I have written post after post about how we were made to live in community with intention and purpose. We were meant to be breaking bread with each other, encouraging one another and wrapping our arms around those who weep and shatter.
I believe to the core of my being we were intended for the purpose of living in community. Gospel is lived out by daily embracing those whom God has seen fit to fill our lives. We were not meant to live this life in an amoebic state, thinking only and solely about our own well-being.
There is a fine balance however, that often tips the scales from living in community to living from community. It’s all about the preposition; community is something we enter in to, not something we use for our own gain.
Living in community is about the Christ in me recognizing the Christ in you and coming together without fear of abandonment. Living in community is about accepting one another as integral parts of the Body, each relying on the other as means of seeking God’s greater purpose in the world and then moving as one toward that purpose.
Living from community is about looking to others for your happiness, your reward, you purpose. Living from community is about not recognizing yourself as a beloved, not recognizing that God is all you require and He is enough.
It’s hard in a world that seems to spin on the axis of social media, when our lives are lived out in Facebook posts, Instagram feeds and the wittiest Tweets we can fit into a 140 characters. I know it’s hard because last month God showed me how my online interactions were beginning to replace my relationship with Christ.
It all begs the question: How do we move within the balance of maintaining an intimate relationship with Christ, seeking Him as our only source and engaging in the deep relationships that make up our communities, whether they be in real life or on-line?
The answer is in the question: Seeking Him as our only source. Anything else is suspect and lacking, anything else clouds our motives and our desires.
“We can serve people only when we do not make our total sense of self dependent on their response.” – Henri NouwenThink about that for a moment, just take a minute right now to re-read those words and think about the consequences of relying on other messy, fallible and broken people as your identity.
For a time we’ll find comfort in the words that soothe our egos and manifest themselves as misplaced praise. For a time our hearts will feel lighter, happier; for a time we will be satisfied.
We will be satisfied until we realize that those words come from the messy, the fallible and the broken. We will be satisfied until we realize that nothing absolutely nothing can replace the whisper of hope that cups our weariness, the voice of Christ calling us, Beloved.
This does not mean that we shouldn’t be issuing words of encouragement to each other, that we shouldn’t extend a word or thoughtful gesture in hopes of making someone’s day brighter. It also does not mean that we should not expect those things for ourselves. What it means is that we need to remember in Whom our identity lies.
“… our identity can find its basis only in Gods’ word to us that we are beloved not on the worlds’ fickle promises.” – Henry NounJust like Moses confronting his own humanity and recognizing his own inadequacies at the burning bush, we too must confront our humanity in the deep and lasting relationships that we build with one another and remember that He is “I AM” and that it is sufficient.
“Community, then, cannot grow out of loneliness, but comes when the person who begins to recognize his or her belovedness greets the belovdeness of the other. The God alive in me greets the God resident in you. When people can cease having to be for us everything, we can accept the fact they may still have a gift for us.” - Henri NouwenWe must remember that when God calls us to community He is first and foremost calling us Beloved and until we can look in the mirror and believe it we will struggle with finding the Beloved in others.
We must remember that we are intended to live IN community, each of us a gift to one another and, not FROM community where our primary motive is for our own desires or self-gratification.
Can I encourage you today soul sister, to seek out your community, seek out those whom you love and respect and let the Beloved in you recognize the Beloved in them?