In church these past few weeks, the importance of community has been emphasized. It has taken me a while to realize this, but community is incredibly important to have, no matter what situation you are in.
Before coming to college, I didn’t have a concept of “community,” nor did I actually have community at all. It was only when I arrived at college did I get a taste of what community was and what it could do for you.
Community. What classifies as community anyways?
To me, community is a group of people that you can lean on, a group of people that support you, and a group of people that ultimately make you a better person, a better person in Christ.
A community challenges you. A community shapes you. A community grows you.
We were not meant to live on this Earth alone. Let’s take Adam and Eve all the way back in Genesis. God didn’t create Adam and stop there. He created Eve, too. They were each other’s source of community. Yes, I’m introverted… Does that mean I am supposed to spend all of eternity locked in my bedroom reading a book and blogging? Heck no. I recharge by being alone, but that doesn’t mean I need my people to talk to, to request prayers from, and to discuss the Lord with. I need those people in my life. Those people in my life, my community, make me a better person that I’m proud of. They help me grow.
When I say that a community grows you, what exactly do I mean by that?
I mean that a community is your source of growth on this earth. These are the people that push you closer to the cross and embody Christ’s love in actions and words. I cannot tell you how many people there are in my life that I see Jesus through everyday in just a few sentences that are spoken.
Through other people’s trials, we can learn. It’s like you see someone do something really stupid, like jumping off a ledge with an umbrella, expecting it to keep them afloat (but it doesn’t), and you learn from their mistake. When someone goes through their own trial, when we see the trouble, the hurt, and the pain in another’s life, we can take that and apply it to our own life. This is just one of the many ways that we can grow as believers. We support one another and learn from one another.
In the same aspect of growth, we can pray for one another and support one another. By praying for others, I feel fulfilled and it challenges me to be selfless when all I want to do is dump my problems on God. There is joy in praying for others within your community. While your problems might seem deep and wide, there are people in your life that might need your prayers more than you need them for yourself. To me, I see praying for others as an act of love. Don’t you love your community and want to build each other up?
Community is a place where you can become selfless and learn how to serve and how to be served. In community, we can learn how to be submissive, yet we can learn how to be served. For me, it can be hard to accept compliments from others, but I think that it is important to strip away the pride and to accept the love that others are offering and giving. That has been one of the things I have been working on recently. I have been trying to accept compliments instead of pushing them away and denying them. It’s an unusual thing to work on, but that’s been on my spiritual to-do list recently.
Another great role of community is to just talk. Talking with others about your life, getting advice from a different perspective, and worshiping the Lord through speech together is so powerful and can be influential in your life. Simply getting some advice, giving some updates, or talking through a situation is powerful in itself because it can give you a clear head and it can help you realize things yourself. Often times, talking through something out loud to someone will solve the issue right then and there. I will miraculously know exactly what to do, without the other person speaking a word. Other times, I get some amazing words of advice from those who know me truly and love me deeply.
To me, I really enjoy having those “come to Jesus” realizations after talking over an issue with a close friend. Community is wonderful because no matter what you say or what you’ve done, they will always love you and forgive you. Always. Just like Jesus does.
It’s taken me a while to realize the importance of community. I have been taking advantage of it recently, too. Guilty. Isn’t it easy to just live your life and not realize what you have, what you are blessed with? Community has been one of my biggest blessings since coming to college. To those who are apart of my community, to those who have pointed me to Christ, to those who have encouraged me, thank you. Thank you for being that light that shows me Jesus over and over again.