Thursday, January 10, 2013

I was created to be in community

And you were, too.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

And Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

I think most people think these verses mean we should go to church, because that's where all the christians are on Sunday morning.  I think these verses mean much more than "go to church."

Yesterday I wrote a bit about feeling a little lonely because my husband and I have been spending so much time apart.  This feeling came on me during my winter break from work.  I had been off work for a week and a half.  I learned that I need to be around people a bit more often than two or three times a month.  I need to be in community.  Now I'm back at work and the phone is ringing and the co-workers are asking for stuff and my boss is talking to me.  My conversation tank got filled up in a day and a half.  I'm ready for the quiet again.

I don't know how things are world-wide, but I know here in America we have a tendency to isolate.  We are a nation born in a system of rugged individualism.  After WWII we, as a nation, believed in pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.  This attitude of personal independence can lead to isolation.  We can isolate ourselves into a feeling of loneliness.  Even people with busy lives and even with computers and all the social networking we've got going on, loneliness, by not having a true connection with other people, can result.  Some people fill this loneliness with "STUFF."  People with overspend and over collect and maybe even become hoarders while attempting to feel better about themselves.

God created us to live in community.  Remember back in Genesis when there was Adam and all the animals.  Well, Adam wasn't alone, was he?  No, he had all the animals around him.  Yet, he wasn't in community with another human being.  We were created to be in community.

It is great if one can find themselves plopped down smack in the midst of a loving group of people.  Most of us call that group we find ourselves born into, a family.  Unfortunately, that doesn't happen for everyone.  And, lately, more than half of the families in America find themselves broken and pieced together in some form or another, or maybe not at all.  The government wants schools to take over the roll of community that the broken American family has seemed to have dropped the ball in doing.  But, we all know the government isn't really good at managing money or people.  In fact, government is a proponent of the two-income household.  That way they can tax both mom and dad.  Another circumstance that makes keeping the community of the family from being a viable option is the job market.  Many of us find ourselves having to moving far away from extended family to find work.  This can cause many to become isolated as they move to places with no friends or family waiting for them.

This is why, for many of us, community has to be intentional.  We have to seek it out.  Even if we are introverts and can go for days without having a conversation.  We have to look for friends.  We have to take risks.  This is why churches were such a great way to find these relationships.  But, even church is becoming a tougher place to make this happen.  Churches want to get BIG!  So they have two or three or four or more services on Sunday or Wednesday or Saturday.  They have multiple ministers and ministries.  It's hard to develop a relationship with someone you may or may not see again, because of all the worship options.

I know we can find community in a card playing club or a sports team or a hobby club.  These are great ways to meet people.  And if you are a real risk taker, you may find a way to delve beneath the the surface of the people you meet in these clubs and make a real friendship.  Whether it's in a church or a club or school, we are meant to put ourselves inside a community of other humans.  We need relationships.

We need friends.  I'll even go so far and say we need a best friend.  Things in life are never as scary when you've got a best friend.  Alone, ideas and fears and worries can grow large and looming.  When you are with a friend and you speak these fears aloud, they lose their grandeur.  We can look at them for what they are.  A friend can then ask the question, if this is true, then what?

We need to nurture the friendships and family relationships we have.  They are vital to our well-being.  We were created to be in them.  I encourage you and me to go out and take a risk.  Go to church.  Smile and look inviting (not in a creepy way) and risk getting into a conversation with a person.  Who knows?  You may make a friend.



Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.  Our cue was Create.

70.  Emily's blog and the opportunity to find new blog friends
71.  A free sandwich for lunch
72.  Balmy days in January
73.  Ski club meeting tonight (maybe I can make a friend?  I'll try)
74.  Having a best friend

13 comments:

  1. Jean Marie KleppickJanuary 10, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    How serendipitous that you posted exactly what I have been feeling lately!
    As traveling folk, living a nomadic lifestyle in an RV for the past 13 months, I find myself lately, craving community. I love traveling and seeing new places & meeting new people, but lately, I find myself wanting more and the "more" is a feeling of service and community. I'm not sure what the answer is yet, but I have been giving it a lot of thougt & some prayer.

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  2. I love how you remind us that there is risk in community. Even though we were created to be with others in community, there is always that risk of refection. But I think you showed us that it is worth it to find a group of people to encourage us and to spur each other on! Thanks for sharing this today!

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  3. ultimately community has to be intentional...there is a risk to it...and there is a work to it...it doesnt just happen...and it is easy to lapse into those times when we think we are fine without it but its painful...i have been there...i was lacking it greatly the year i returned from ministry....

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  4. mark and jennifer douganJanuary 10, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Hi Happygirl,

    Nice to meet you. I'm hopping over here from the Imperfect Prose link up. Being intentional about community rings true with me. We all need it, and need to be mindful of providing it to others too.

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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  5. We do need community.  It's sometimes a scary thing to need, to admit needing, to be vulnerable, but worth the risk when you find true friendship.

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  6. Oh - you have tapped into my heart. I grew up with my grandparents, my aunt just up the street - and I so miss front porch afternoons, walks up to my aunts. I miss the women gathered in the kitchen talking, working together - being in a house full of men makes me miss that kind of community even more! I have also learned that you DO have to make those connections if you don't have family - you HAVE to risk rejection to find those people God has placed in your path who become family! You hit the bulls-eyed on this!!!

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  7. I'm glad for our IP community, and I'm glad to count you among my bloggy friends. You've got a lot of good thinking going on, w/ this post. Be sure to check out the post linked after yours; I think you'll like it. :)

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  8. This has been a theme of my life during the past year or so, since I moved to London. I know that community is important, and that I suffered for lack of it for so many years. But at least in London - and I suspect this is true of much of the U.S. as well (?) - family is the only culturally-approved form of intentional and committed family. All other community is come-and-go fair-weather etc etc. As a single woman, then, I wonder how I'm supposed to find true community. I have been fortunate and have made quite a few lovely friends, but I don't see those friendships growing into a level of depth and commitment that I believe Christ has called us to. Hmmm... well, that's the problem I'm facing. Maybe I should focus more positively on solutions :)

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  9. There's nothing like a close friend...

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  10. Oh yes how we need each other, to be in community, you say it so well and beautifully, friend. Visiting from Emily's. Hoping your ski club meeting went well and that new friendships were made. This is rich with thoughtfulness. Love were you took the prompt. Look forward to seeing you back at Emily's next week? And its a pleasure to meet you :)

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  11.  Thanks for the "heads up."  I think we may be soul mates.  :)

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  12. Hello! I've stumbled upon your blog and I absolutely love it! I look forward to reading about your heart and passions. 

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  13. oh friend, i'm so thankful for you and for your blog too, and for your friendship. i agree. we need each other. 

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