A couple weeks ago we took a road trip to visit friends for the weekend. You may recall I mentioned them, saying they “had the nerve to move away.” Yes, I said it. Because honestly? I get really annoyed when people I love move away.

I’m not mad at them, of course. Or any of my friends who have moved across town or the country, or any of my friends who never lived here in the first place and refuse to move next door to me.

But the hard, grown-up fact that I can’t gather all the people I love the most and force them to live with me, like we’re in the dorm at college? I kind of hate that.

Every time a friend moves away, I tell myself that’s it. I’m done. I’m not making any new friends. Because you know what? They’ll just leave. They’ll get a new job, go to a different church, go on a mission trip and never come home.

I’ve been pretty comfortable in that big baby scaredy cat mindset, too. But earlier this year, a sermon about this very thing hit me between the eyes.

The topic was connecting and community, so I didn’t have to work hard to apply the message to my longing for close relationships and fear that they’ll only end in hurt and “I miss you, please move back” emails. And it’s not like I’d never noticed that Jesus had close friends – close friends he knew would hurt him in the end. But I hadn’t really thought about the fact that while Jesus knew Judas would betray him and Peter would deny him, He chose to love them and live with them anyway.

After I was smacked in the face with that message, though, I felt frustrated. Sure, I get it. Community is important and relationships are worth the possible hurt I might encounter along the way. But how on earth do I make that happen?

There was a time when I was rolling in friends. I had work friends and church friends. I had single friends and couple friends. I had high school friends and college friends and new friends. (Notice how I didn’t call you “old friends,” lovely ladies from high school and college!)

Today is a different story.

Today is sporadic emails and Facebook messages instead of spontaneous happy hours. Today is scheduling a girls’ night out two months in advance only to cancel at the last minute because of a sick kiddo. Today is, “I haven’t seen you in forever!” and “We should get together soon. Yeah, we should.” Today is realizing that I have closer relationships with the people I Skype and tweet than the people I sit next to in church and drive past at the preschool.

Today is hard.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about?

Maybe you miss girls nights out or scrapbooking retreats or book clubs or coffee dates. Maybe your friends have moved away or drifted away. Maybe you’ve always had a hard time finding friends to connect with – or finding time to connect with your friends. Maybe it’s a little bit of all of the above. I know it is for me.

That’s why I love what (in)courage is doing in a few months.

(in)RL is going to be a day of (in)courage meetups all around the country and globe and a webcast for everyone to tune into. Women will gather to watch live webcasts of (in)courage contributors and community, connect with each other and discover new friendships they didn’t know were right around the corner.

On Saturday, April 28, thousands of (in)courage women all over the world will be getting together in homes, coffee shops, restaurants, or churches to connect in real life.

And even though it’s hard – and not a little bit scary – I’m going to host an (in)RL meetup. What about you? Will you attend a meetup or even host one?

Sure, those new friends might live across town. Or be different from you. Or hurt your feelings someday. Or move away and never call, never write. But what if they don’t? Or what if they do, but they also give great hugs and listen with their whole hearts and watch chick flicks with you and drink coffee with you at any hour of the day?

Let’s do this. Let’s reach out and connect in real life. Let’s make new friends anyway.

[Oh, hey! If you’re worried about planning a get-together, check out my ebook, Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}!]

Here are the links you need for (in)RL:

(in)RL website
(in)RL Q&A
Register for (in)RL
Host an (in)RL meetup

And don’t miss this great trailer video:

This post is part of a progressive blog tour. Don’t miss Sarah Mae’s post from yesterday or Arianne’s post tomorrow!

Do you find it hard to make friends anyway? Are you going to – or hosting – an (in)RL meetup? Will you come to mine???

P.S. I can’t remember who took the photo up above. It’s from Relevant, and I’d love to give credit where credit’s due. So if it’s yours, please let me know!

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