I was one of eighty art teachers hired one summer to fill every elementary school in Nashville. They hired us from different states. They hired us from varied teaching backgrounds. They hired us with and without art education degrees. We were a ragtag group. At the end of the first year 30+ teachers left. At the end of the second year 20+ teachers left. What was causing this exodus of art educators. I'm sure a number of reasons could be cited, but I believe deeply that it was because they did not reach out. There is something extremely special about humbly going to someone else, sharing your needs, and seeking assistance. It can be transformative. It wasn't until teachers began feeling connected/supported that the retention rate stabilized. Education is best in community. We were never meant to go it alone. Art educators often work in isolation in their individual schools. That need to develop a support system around you is incredibly important for the success, longevity, and enjoyment of one's career. Support is more than just cheering each other on.......it is about encouraging one another to grow, calling out things that are questionable, and sharing our strengths(to meet the weaknesses we all possess). Sometimes though...it requires us to reach out.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Luke 8: 43-48
The Christian life can not be lived "well" in isolation. We were not designed to go it alone. There are those that feel fellowship, accountability, and support are not necessary. They believe they are strong enough, know enough, and good enough that they don't have a need for the church or the people of the church. I've heard many make the statement, "I don't have to go to church to believe in God!" While this is technically true, it misses the heart of God's message to us. The Bible is about relationships. God's relationship to us, our relationship to God, our relationship to each other, our relationship to the world...does this sound like we can do it all by ourselves? We may be dysfunctional at best, but God gave us this family of believers to encourage, challenge, and support one another as we grow in faith. We must reach out and take hold of it. Is it perfect...no. Will we get hurt from time to time...possibly. However, when we step out in faith....we will be amazed at what the Lord can do.
Reach out...and believe.