I don’t know about you, but in all of the times that I’ve gone through heartache, celebrations, career progression or even family deaths -- it was always much easier and much more enjoyable when I had a community behind me. Real community at that. People who know what the deep parts of you are, and care about you for larger reasons than “being pleasant, funny, or attractive."
Community is a lot more than a casual friendship with a few people because having a community involves serving one another, bearing each other’s burdens in love, and not being afraid of vulnerability. These people know the deepest parts of you because you all share a divine common denominator; Jesus Christ.
Having a community of believers in my life has been one of the most life changing, and perspective shifting things I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. However, I never realized that community is much different than having a go-to group of associates. You can be in the midst of friends, and still feel lonely.
So, what exactly is community? For one, it’s a lot more than a group of people you hang out with on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, the people you hang out with are great, but it’s not about the people per se’. It is more about the quality of the bond and commitment you all have in your relationship.
If we look at examples from the Bible, we see that the New Testament displays community as just a common life in Christ with other believers (or the church in broader terms). 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 says:
“That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
The writer of this verse points out that caring, suffering and serving one another will ensure healthiness for that community as a whole. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like work. Hard work.
"ACCOUNTABILITY, SERVICE, SELFLESSNESS, REFRAINING FROM JEALOUSY AND CONTINUING TO LOVE IS HARD TO DO."
I’m a part of a community of women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that I love dearly. We serve together in a ministry called We Are Unveiled, a non-profit ministry built for women to find a safe place in sharing their stories among each other with no shame, guilt or fear of judgement. We personally have found that there is an unexplainable freedom that comes to someone when they let go of whatever they are holding onto, and allow others to listen to their most vulnerable thoughts.
For me, this community has become an automatic source of accountability because I have ministry mates, who I consider friends, that consistently check on me and ask the hard questions when they see that I am not myself. They care about me and my own relationship with God, and therefore they’re not afraid to get personal or pray for me when I’ve admitted some wrongdoing. My community is a safe place for me to grow alongside other girls reaching toward similar goals, and so it is a constant feeling of support
Community in is the one thing in this life that helps develop and shape us into the people that God has destined us to be. There are many things in which we learn only through living life amongst other people that we trust. Conversations with accountability partners, dividing scripture together and serving each other.
Personally, it has allowed me to have a comfortable barrier and boundary around my life and actions that has helped push me into the right direction. I don’t know if this season of life would have panned out the way it has, if it were not for the community of women surrounding me, praying for me, and sacrificing for me. And I am so blessed and grateful to be able to say that I have done the same for them.