I won’t betray the trust of any of the ladies there, but let’s just say we all had some interesting… and a little crazy!… embarrassing moments and fun stories to share.
The evening was great because it kind of eased into things for me. I started off getting to know the ladies on a mild level, by sharing favorite hobbies and realizing I had a lot more in common with many of these ladies than I had initially realized. As the evening went on, I started to get to know these ladies, many of whom I had just met for the first time, on a much deeper level, sharing some of the things that made us almost feel at our weakest due to our embarrassment.
This morning, church was an entirely different place. In past weeks, I had been feeling disconnected. Not because of what anyone else had done, but because I had built walls around myself. I realized a lot of pain and hurt was still there from past experiences at church (not this new church). I had built walls, wondering what people would think of me, if they would judge me, and thinking that no one was connecting with me, when in reality, I wasn’t making time to connect with them.
After last night, I was in an entirely new mindset. Women that I would kind of psych myself out of talking to previously were now women I connected with and had things in common with, all thanks to a handful of colorful chocolate candies.
This morning, it seemed like more people than ever took time to say hello to me, ask me how I was doing, even people who hadn’t attended the event the night before. My mother made a point to note that it was really about the same number of people who talked to me… I just actually let my guard down and started noticing the connection personally.
As my pastor starts a new series on connectedness this week, and as small groups are starting up in full force and we are working on feeling more connected as a church, I am going into it feeling more connected than ever to my new church friends. I feel open to the experience, and that’s not something I’ve felt in a very long time.
I think a few days away from the computer have helped me. My laptop is still on order, and of course, as soon as it returns, I’ll be blogging in full force once again… but I never want to let myself get disconnected from people because I’m striving to connect with them online. I’m making more of an effort to get to church, to say hello to the people I’m recognizing and even some that I’m not, and I’m working harder to connect myself instead of waiting for others to try to connect with me. They were trying, but I was not.
I’m glad that I stepped out of my box, or rather, that my friend in the church offered to drive me so I couldn’t say no and skip the evening. I’m glad my mom offered to watch Zach so I could go, and leave my whole heart out there for these women to see. And I’m glad I got to know them, personally.
Besides, who can pass up chocolate?