It was 2003 when the real meaning of community entered my life. I was off to university and couldn’t wait to be out of my parent’s house! I decided to live in these tiny rooms in a dorm surrounded by other young women from around the world. It was those four years that began to shape my understanding of community and the importance of finding like-minded people. Ten years later, it’s not just a buzzword for a season, but essential to my personal dreams, growth, and quality of life. Some of this may be obvious, but I hope it reminds you how important YOU are in community.
It may seem obvious that we need others around us, but I wonder how many of us realize that community is essential to our personal dreams. You as a person were made to commune. We were made to live among one another, encourage each other, tell stories of old, and create wild things.
Your life is much bigger than you and with that belief, as you realize you have something to share. If you think a dream starts with you and ends with you, it may be an escape from reality. Don’t get me wrong, I have wild dreams for rest that include a Mojito and a hammock on some remote tropical island, but our dreams are usually for people. Our dreams are in need of a network, someone to say ‘yes this is beautiful’ and someone to say ‘hey, how about trying this instead’. When we invite people to the table of our dreams, I believe they can grow better. And why not inspire others to live their dreams in the process?
An authentic community will want to see you grow. They aren’t satisfied with you believing lies about yourself. They thrive on vulnerability and learning how to handle conflict. They are there to hug you when you are down, pick up a tab when you are short on funds, and give you a sweater when you are cold. Real community sees when you just need a movie night or when it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and jump! On some occasions, we push each other out of our comfort nest to fly. This is all helping us grow and it’s those types of communities you can call on a minutes notice and know that they will have your back, no matter what. Even if you are not in proximity, you are able to have friends that will really tell you like it is. And obviously, there is no such thing as perfect community, but as one of my friends always reminds me; without a community learning to love one another better, you are left in isolation.
Quality of life:
Isolation and loneliness don’t produce life or fruit. You can even see in creation how everything is in relationship with one another (this could be another blog 🙂 We were made for relationship and friendship, with God and with man. We don’t have to wander far to see this to be true, yet we find so many people today that are finding it hard to “find community” (Part 2 will be about how to find it).
Simply put, in our hopes and efforts to find authentic community, it does start with us. How much are we wanting to grow, find people that truly know us, and improve our quality of life? Community brings joy and inspiration. It allows us to give of ourselves and receive from others. It brings joy and hope to the dark places. We can live without it but are we truly living? I find that my life is enriched and lovelier alongside those that love well.
I hope this blog reminds you of the why behind making or joining community. It can be easy for this to slide to the back-burner, but you are worth it. Who you are is beautiful near people. Your dreams are deepened. Your roots have the ability to grow and I hope you find that the quality of your life improves. You are a gift to community and I bless your search.