Creating Community While Socially Distant - Janie Reed

I think we’re all Zoomed out. In the absence of a spring season, I’ve been able to stay very connected to others, whether that’s been joining a Bible study with some friends, staying in touch with our Church on the Dirt community, or reconnecting with my college connections. The government has physically socially-distanced us, but in our hearts I think we were already isolating ourselves through technology. Now that we are physically forced to be apart, we are learning how to use technology for a better purpose — for creating community instead of hiding from it. 

This has been really heavy on my heart. It’s caused me to think, whether I’m on the road, in a hotel room or at home, I need to carry my prayer list with me wherever I go. It may or may not be easy to go back to normal after the COVID-19 crisis, but I don’t want to. I feel like I’m getting a second chance to do our softball team’s Olympic Tour, and life in general, in a better fashion. 

A huge part of this for me is accountability. I feel so blessed to have such spiritual powerhouse women around me, but I need to stay connected to them. I’ve also realized that what makes a mentor so effective is that they’re not in what you’re in every day. They can see, from the outside, what you’re going through and speak truth to areas you may be blinded to. But our mentors can only be as close to us as we let them be. We must stay connected and close to those who can speak truth into our lives. We need people who can kick us in the butt in a loving way. 

In one of these Bible studies I’ve been a part of, we’ve been talking about how God is love as a force, not just a feeling. I was faced with the question, “Do my teammates know that I love them?” Not the typical definition of love we easily throw around, but is each one confident that they are loved by me? A goal for me is to not just love in words, but in action. 

In the world of professional sports, you can get so caught up in yourself. Since you have to focus on your game, your world naturally becomes centered around yourself. It’s hard being on a team and dealing with different personalities, but I’m challenging myself to really live out what I say. Since I have a public platform, I want to be able to confidently say I am living out what I claim. Wherever I am and with whatever happens, I hope I can confidently say that I loved my team really well.

— Janie Reed, USA Softball player

Janie Reed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Janie’s Increase profile here.

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