Ever since I started dating Josh, I’ve been learning about what community is and how beneficial it is to develop strong relationships with other Christians. Developing community doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m such an introvert, and I have a fear of vulnerability.
The thought of letting someone get to know me well enough to speak wisdom into my life without holding back hard truth used to be enough to make me cringe. Even though I’ve grown a lot in that area, it’s still scary sometimes.
In community there is fear of judgment. When we begin to get close to people, our masks fall off, and our true selves are revealed. Instead of living out the lie that we have it all together, people begin to see our sins. They know our vulnerabilities and our struggles. They know we don’t have it all together like we want people to think we do.
But the truth is that we are created for community, and it is in community we find our healing. We are healed when we bring our darkness into the light. The chains of our struggles are broken, and weight is lifted from our shoulders. There is victory in humility and strength in community. We don’t have to go at life alone.
I’ve felt so much more freedom in my life since opening up about my struggles and allowing others to be there for me and journey alongside me. Since opening up about my recent battles with anxiety, I’ve had friends message me to tell me I’m not the only one. They struggle, too. It creates an opportunity to share our experiences, how we handle our anxiety and what methods help calm us.
I’ve had people send me Scripture that helped them fight fear and encourage me to seek out Scripture that works for me. I’ve had the peace that there are people who have gone before me in the same struggles and that I’m not alone there. One of my favorite passages on this is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
We were created for community. We are expected to comfort those around us who walk down paths we’ve been down ourselves. We have the joy of sharing our triumph and how to overcome, and we are able to help make the journey easier for others. We can help our brothers and sisters avoid our mistakes. But we can’t do that if we don’t seek community.
We can’t do it alone. It is beneficial to surround ourselves with a trusted Christian community. My circle of friends expanded as soon as I started dating Josh. I forged new friendships and deepened the ones I already had. Now, I have certain people I confide in when I struggle. And those people always check back a day or two later to see how I’m doing and let me know they’ve been praying for me. There is great comfort in that.
How has your life been changed by investing more in community? If you’re not invested, what keeps you from doing so?
Copyright 2014 Amy Kessler. All rights reserved.