Your Tribe Is Not Who You Think


Your tribe. It's all some people can talk about these days. How we need to find our tribes, get in there and stay, snuggled up amid the glow of happy friend-talk. If only it were that simple.  

I have agonized over the issue of finding my tribe for some time now. Over and over again I have looked for my tribe, only to find disappointment as my constant bedfellow. The parameters of the tribe, as defined by popular culture, are the ones who 'get' you. I would still be a long time looking if God had not shown something to me. 

It occurred to me that this idea of 'tribe' is something which may be a little misleading. If you're a Christian, you probably find that those with whom you spend your time are often not those who are most like you. And if those around you are similar to you, they probably still differ from you in significant ways. 

For example. I am a songwriter. I only know three other songwriters. My style and substance is quite different from that of the other three. I can't write sheet music (not that anyone can follow anyway). I can barely play piano and I don't know how to play a horn. I write melodies straight out of the sky as the good Lord provides them, whereas my other three friends do not. We're different. Though we're the same. Kind of. 

And so it goes. Looking for those who are just like me is exhausting and has proven to be impossible. I've spent far too long envious of everyone else who, from appearances, would seem to have found their tribe. In the process I've ignored the tribe who is right in front of me. 

When we look at the body, we see odd groupings of parts jumbled together, hanging out with each other. Two eyeballs are there with a nose, a mouth and, hopefully, a full set of teeth. There's an ear on each side and a head of hair on top. The face is a tribe of different parts, not just 50 eyeballs hanging out together. 

If you'll notice, even the teeth who are grouped together are all different and serve a specific function. You don't just see molars hanging with each other; they are spaced out and sit with other teeth of different sizes and shapes.  

And God put them all together. In a tribe. 

Look at your hands. You have a group of fingers, but each one is so different. Your pointer is shorter than your middle finger and your pinkie is even shorter still. If you really had a hand full of thumbs you'd really be in a mess and it just wouldn't make any sense. Each hand is a tribe. 

Your organs are placed together and each perform very different functions. Still, they are needed by each other and work together for a single purpose, much like us. 

As far as I can see, our tribe is the group of people that God has placed together, for example, in the local church. There are people there who can build, sew, cook, bake, sing, play piano, compose music (me!), budget, plan, preach, watch children, decorate, design, draw, paint, choreograph and run sound.

If all the composers were only with the other composers, and if those who could draw only spent time with each other, who would watch the children or make mashed potatoes? 

The Bible says, 'If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.' 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

I want us all to fully give ourselves the permission to stop looking for this tribe of people who are exactly like us and to embrace our tribe as the body of Christ, those who believe in Him for salvation.

For there is no one truly like us anyway.

I think we confuse the idea of belonging with the idea of being understood. And there is a difference. You can belong in a tribe with all sorts of different sorts and be fine. You may not feel understood as you go about doing what you were created to do. I have found a similar tension.

Because I am a musician, I like to travel to places musicians hang out. Most are not Christian. I feel understood in my passions for melody and chord progressions, but at the end of the day, I do not feel as deeply understood as I do by the other members of the church. While I love hanging with other musicians, I truly belong to the body of Christ. They are my tribe.

And it is good when groups of people get together, like at writers' conventions and the like, but even then, each has a separate calling and a separate vein to which they are called. Each one is different like the fingers on our hands. Which means we don't have to be like everyone else and everyone else doesn't have to be like us. 

Instead we are blessed by others who fill in the gaps for where we lack and for whom we are called to do the same. I can find no better tribe than that. 



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Food for thought, Rosa. I appreciate the parallels you've described. I resonate with so much of what you've written here.
love this perspective!
This is so true, Rosa!
Really enjoyed reading this post. I’m a blogger, artist, writer, life coach, exercise junkie and speaker, I don’t find many people that fit into my tribe perfectly but I have found people to compliment me and my goals in life. Thanks for writing and sharing this Rosa :)

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