I’m not sure where I would be without community.
Strong statement? Maybe. At this point in my life, though, it is my reality. I have been living on my ‘own’ for about 11 years now., and I know I would not be where I am today without my community of friends, leaders and family in my life.
This hasn’t always been my belief.
Growing up, I was always taught in school and by society to ‘follow my dreams,’ ‘make it happen,’ ‘you control your destiny.’ Those thoughts are very ‘me’ focused. I started to believe those things and began to follow my dreams. My dreams led me to Tennessee, where I came to realize that I couldn’t do these things on my own. Every time I tried, I failed. I learned that I needed to rely on God and others to help, to encourage, mentor, to pray for me, or give advice from their lives.
Community looks beyond the ‘me’ and looks to others.
Community can look different for each of us. Maybe it is sitting around a lunch table on Father’s Day with friends who are away from their children or fathers, donating car services to single moms who are in need, or meeting about 25 people for the first time, knowing that you will be sharing life together over the next eight weeks.
Whatever it is, embrace it and embrace the people in your life. We all are in need of each other, in one way or another.
We have a chant at Barefoot Republic Camp, where I work, that campers ages 6-18 learn every summer. It starts out with the line, “I need you, and you need me…” Teaching this to kids at an early age makes sense.
God made us for community; we were not meant to be alone; it is where we thrive and find our true selves.
Sharing life together can be scary and uncharted ground for many–especially if you trusted people who have hurt or let you down–but when you take a step of faith to be open with your thoughts, dreams, family, and your life, you will not regret taking that step.
I can honestly say I live almost every aspect of life in community. For those areas I don’t, I am still learning how to cultivate community into them on a daily basis. I have people in my life who know me and know my desires, dreams and what ‘makes me tick.’ Isolation isn’t an option for me any longer. I value community and I know I am valued in my community.