How many Facebook friends do you have? What about Twitter or Instagram followers? Between church members, friends from various levels of school (elementary to grad school), sorority sisters, event industry contacts, my FB friends number over 2000 (no I’m really not that popular!) Yet, among all of those connections, who can I say is in my spiritual tribe? First off, what’s a spiritual tribe?
My definition of a spiritual tribe is a group of people who are living out their walk with Christ daily. These people not perfect, but strive to live godly lives. I believe these are people who are also living out the calling that God has placed on their lives. That doesn’t necessarily mean being a preacher or pastor, but recognizing that God has called one to a specific purpose, and doing one’s best, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to fulfill this calling. The members of your spiritual tribe are close to you. They have nothing but your best interest at heart. They are on the same spiritual journey you’re on and they want to see you be successful, just as they themselves want to be successful. They recognize that the tribe is in it together, and that there’s no room for negativity or judgment…just love, encouragement and support.
As we are striving, working, trusting and praying along this journey, there will be some days when we just ain’t feelin’ it. Sometimes we get tired of dealing with folks who make promises then disappoint; we’re sick of facing haters and those with a jealous spirit, we’re over those who are living just for show (no substance to their walk); we’re done with those who, as James Brown would say “talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothin.’” This can get old real fast…anybody been there?
But yet, how do we overcome these challenges so that we can continue along our Christian journey? First, we need to go to God and ask for help! Also, this is where our spiritual tribe can come in. If we have the right people in our tribe, they can sense when we are struggling and offer a word of encouragement. They can totally relate to what we’re experiencing, and want to help lift us out of the funk we’re in so you can keep going. They know we have something to offer the Body of Christ, and give us that nudge to help you continue. They also convict us in a loving way when we’re wrong and out of order! And when we do make mistakes, they don’t judge.
So, having described what I believe is a spiritual tribe…who’s in yours? A tribe doesn’t have to consist of a slew of folks (truth be told, it probably shouldn’t). Since your tribe members are those with whom you can be transparent, this number should be a small one. One of the qualities of a tribe member that I didn’t mention earlier is that he or she should be trustworthy! She is able to hold things in confidence that need to be held in confidence (and you are willing and able to do the same thing for them).
So take a look at your friends and ask yourself…who’s in my tribe? If you can count one or two as a member of your tribe, be grateful! Don’t mistake tribal membership for acquaintances or colleagues. And if you don’t feel you have one, pray and ask God to show you who should be in your tribe. No man is an island, and we need one another to keep pressing toward the mark. I’m grateful for those in my spiritual tribe and I pray I am a blessing to them, just as they are to me.