24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Lifegroup simply means fellowship, shared lives with co-believers. The very purpose of it is to grow together with one another’s walk with God, simply sharing lives and encouraging one another.
I’ve been attending the church since I came here in Dubai, last year March 20th and the first time I attend the service was 26th and it was in Sharjah. The first question I’ve ever received after the service was if I already have a life group. I have no idea what is life group so I said no I don’t have. Then, the girl who asked me told me what life group is all about and she asked if I wanted to join in. Unfortunately, I turned her down politely. I told her that I just came here in Dubai and I would love to join in once I got settled and found a job.
A few weeks later, someone from the church took mine and my friend’s number and gave it to one of the life group leaders who was living in the same area as I am. She contacted me and my friend and little that we know it will be the start. Cut the story short that’s the beginning of me being a part of the life group.
It was a great help for me actually to be part of a life group during those times. It helped me to have a positive mindset while I was looking for a job and it had open a door for me to know more about God. We don’t only meet just to catch up with one another but also to build a stronger foundation of our relationship with one another and most importantly with God. Although, I still have my reservations because I’m not that comfortable talking about my life with other people. I actually have these walls up that I built to protect myself.
I think I have been disappointed early back on in life that I tend to keep everything that’s going on with just by myself. No one really knows what’s going on with me because I have chosen not to open up even with my closest friends. It’s not that I isolate myself, I have friends that I open up too but only a few and I only share bits and pieces of what’s going on and it usually takes time before I do so. I enjoy listening to my friends and I felt privileged when they run to me whenever they’re going through something because that means that they trust me and that they value my opinion. I, on the other hand, is a piece of work. I wanted to put down these walls and open up to other people but my biggest fear is that there would be judgment. I felt like no one would understand and I have this pride of not wanting to be a burden to other people.
The first life group that I had put a dent on that wall. I find myself sharing little by little but still, I have reservations like I said. A time came I shifted to Dubai church and my leader connected me to the life group there but I decided I will take a break from that. It did me good but still part of me is not yet ready to be out there.
Every week I attend church but I’m trying not to mingle that much cause I’m trying to avoid people asking me to join the life group. I don’t want to lie so I limit my interaction. Months and months had passed, 7 months to be exact and I didn’t join any group and those were the months I felt like I’m lost.
I felt like a buoy floating in the ocean, just stuck there in one place. I felt restless during those times. I wake up in the morning, go to work, go home, do whatever that will consume my time, sometimes go out, then sleep and the same routine the next day. It’s tiring, I felt like I’m wasting the life that God had given me. I was going in circles, I don’t have direction and I don’t know my purpose. I just feel like I’m lost in the trance and what I didn’t know was that it’s about to change.
It’s as if like God told me that’s enough.I don’t know what came to me that day but suddenly I just ask my friend who’s going to the same church as I am if she’s already connected to a life group and I was like why did I ask that. Guess the answer, she said yes and she even invited me. I felt like I was trapped that time and felt no choice but to agree.
I decided, okay I will attend if I don’t like it then I will not go further but it was amazing, it was perfect and it was more than what I expected. God truly works the mysterious way and everything is really beautiful in His time. Everything just fell into place, it was the right time, the right group, there’s nothing I can even complain about.
My fear, my walls, my pride one by one God had broke that. Before I even know it, I was there sitting with these wonderful ladies sharing my life and getting inspired by their encounters as well. Now I understand why God wants us to have fellowship and that is to encourage, empower, rebuke, be accountable, be present and to grow stronger in Him with another. Having a friendship where God is the foundation and very center of it is one of the best things that happened to me.
Life will never be the same without the fellowship. I have gone through a lot of things and having a fellowship have helped me go through it. It doesn’t make your problems disappear but to have someone encourage you, be there with you in the middle of the storm it becomes bearable. Life group has also helped me realize my mistakes and the wrong decisions I have done because being in fellowship is not only about being there for someone in a good and bad times but also helping one another to prevent being in a bad situation, guiding one another, being accountable for one another and even rebuking one another by the guidance of Holy Spirit.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
God’s want us to be in a fellowship with one another, so that we may encourage and build one another and to share even our sufferings with each other. Isn’t it God is so amazing how he used the fellowship to build us up, to discover more about Him and even about ourselves and be in awe on how he works in our lives differently but with one moving force which is His love for us. ( As Pastor Pete said, ” Different, different but same same :)”)
Find a friend who shares the same faith, be in fellowship with that person so that you may encourage and build one another and pull back one another when one of you is hanging on the edge of the cliff.
(Photo Credit: Photos were taken by yours truly and my sisters from the Lifegroup :))