I’ve been here before.
In fact, I’m well-acquainted with this place.
But just because I know it well doesn’t mean I love it.
Or that I want to stay here.
When it comes to community, I’ve been struggling on all fronts for a while.
The ebb and flow of friendships is both a beautiful and difficult mystery. Sometimes you are surrounded by so many loving, life-giving people it doesn’t seem like you could ever have enough hours to soak up their insight, their encouragement, their exhortation.
And then sometimes it feels like “community” is too plural of a word for who you see when you look around you.
It’s as if you lowered your head for a second and everything changed. At some point in the past six months, I lowered my head. Just for a moment. I don’t even remember doing it, but when I looked back up, my personal community had dwindled into a remnant.
In the midst of that shift, my small group dissolved, and I became increasingly aware that besides those girls, I felt really disconnected from the people in the larger community at my church. With 4 worship services, I wasn’t necessarily going to see people I knew on a Sunday, even the ones I was meeting briefly in other church functions. Combine all of that with the fact that I was traveling for most of February, March, and April, and it’s no wonder I felt detached.
Lethargy set in momentarily. It was easier, after all, to stall than to move forward. But then the Truth, one that is rooted deep within my bones, settled over me.
Community is worth fighting for.
And it is a fight sometimes, isn’t it? I’m an extrovert when I know people and can be a bit of an introvert when I don’t. I never want a wingman more than when I pull into the driveway of a stranger’s home, knock on the door, and force conversation over Bible study with a group of six to eight people I do not know. It’s a battle when I have to get up on a Sunday morning and step foot into a sanctuary, find a seat for one, say hi to a few unfamiliar faces, and then walk alone to my car.
The Lord has assured me time and time again that I can do this single life and live it well, and He will provide people who will walk alongside me. Not social acquaintances, but people with whom my heart will be at home.
He has always been faithful to provide. More than faithful. And He will do it again.
I know that this is another moment in the ebb and flow of community. A time for me to thirst again, so I can be reminded of its importance—in my own life and in the lives of others. None of it happens by chance. Even when the tide returns, I still must fight to remember that it’s not just about my needs, but others who will need me, too. As a single adult, personal and corporate community is how the Holy Spirit keeps me from living a life completely unto myself.
I’ve been here before, and I will return here again.
I’ve learned enough to know I must fight to silence the blame, the loathing, and the self-pity.
They don’t bear fruit and they do nothing to connect.
One day soon, I’ll look up and my heart will be at home again, both personally and corporately. The roots will have grown even stronger, and I’ll be reminded, yet once more, that community is always worth fighting for.