Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Fear & Truth About Community

photo by my hubby
  1. 1.
    a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

  2. 2.
    a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Some of you are cringing at the thought of this word. Some of you are introverts. Some of you prefer being alone. It could also be that some of you desire community but you don’t know how to get there. Some of you love the thought of being surrounded by people. Whatever stage it is that you are in I want you to dive a little deeper. As people we are created for community. God did not intend for us to be alone. We each have our own personality, gifts, abilities, family dynamics, etc. but we NEED community to thrive, to learn from and to grow.  

Here are four reasons why I think we are afraid of community:

1.  It requires work
I will tell you right now I am horrible at staying in touch with people. This really requires some intentionality on my part. It’s not that I don’t miss my friends I just get caught up in life. But friendships are worth the work. You never know,  a simple text or phone call could bless someone’s day. This friend of mine has been so faithful in sending me a daily text since I moved three months ago. Her texts are from a devotional and let me tell you, the timing on some of those have been perfect. About a month ago I was having a bad day and I was just broken in tears. Seconds later my phone buzzed and it was her text. I needed to hear God’s word in that moment. So yes, it does require work but you could be a blessing to someone.

2. It’s messy
Let’s face it, we don’t want to get hurt, nobody does. So in our minds the easiest thing is to step back and just watch. We don’t want to get our hands “dirty” so we become content with what we have even if that means no “true” community. I will tell you from experience that you will be hurt by people; you will be challenged by relationships. I came across a quote that says, “We met for a reason either you’re a blessing or a lesson.” Don't let that quote scare you. So this point ties in with the next..

3. It’s scary
We are afraid. Because I’ve been hurt my automatic response is to build up a wall so high nobody is ever allowed to get in. But that my friends is selfish. I need people and people need me. I had to stop looking at how I’ve been hurt, brush off the pain, and let God heal the wounds because somewhere out there someone just might need me as friend. It is not all about me. It is scary opening up your heart and revealing yourself to someone. Obviously exercise wisdom on who you are sharing your heart with but people need people.

4. I’m tired of being the initiator
Some of you are just naturally welcoming. You have the gift of hospitality. Your home is always open to bible studies, play dates, and dinners. But you’ve grown tired of giving and for once you want to be the receiver. If this is you let me just encourage you for a moment. Don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." I’m so thankful for people like you. Take a break if need be but don't be discouraged and quit all together.

Community can be scary, tiring, unending, and messy but it can also be strengthening and well worth it. I will leave you with this last thought in Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Additional Resources:

  • Visit church websites near you. In most cases churches have communities or small groups that may fit your needs with people who share common interests.
  • Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities. (If you have a smart phone you can get their app for free)
  • (in)RL - Exploring the Nitty Gritty of Community Video Series by (in)courage

Power Verses:

Proverbs 17:17
A good friend loves at all times

John 13:34-35
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

Philippians 2:4
Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

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