About the Author

Bianca Olthoff is an (in)courage alumni who spends most of her time working as Chief Storyteller for The A21 Campaign, a global anti-human trafficking organization. By day she's a freedom writer who advocates for justice, but at night she's a step-mom who loves to have dance parties with Parker, Ryen, and Ricci [a.k.a. The...

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  1. Awwww! I love that you would try to communicate with a Deaf/ hh person. My daughter is Deaf and most people just ignore her. Sigh!
    Thanks for being willing to be uncomfortable!

    • Yes, I would 🙂 In fact, I’ve learned a few phrases so I can at least start a lip-reading dialogue.

      I know, I know! I’m cheesy.

  2. I deeply desire to do Life with others. My two best friends are truly soul sisters and know me better than anyone. But because of the physical distance between us and the challenges of all having small children, we seldom get to be with one another. When we do it’s a rich and meaningful time.

    But I’ve realized lately that my heart needs to be known and challenged more than a few times a year! So this year is my season of initiating! I’m putting myself out there and reaching out to a couple of moms I’ve met through a mom’s group at a local church. I’m longing for community, a friend to walk through the daily joys and struggles of life with…so I’m trying to be the new friend I hope to find.

    • Becky, I feel your pain because I have 3 reeeeally good girlfriends who I go back to as my “rock.”

      However, they are across the country. So for immediate, physical connection, I’m forced to get uncomfortable and ASK people to live in my life. It’s tough… but worth it!

    • Don’t worry, Carrie. It’s like that for many of us. Even the outgoing ones 😀

      But we gain the most from our lives in uncomfortable situations.

  3. Most of the time I feel like I’m living my life with no one. And I’m so needing someone. I’ve been taking small steps. They’ve been good steps that have helped me in some ways but have not helped in that area. I pray I’ll take a step that helps me find someone soon…

    • No matter what, don’t get discouraged. You can take a step of faith, then regret it. But that doens’t mean to give up.

      It’s a scary thing, but the rewards are great.

  4. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head as why, with all the social networking technology we have and use, there is a growing sense of isolation: ” I use my outgoingness to engage with random people, but lack the ability to be vulnerable, scared, and uncomfortable.”

    It takes real INTENTIONALITY to push past the inner obstacles, but it is for the good of all involved to jump in and learn to swim. We have to do it together.

  5. I’m very blessed to be with a group of women who meet once a week to study the Bible, share prayer concerns, and celebrate birthdays. We’ve gone through all the Beth Moore Bible Series. They are especially meaningful. Now each day, my first e-mail I open is In Courage!

    • Bestie! I love you. More than you know… more than you know.

      Matt and I want to go down the 25th-26th. Let’s make it happen!

  6. I have read so much lately about community and feel there must be something wrong with me. I have tried to extend myself to connect with several people, inviting them to lunch and calling, emailing or texting, but unless I am the one to make the communication, there is none really except maybe occasional. It seems that everyone already has their community and I am looking in the window.

    • Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

      Pray for the Lord to bring the right people into your life. I thought my circle would be people like me. But in fact they are the antithesis of me! And it’s been awesome.

      Don’t give up.

  7. Oh Bianca!! This is such a great post! So so true! I know exactly how that is. Sometimes it’s so much easier to send an email, tweet, or comment to someone rather than pick up the phone and call them or meet up with them. I know it’s time for me to get out of my comfort zone (which happens to be so small it’s actually hard to stay in) and be socially awkward and uncomfortable. Thanks for the push Bianca!! Love you and have a really blessed Wednesday!

  8. love this Bianca 🙂 it is hard to create community… I think we all struggle and feel awkward in facing those hard places, but you are right… it is SOOOO worth it in the long run 🙂

  9. Thank you for this great post! I feel that sometimes, well, most times, I am socially awkward and don’t really know how to make friends. I would love to be able to make online connections and friends as well as real-life friends. I pray that I can step out of my comfort zone and begin to make new friendships. Thank you again for this great nudge!

  10. A couple of things. As you wrote, “I use my outgoingness to engage with random people, but lack the ability to be vulnerable, scared, and uncomfortable.” Color me identical. Everything is easier behind a microphone, or behind a keyboard, but rubber hitting the road – and as you put it really brilliantly, “To be uncomfortable, uncool, and unedited.” – awesome.
    I’m about ready to join the blogging “community” (two weeks ago I hadn’t a clue about it) and will remember your words, that “blog friends, facebook friends, and tweeps are great and supportive, but…”
    I think if Our Lord were here, living a human life, as he did when he walked the earth, he would probably have a blog, but still not be able to pass by a widow, poverty stricken soul, blind, hurting, and of course, his circle of real human friends – face to face – hand to hand – just that kind of guy.

    God Bless, from a first time visitor and soon to be blogger, and huge believer in love, and a broken but nearly fixed vessel

    Craig

    • Yay! A boy is here!!!! I thought all this estrogen would scare the boys away, but I’m stoked you joined the club.

      Blogging Advice: Be YOU. Don’t try to be anyone else but YOU.

  11. Oh, I’m feeling quite jealous of beautiful you and lovely Sarah too right now! I wish I could see you both in person! Saving a big ol’ HUG for whenever I do! 🙂

    • Man, oh man! I WISH I could’ve been at the beach house with ya’ll. As wonderful as my honeymoon was (:) ), I missed out on meeting my [in]courage community.

      One day, sweet Holley. One day…

  12. i love you B. Someone this week just asked me who were the women that were currently speaking into my life. I told here that you were regularly speaking truth to me and pushing me to do better.

    I’m so so glad we’re friends.

  13. I find community easy when it’s someone sharing with me, but you are right it is difficult to be transparent, to share the failures. I also have a far away friend just out of reach. I’m still looking for that friend(s) whom I can “bear and share” 🙂

  14. This is a great kick in the pants reminder! I’ve been trying to get into relating again after a summer of kid quarantine. It felt awkward to just jump back in touch, so I just announced to my three best friends and my family that I’d be calling one family member and one friend every week just to say hi. Takes a lot of courage to sit there and sometimes not know what to say in a relationship I’ve let go somewhat, but I’m still at it – a month later! Your post really encourages me to stick with it! Thanks!

  15. Community is so important. Life seems so gray without people to share our lives with. Since I’m a youth writer, I was thinking about our youth groups as I read this post. It’s so important to bring that welcoming community vibe into our jr. high, high school groups . Sometimes these groups are centered around the extroverts, and so many of those God made introverts get lost along the way. They need to know we need them too.

  16. When all of our children became adults, for some reason our group got together less. But when we do it’s so much fun.

    So, my online communities are wonderful for keeping me accountable, lifted, making me laugh, and sharing prayer together.

    I’m thankful for all of you. Thank you for this post Bianca. I miss my girls.

  17. At the (in)courage Hilton Head trip I said, “Bianca looks just like Jasmine Star!” It was Sarah who explained to me why. 🙂 I’m happy for you that you two were able to connect in real life!

  18. Hey there Bianca! This is Joey Rozek’s wife Tiffany. i am sure you remember our brief encounter back in the days when you journeyed to England with a team from Old Bridge, NJ with Joey. Victoria D. talks of you occasionally so I thought I’d reach out and say hello! Plus, you are buddies with my sister-in-law Sarah M. and I think that’s wonderful! I just wanted to give you a shout and tell you that Joey and I pray for you and look forward to meeting your hubby one day! God bless you sista!

    • I’d love to visit you both! Please give Joey my love and Madaline and Josiah 🙂 I think of your clan often and hope to share in some English tea sometime soon!

      xoxo