A couple weeks ago, I talked about how to have joy in a broken friendship (read it here). A difficult topic when it comes to the subject of joy, I know. But sometimes I think a more difficult topic is the discussion of community.

It seems we write people off so easily nowadays. One wrong look, missed call, or miscommunication and suddenly the ones we are around become ‘toxic’ and ‘judgmental’. That’s not to say there aren’t people who exhibit toxic behavior that we shouldn’t be around… but why are we so quick to label people as such before even talking to them about what’s bothering us?

It’s hard to continue a friendship after something painful happens, I get it. Community takes work. Often times, it’s uncomfortable, hard, and honestly? Really scary. But there is so much joy to be found within community!

I’ll be honest with you guys… God is radically changing my definition of community. In the past six months, I have met some amazing people who have taught me some amazing things. So, this week, here are three positives to having a community. 

1. People see the real you

This is tied to that scary part I was talking about earlier. When you’re involved in an active, everyday community, people are gonna see you… There’s only so long you can keep on a mask. But guess what! The right community will love on you like Jesus does. What a fantastic thing!

I heard someone put it like this a couple weeks ago… They have Jesus in them, same as you… and we get to experience Jesus through them! So don’t hold back—hug them, laugh with them, cry with them. You are hugging and laughing and crying with the Jesus in them… and when you let them do the same with you, you give them the Jesus in you…

2. Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low

Listen… There are going to be burdens in life that you can’t carry on your own. Maybe a family member died, or your house caught fire… Somedays, you’re just sad and could use an encouraging word. No matter how stressful, or intense a situation, the community around you can help. They can make a meal and bring it over, or they can spend time with you and make you laugh. The best part? You don’t have to feel guilty about the help they receive because you will be doing these same things for them too!

3. It will always be changing

Hopefully, you aren’t the exact same person with the exact same set of beliefs and skills as you were last year. People grow. They change and they adapt. The world around you won’t be stagnant or stale. As your community changes and grows, so you will be exposed to new and different ideas. With this, people do go, yes… but they also come. Let’s not look at the going, but the coming.

Community is hard. You have to ask God to provide it, because trying to create it out of your own efforts won’t work. Believe me, I have tried time and time again. It’s something God has called us to. Community grows us, challenges us, and loves us like the one who died for us.

Now, isn’t that an amazing thing indeed…

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