Unreserved: Community

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“You look like you eat a lot. Don’t let that get away from you.”
The words felt wrong in my head, but rang true in my ears. I knew logically my weight doesn’t define who I am, but my heart was convinced otherwise.
 
I couldn’t shake the feeling I didn’t measure up, a common whisper that permeated my core. One I often tried to blot out on my own. And often, failed.
This week, the lie was given voice by a flippant comment made by a stranger.
 
A stranger.
 
Clearly that person has all the authority in the world to say what I am and what I’m not, right? It sounds ludicrous as I write it down, but I fall prey to this more than I’d like to admit.
 
I started by speaking truth to myself-
 
You are a child of God. HE created you in His image, HE knows you, HE defines who you are.
 
But no matter how many times I preached, the words refused to take root in my heart.
 
So I did what anyone would do in the 21st century: group text. I praised the ability to send a quick text to my community and get immediate responses.
 
What my girls said was nothing I didn’t know, some of it repetition of what I had already told myself ten seconds before. But hearing the words from other people instead of just my own voice gave them power. It penetrated my once hard heart, and softly, slowly, the truth about who I am sank deep. Deeper than it could have by my efforts alone.
 
Community matters. We all have a God-given, innate desire for community. Because sometimes it takes a voice outside of ourselves to offer divine insight and push it from head to heart.
 
Sometimes we need prayers we could never come up with on our own because we’re too close to it all.
 
We need to lean on the strength of God and those around us because we don’t have the ability to muster it on our own.
 
And more than necessity, we need community for fun. A celebration isn’t quite the same as a party of one. It takes at least two people to cheers!
 
So, maybe you’re in a dry season, either in the midst of a move or in-between communities.
 
Maybe you’re in community but you still feel alone because you’re not quite ready to be totally honest about where your heart is really at. I’ve been there!
 
I want to encourage you to stick it out. Even though it feels lonely and hard and you’re wondering if you’ll ever have real, authentic relationships again, I promise, you will. If you stick it out. Community is worth it, friends!
 
Further reading: Psalm 139, Hebrews 10:24-25