There is something about community that is alluring and scary at the same time. In community I’ve been talked about, lied to, betrayed, and misunderstood. Especially in the Christian community there can sometimes be this undue pressure to present yourself perfectly. To be perfect.
I’ve been discovering this past year the true beauty amongst the ashes of broken people. I am convinced that those who have been forgiven much love much. There is something about restoration and change causes us to love God out of a place of gratefulness and humility. It’s such s vulnerable place. When you have messed up the last thing you want is to hear “I told you so”. You just want to come as you are and know that next time you will do your best to make good choices.
I never understood the enormous value of authentic community until I began living my life honestly and not hiding my faults. I started confessing my sin to trusted friends instead of keeping it between “me and Jesus”. I began to hear the pain of others and realized that I could relate to their struggle and pain.
One of my best friends, Julie, showed me what true community was all about. I was trying to avoid people earlier this year and she had just met me but would not leave me alone. I joke with her and say that she stalked me constantly! She text me and asked me to hang out,go to dinner, and asked random fitness questions. She was persistent in making sure I was not sitting at home alone all the time, therefore we would spontaneously hang out. Her friendship did not stop there. She heard my vision for HHope and asked how she could help. She asked me to share the vision and wanted to be apart of helping. She had just met me! I was so surprised by her thoughtfulness. She herself had just come to know Jesus like 8 months before she met me. Her honesty and vulnerability was compelling. I learned so much from her life and willingness to serve others. It reminded me of what a person’s life looks like when Jesus transforms them. Because of her I have learned more about authentically loving people. The text messages, emails with devotionals,prayers, or phone calls are all so huge. Julie and Jessica were an answer to prayer because my close friends weren’t in the same city or got married. I was missed having a community of people near me. These two were an answer to prayers.
When I moved to Austin I was not seeking community. I knew like 2 families but lets face it, there were no young 20 something singles. So I was planning to just live devoid of community. I had plenty of friends back home so I did not think I needed people here. I was WRONG. I was so wrong. We all need community. God dropped me right into the best Restore (Life group, small group, etc. Every church calls it something different) group of young adults. I made some of the sweetest friends and people who make Austin home for me. Without this restore group, I would be pretty lonely. That is the honest truth. I am thankful God moved me here in October rather than January.
A girl from our group had a need and we rallied around her to help meet that need. Her need was met in less than 30 minutes. Literally. Authentic vulnerability and honesty can truly set you up for a blessing. This is what the church is all about, community.
I am learning that God has all the details planned out. So if you are looking for community or devoid of community, I pray you find some people. Take a leap of faith and attend a small group or get to know your neighbors and the people you live near. Living life with community is truly the deepest blessing.
I am learning so much from the Tangible Kingdom study we are doing in our restore group about the importance of community. Although I have heard this stuff in church before, it’s different because I am really endeavoring to live it to the best of my ability.
So jump out, leap, and welcome new adventures. Where ever you go, God will put the right people in your path and give you the right community.