Community is something that I cherish, but have difficulty building most of the time. I am comfortable with just two or three really close friends and can do without the less in-depth relationships. Yet at the same time I so desire to have more friendships. As I have gotten older I seem to have more difficulty coming out of my shell. Which is really a weird place to be in since I am more comfortable with who I am now.
In His infinite power, God has strategically placed three dear women in my life who have an amazing ability to reach out to others and build community. For many years I have not known how to build relationships that go really deep. The kind where you go to lunch and enjoy each other’s company and talk … and let it just be. I always wanted to go deep, the surface talk was hard and still is.
These women have the amazing ability to pour out the love of Christ on others and make people feel so welcome and warm. It is a testimony to me and what I desire to “grow up” to look like. Christ is so clear about showing love to others in John 13:34-35. He says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (emphasis mine).
It is that love that pours out of my sweet friends. As we grow in our walk with Christ and our love for Him increases, His love will pour out of us. I have learned that I must get past myself, get out of the way of the Lord, so that I can see others as Christ sees them, not how I, a sinner, see them.
That is where building community begins. I want to be able to look back on my life and know that I have poured Christ’s love into others. I want to know that I was a blessing to others and that I was kind to everyone. I do not want to look back on my life with no community.
This has been a long journey for me and I know that I will need to fight the urge to not reach out to others every day. But this I know, that God will honor my obedience to His call to love others.
I don’t know where any of you are in your quest of building community, maybe it is not your struggle. But to those of us who do, I encourage you to persevere and keep at it. We can be in the trenches together.