I am an introvert. I like quiet. I like my space. I am independent and recharge alone and don’t like interruptions.
And the God who placed my husband and I in East Lake knows me, because living here messes with me. It alters my sense of safety. It interrupts my privacy and violates my illusion of control.
Living in East Lake, a diverse neighborhood in an oppressed part of the South, I do not have peace and quiet. Working from home, I may be interrupted at any moment by sirens or shouting or neighbors knocking on my door. The anxious part of my bipolar mind can have a field day. I do not like this. I never have.
And yet living in East Lake has taught me something I couldn’t have learned any other way. I, independent and introverted as I am, need people to lean on.
My anxiety can be debilitating. I need to be less in my own head. He breaks me in prayer for the devastation in the community outside my door.
I like to feel competent and in charge. I need humility from the One who set the stars in place and calls them out each night by name. He rebukes me through people who are themselves humbled and whose need make me feel at times incompetent.
I like structure. I need flexibility and openness to the life happening all around me. He softens me through conversations and interactions that happen in His time, not mine.
My need is practical too. Our income last year was touch and go. Twice, people in our community church slipped us donations. On Christmas Eve, we found a card with $1,000 cash in our mailbox. The card was unsigned.
Community is uncomfortable. It’s inconvenient and noisy and anxious. But it’s also healing. It’s transforming. It’s money in the mailbox.
Living in East Lake has taught me this: I need somebody to lean on. And if the song is right, so do we all.