Community—gosh, now more than ever community has become crucial for our well-being. It is so easy to slip into isolation. A community can serve many purposes, but one of its chief roles is as a catalyst for our personal growth and well-being. Community is the gauge on our perceived reality, it is the throttle for inspiration, and it is the lens that widens our worldview.
When I looked up the word community, two definitions struck me in particular: 1, “a group of people with common characteristics or interest living together” and 2, “a body of persons of common and professional interests scattered through a larger society.” The first definition includes my immediate community found within my home, my church, and my social circles nearby. The second definition includes distant community found on my social media, the Noonday Ambassador sisterhood, and our Artisan Partners all over the globe. Both sets of communities are essential to my personal growth and well-being.
COMMUNITY IS THE GAUGE ON MY PERCEIVED REALITY
It’s difficult to gauge reality when I am living in my “own little world.” Outside perspectives on my little world do two things: reaffirm me and challenge me. This last year I found myself stuck in periods of ‘situational depression’ where I lacked the motivation to do things from cleaning up the kitchen to working my Noonday business. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong and I wondered if I was over-reacting. Someone in my close community reaffirmed what I was feeling by first defining it for me and then assuring me I wasn’t alone in it. This input helped me grow through that tricky season.
On the flip side, I complained to a friend about something lacking at our church and instead of commiserating with me, my friend challenged me: “Why don’t you step up then?” At first, it was not the response I wanted. I just wanted to wallow in my complaints and have my friend join in. But her challenge moved me to serve in a new area in my church community. Not only was it beneficial to the church, but it brought so much personal growth.
COMMUNITY IS THE THROTTLE FOR INSPIRATION
I am constantly in need of inspiration for my life: inspiration for homeschooling, running my Noonday business, creating beauty, nurturing my relationships, and bettering myself, to name a few. While there are several sources I go to such as Pinterest, social media, magazines, and my Bible, my community is also a source of inspiration.
As an Ambassador, I’ve always got my eyes open for business ideas. Sometimes I hit a wall though. I’ve found that ideas buzz when two or more brainstorm together. The Ambassador community is so generous in their sharing of ideas from creative ways to display jewelry to time-savers in running online Trunk Shows. I am never short of inspiration when I reach out to my Ambassador community.
One of the most inspiring things to hear is how others are growing and learning. When I make time for my community and listen to their life lessons, I cannot help but be inspired to reflect on my own heart and desire transformation.
COMMUNITY IS THE LENS THAT WIDENS MY WORLD VIEW
Being a Noonday Ambassador has enriched my life in more ways than one, and one of those ways has been the global community it has exposed me to. There are hundreds of Ambassadors all over the USA doing the good work of building a flourishing world. The fact that I am part of something bigger than my little corner of California is both humbling and thrilling.
Even more humbling and thrilling is the reality that thousands of miles from me there are men and women changing their corners of the world. I think about Anne in Kenya who wouldn’t let the pandemic snuff out her business. I think about Jyoti in India who helps vulnerable women. I think about our Artisan Partner in East Asia who helps women overcome exploitation.
This global community challenges me to take the myopic focus off myself. When my lens is widened, the petty concerns of myself get blurry. I desire to grow outside of myself. I want to resist falling into the “it’s all about me” mindset. Compassion, thoughtfulness, and better ears to listen are areas of growth I long for. Community brings that.
THE COST OF COMMUNITY
Community offers so much for personal growth and well-being, like outside perspectives, inspiration, and global focus. But there is a cost to inviting community into our lives, and that cost is vulnerability. In order to truly participate in and receive from our communities we must be willing to be honest and raw. And therein lies the root of all personal growth, so that the very act of joining a community by being vulnerable is the path to well-being. We’ll never be the same for it—and thank goodness for that!
Meet Farah Shaw
Farah is a homeschooling mom of four, long-time Noonday customer turned Ambassador, and children’s author. Follow her on Instagram @authorfcshaw.