My adorable, sweet, loving, five year-old nephew has started kindergarten. He’s a big boy now.
I’m not a fan.
I had to FaceTime him after his first day of school to see how it went. And, I mean, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about with a five year-old. So I asked him about his social life. Making friends at school is important.
Little does he know that this will be a major theme of his life throughout school—making friends.
At one point in my life, making friends was a major concern. Then I became an adult and life happened. Everything about my life is so busy—work, school, family, and ministry. Making friends and even maintaining friendships seems like an impossible task.
I figured friends would come when life slowed down. Now I’m seeing that a lack of friends is taking a toll on me. In the last few months, my soul has grown weary. Overall life is going really well. But something is missing.
What’s missing is community.
It took a while for me to see how detrimental a lack of community is to me on a personal level. My soul longs to be connected with people in a genuine and real way.
With as many things as I’m involved in, I don’t really know anyone and people don’t really know me. This same topic keeps coming up over and over again. God has been showing me that this is a huge gaping hole in my life.
I have always mentally known how important community is, but I have been seeing how desperately I need it in my life.
Here are three reminders of why community isn’t just a good thing, but essential to the abundant life God designed.
1. Even Jesus Needed Community.
Jesus had a SQUAD. Some would say that perhaps one of Jesus’ most impressive miracles was that he had 12 close friends in his thirties. They were a ragtag team. But they were his friends nonetheless.
Jesus surrounded himself with a tight-knit community. As you read the New Testament you can see so many different dynamics happening between Jesus and the disciples. But Jesus clearly did life with them. He had deep relationships with them.
Jesus even had different levels of relationships with different friends. Just before Jesus was betrayed, he took Peter, John, and James with him to pray. In a time of great turmoil and trouble, Jesus surrounded himself with three friends.
He opened up to them and shared that truth of his heart. He asked for them to pray.
Jesus clung to other people in his life. And it wasn’t surface level. He was real with his inner group of friends. He came to them with the things that troubled his heart.
Jesus personally, intimately, and genuinely connected with people in his life. We should too.
2. Community is LIFE GIVING.
I’ve heard it over and over again—and it’s true—your spouse can’t be your only community.
After a year of marriage, Dale and I realized we need more friends. Of course, we love one another and truly enjoy our marriage. We’re adorable.
But we are not enough for one another. Even as a couple, we need to be intentional about developing and maintaining a community.
God has hardwired us for community. To go without it is detrimental.
Community can be hard and painful. People move away. Some friendships end. Some friendships end badly. But if you aren’t willing to take the risk, then you will never know the true richness of life God has for you.
When you begin to develop relationships with people who are safe, whom you can trust and share your life with, you are strengthened. God uses people to grow us and speak into our lives. To share a deep friendship where you are truly known is life giving.
It is in our friendships that we can be raw, honest, encouraged, built up, loved, and challenged. God never meant for you to live in isolation…or even just you and Jesus. God designed you to be in community with other people. With fellow followers of Jesus.
When you don’t have community, your soul suffers. And it suffers in isolation. This isn’t what God intended for your life.
3. Also, Community is Fun!
As an extrovert I always think the more people the better. Even as an introvert, Dale finds some adventures better with more people.
There’s something about a group of friends sharing a common experience together that draws you closer to one another. It bonds you in a unique way. Life is fun when you get to share it with others.
There isn’t much fulfillment in waking up every morning, checking tasks off lists, going to bed, and doing it all over again. Even if you do the same exact things, but get to share them with other people, somehow even the mundane parts of life are enjoyable.
When we bought our house our biggest dream was to see it filled with people and laughter. Dale and I love to have fun. So why not invite people over for some good conversation and laughter?
There is really something special about having a good laugh with people you love.
We need other people in our lives, not only for the hard moments, but for the dull moments, the fun moments, and all the moments in between.
Community is what God has always intended for humanity. Without it we are sold short. We are withholding one of the greatest blessings in our lives. We are withholding the connection we so desperately need in our lives.