19 November 2015

3 Myths about Community

I have said before that community is a funny, little thing. To be in meaningful relationships and feel accepted by people is something that every human hearts desires. 

Relationships with other people can be tricky sometimes, even messy. And while I am so grateful for the beautiful communities in my own life, it certainly took work and I made mistakes along the way.

1. It's Easy
Intentional, close-knit commuting with other people does not just happen overnight. It can feel odd, awkward, or just plain off. That was my own experience when several years ago I joined a small group at church. I tried really hard to "make it fit." I really wanted to be that girl that found these life-changing, deep friendships in her small group at church. But can I tell you something?

It felt awkward for me. While we were all the same age, I wasn't in the same stage of life as the women who were married with little ones running around. I stuck with it for about a year and a half before realizing that it just wasn't a fit for me. And you know what? That's a-okay.
It was a time that showed me sometimes being in community with some people just isn't the right fit.

2. It's Optional
We are simply aren't meant to be alone. God made us to be in relationship with Him and each other. Look at Genesis: God creates Adam and almost immediately acknowledges his need for a mate, a companion. If you read onward in the Old Testament, you see this reflected in the way God calls His people a group, a specific community (the children of Israel). Moving onto to the New Testament, it is so clearly seen especially in Acts where we see the records of the early (and rapidly growing!) Christian community.
We are not meant or designed to be "lone rangers" in life. We all need each other! 

3. It happens instantly or overnight 
Closeness just doesn't form overnight. I mean realistically it just doesn't. Building community takes time and effort. Community requires us to step outside the you-bubble and into someone else's bubble. That can be physically, emotionally and spiritually inconvenient or frustrating, but really is the best thing for us.

Think about the blessing of particular communities in your own life today: church, friends, co-workers, small group, Bible study, book club, etc. Offer up a prayer of gratitude for them today!

What are particular communities that have greatly blessed your own life? What do you think is the most difficult thing about community?

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  1. I so agree with all of these, especially #3. Since I graduated from college in May, and my husband and I moved to Oklahoma (where we only knew a few people), I have definitely been learning a lot, as well. And, to keep from getting discouraged, I keep trying to remind myself that "It doesn't happen overnight." Something that has been a HUGE blessing is that we fell in love with a parish right away and joined, and they recently hired a young woman who started a Young Adult group. She and I have grown to be friends, and through the regular group events, I've been able to meet other people my age. I've also been seeing how God can throw community at us in random ways; for example, I met this one woman who is over 20 years older than me, and she & I regularly meet up so I can teach her how to knit. It's cool, too, because she's Protestant and I'm Catholic, and while we don't really talk religion much, we try to get all ecumenical and focus on building a bridge of what we have in common.

    I think one of the trickiest parts about community in the post-college life is making it happen. Life gets busy, and it can be hard to actually get other people to commit to getting together sometimes. A couple local women I know who are about my age gave birth lately, so even though I've been trying to persistently be like, "we should get together, I'll meet you at your place or wherever," I know that their lives as new mamas must be insane, so it never really happens.

    Community-wise, I've also been discovering that while making it happen is difficult, this is really a case of quality over quantity. In college, I lived with my amazing group of friends on campus, so we literally saw each other all the time every day, and it was really good. Since everyone has crazy lives and schedules, I try to go for that quality time, because while one of my friends and I may not be able to meet for coffee more than once every other week or so, the time we do spend together is really high-quality.

  2. We have been living in this area for 3 years now and I have all but given up on building any kind of community connection here. It feels like we have tried everything and it's really just so much of a dump that not much goes on or it never works with or schedule. I know this is counter to your point here, but three years is a long time and we can't WAIT to get out of here!!


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