I need you, you need me.

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.

oliviabyline

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5 comments on “I need you, you need me.

  1. elizabeth says:

    i really like that you say “whatever it is, embrace it.” Totally true. We’re not all called to live in a house with twenty other people in the inner city–though some of us are–and we’re not all called to be married with 2.5 kids and volunteering for VBS–though some of us are–and we’re not all called to organize playdates with all of the stay-at-home-moms at church (thank the good Lord for that!) But we are called to community–created for it even, as you said. It’s why I love that God IS community in the trinity.

    Thanks for this post, friend. I hope others are encouraged to embrace their communities, whether they are single, married, working, jobless, students, churchgoers, or service staff. It’s important to have folks.

  2. Liz's Dad says:

    Very nicely done, Olivia. Thanks for sharing!

  3. stephenii says:

    Awesome post, OBR. It is so cool to see how you’ve followed your dreams.

  4. Sara says:

    Wow! You have learned what so many people my age (67) have NOT learned, and you’ve done it by focusing on others, not self. How sad that the majority of people in our society never get beyond themselves to discover the comfort and delights of living in community. Kudos!

  5. Katie says:

    I don’t know where I would be without community, either. Specifically, my “mommy community” 🙂 I have been part of a new mom playgroup since Laura was about 6 months old and those moms are now some of my closest friends! We all depend on each other for support and friendship. Being part of the group has even opened doors for me and another gal to share Christ!

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