Byerley: We are not alone

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Our busy lives, and constant hustle-bustle sometimes leave us feeling lonely. Time with family and friends is limited by our jobs and obligations.  
It can leave us feeling helpless, frustrated and worn down. We sometimes develop unhealthy behaviors, like not getting enough exercise or sleep, using drugs or alcohol to cope, and isolating ourselves from the company of others.  
We must remember in these times of struggle that we are never alone, and others experience the same feelings.
I have only been a Christian for about four years. In my naïve, Baby Christian brain, I had convinced myself that others in my church had everything together, didn’t go through the same disappointments, struggles, and stints of wondering why they were put in the position they were in and what it all meant.  
The picture in my head told me everyone looked at the bright side of life all the time because they’re always happy to be saved. We all posture a little. It’s good to be positive, happy and optimistic, but that’s not always reality.
A profound church service at the beginning of January blew all my pre-conceived notions about my fellow congregants out of the water. The experience has been with me since, and I am forever grateful for the eye-opening event.  
Our pastor called it a Service in the Round. Rather than the chairs facing the stage and communion table, we sat in a circle, facing one another, forcing us to have a sense of togetherness as a church community. A sermon wasn’t presented, but whoever wanted was given the opportunity to speak of wonderful things that God has done in their lives.
As each person stood up to speak, my eyes teared up, and I was in awe of the bravery and strength that each had. There were stories of overcoming addictions and divorce, miraculous stories of healing after horrific accidents, leaning on God in times of sorrow and loss, and just being grateful that God provided them with a path through the worst times in their lives.  
The happiest, most seemingly put-together people have experienced terrible tragedies and awful things in their lives. I was blown away. So many congregants have experienced many of the same things in life as I have. I feel silly now for thinking otherwise, but I was left relieved and humbled by the experience.
God is doing amazing work in our communities and within me.  Every day my eyes are being opened to new ways of seeing the world and relating with others. I am trying to chip away at the shell I’ve built up over the last five years that protected me from the shame I was carrying around, realizing that others have gone through similar.  
We are all here to help one another and to try to understand one another, as hard as that may seem sometimes. None of us is perfect.
While church isn’t for everyone, we all gravitate toward communities of strength and support. Our county has an abundance of groups to be involved with.  
There are adventure groups through the Clear Creek Recreation Center, addiction support groups through Loaves & Fishes and local churches, gardening or arts and crafts classes at the Georgetown Heritage Center, resources for hunting and shooting at CCC Sportsmen Club, the Elks Club, political organizations, and local 4H organizations.  
An Internet or Facebook search will yield a group for nearly anything you have an interest in.
Fellowship with others is essential to our wellbeing. When we can’t seem to find the time to participate in a community, we should always remember we can turn to God.  
He is always listening and will always come through for us when we ask. It may not be in the way we expect, or in our timeframe, but He always provides a way. All we must do is pray.

Reach Nicole Byerley by by e-mailing nicby0707@gmail.com.