So much of the work that I do on my little corner of the internet here is work I do alone. I write at my kitchen table with just the clicking of my keys for company, I wander around city streets with just my camera to scout out shots, I doodle and journal sitting on my couch with just a glass of wine by my side.
But this year, I learned something. My work is so much better when I don't do it all alone. Even more than that, my heart is better, my soul is better, my life is better when I don't do it all alone.
It started with Rethink Creative Group back in January. I found myself on the phone with a guy who lived in Texas who had gotten connected to my blog, and he asked me to join a team of several other men who were using their creative talents to glorify the Lord and change the world.
I had been a blogger before that, but I wasn't consistent, I wasn't very committed, and I honestly wasn't really very good either. But those guys saw potential in me, saw what my heart was after, and they invited me in to their community and I became part of their family.
My writing improved dramatically over the months that followed, and it's because I had a team backing me every step of the way and encouraging me to grow as a person and as a writer. I wasn't just writing by myself and putting it on my blog without anyone else looking at it, I was now collaborating and brainstorming and working with other people who challenged my work and made it the best it could be.
Now, as the editor over Rethink's new blog, The Rising, I get to be part of building that community even more and taking it to new places and depths, and it's an incredible honor and challenge and gift. The collaborations of our team and all of its members, with each of their individual hearts and gifts and voices, are unbelievable and so beautiful. None of us could accomplish on our own what we can do as a team.
At some point this summer, I caught wind of something on Twitter called #fireworkpeople. If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen me blowing up your feed with that hashtag every week. Curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked on the hashtag one day. I was amazed at the positivity, joy and encouragement that radiated from the tweets that filled my screen.
I knew I wanted to be in this group, if for no other reason than I wanted that kind of light in my life. I joined the Facebook group and jumped right in to the weekly Twitter parties (Tuesday nights at 9 pm-- just search #fireworkpeople and join us!)
Now, again, I'm reminded astoundingly that we are so much better when we are together. People from around the world are joining this group of talented, driven, passionate, radiant creatives of all kinds, and the community is growing rapidly. It's not surprising, really.
We are all hungry to be seen, hungry to be heard, hungry to be loved and appreciated and valued. When we are alone, nobody is there to see us, hear us, appreciate us. When we are together, when we join in, when we live in community, we have people that see us. They hear us. They wrap us up in love and appreciate everything about us.
I'm better because I'm part of these groups. A better human, a better writer, a better dreamer and believer and passion-follower. These people aren't always necessarily like me, I haven't met most of them in real life, they aren't perfect, sometimes I disagree with them...but they're my people.
They're the ones that I share my heart with, share my words with, dream big ideas with, problem solve with, laugh with, cry with, celebrate with, change the world with. They're the ones that remind me every day that life is a beautiful thing and there is always something to celebrate, even in the midst of overwhelming uncertainty. They're the ones that make me laugh (shout out to my girl Ansley!), that make me feel unstoppable (Ashley, the force behind #fireworkpeople, is the best at this!), that free me to dream big and encourage me endlessly (here's to David, the dreamer behind Rethink!).
We are all so much better when we are together.
In the early days of my writing with Rethink, I wrote a whole post called "Your Art Needs Other Art." I wrote these words then, and find them even more true and meaningful today.
Let the art of others inspire you. Let it challenge you. Let it refresh you. Let it make your art better.
The work that you do may be work you've always done alone. I get that. But your life doesn't have to be lived alone. You can bring all that you are and all that you do and make and create into community, and I promise it will be for good.
If you want this kind of a fiery, beautiful, life-changing community to call home, #fireworkpeople would absolutely love to welcome you with open arms and big virtual bear hugs. If you are a writer and want to be part of a team that's changing the world for Jesus, The Rising would love to hear from you.
This post is part of the #fireworkpeople blog tour! To see all other posts on the tour, click here.