Community: Are you into it?
“As a family, we all came together, sharing our stories, our strengths, and our weaknesses with one another, creating opportunities for individuals to open up and grow in an environment of love and encouragement.”
Have you ever, when playing a game, been really amused when one of your friends takes a long time on their turn? They sit there, trapped in indecision, overthinking everything until they finally make a move– one that usually turns out to be a little underwhelming, in your opinion. You’re looking at the same game pieces– the same scenario– that they are, and the right moves seem simple to you. Obvious, even. You wonder why they can’t see it. Then, suddenly, it’s your turn. You second-guess the move you were about to make and start seeing all the different possibilities, all the ways that could lead to you being either successful, or a total failure. The pressure causes you to want to be careful, but ultimately, that just freezes you up. Now your friends are the ones with cocked eyebrows, and after a while perhaps one of them even gestures toward the board and says, “Look, just do this…”
This is how life tends to work. Our vision is often clouded when it comes to making decisions for ourselves because we are so subjective. We are more concerned with making choices that seem pleasurable and avoid pain rather than determining what’s ultimately best for us. We pay that idea lip service, but even when we’re trying our best, trusting in ourselves for the answers often leaves us in desperate situations, confused and wondering where and how we went wrong.
On the other hand, others often have perspective when we ourselves do not. Friends and confidantes are usually close enough to our situations to get all the facts, but lack the investment of self that keeps us from clarity. Proverbs 15:22 says:
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
We need counselors in our lives. We need advisers. We need friends, confidantes, and mentors. We need people. God created us for community; we were not meant to live our lives in isolation. To do so is to all but guarantee that we will make poor decisions and that our plans will fail.
Having just been at Forge this last weekend, it was a true joy to see relationships formed and deepened. The fruit of that experience will last into the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. As a family, we all came together, sharing our stories, our strengths, and our weaknesses with one another, creating opportunities for individuals to open up and grow in an environment of love and encouragement.Relationships were cultivated for the purpose of surrounding individuals with people who could help and support them, pointing them toward Christ and making themselves available to encourage and advise. 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.”
Forging these relationships is important, because without them, we tend to stumble in the dark. I know some people who assert that such relationships are not necessary; that between them and God they get along fine. That is an excuse, and it is contrary to God’s intent for humanity. Furthermore, God tends to speak through counsel– if you reject seeking godly counsel, then you very well may reject seeking God.
If you often find yourself on the outside, distanced from others because of insecurities, wounds, self-righteousness, pride, or whatever the reason, consider what your life has looked like relying on your own strength and your own will. Now compare that to a life that closely involves people who care about you and want to help you grow into what God has planned for you. Stop putting up walls. It’s time to flourish.
Come and be a part of community. It’s an open invitation.