The Heart Of Community

 

I’ve heard it said often that we were created for community and that God does not intend for us to live this life in isolation. I firmly believe in these statements. But, I’d take this a step further and say that our Father intends for us to be in intentional community with others where we feel safe to be known.

What does community look like? In my own life I’ve seen it take on many different forms. I have community with my church friends, my “Framily” (my chosen family), and a group of amazing women I’m lucky to spend time with twice a month around the table. Your community may look different from mine, but the key element of a community is that we gather intentionally with our people…whoever those people may be.

Intentional. We must make time to be with our people. It’s easy to become busy in our lives and overcommit ourselves. Many times we sign ourselves up for activities and causes we believe in. All good things. But even too many good things can take us away from the slower, more intentional elements of our lives. In her book, “Present over Perfect” Shauna Niequist shares this, “But you can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it. In my rampant yes-yes-yes-ing, I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to grounded-ness, to listening, to deep and slow connection, built over years instead of moments.”

Are you saying “yes” to too many things, and therefore saying “no” to what your soul needs most? In our hurried, over-booked, rushed moments of life we often miss Jesus. It’s in the slow, quiet, abiding moments where we see our Savior’s face and can hear His voice in our lives. When we sit across a table from those we love, we open up our hearts to our Father moving in ways we may not see in our busy day-to-day schedule. Are you making time for that?

A dear friend of mine once told me, “I have no doubt you will find community. If it doesn’t come to you, you’ll create it.”  I think she may be right. I have always craved community. The feeling of isolation is not good for my soul. Though I have an introverted personality, I’m extroverted when it comes to connecting to others. My desire for that connection leads me to take risks and send invites. I’ve just recently opened up my home again to a group of women, many I’ve only known a few months. My heart is always to make room for and welcome God to move through open hearts across an open table.

With this intentionality we must also have a space where we feel safe. Where our walls come down and we feel comfortable allowing ourselves to be known. Relationships become something beautiful when vulnerability and honesty are a regular practice. My dearest and closest relationships are with those I trust and feel safest with, who know me and accept me, brokenness and all.

In this safe place is where we find the church. In Acts 2 we see clearly how God moves through his children gathering and loving one another sincerely.

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved."  Acts 2:42-47

I can’t help but point out in these verses that the believers met every day and devoted themselves (they made time) to meeting in the temple. They also shared their belongings and broke bread together. And it says they did this with joyful and with sincere hearts. This…this is the kind of community I desire. This is the church.

So let me ask, do you feel connected to others? Are you intentionally making time for your people? If not, what can you release from your schedule to make time? If you are in a community, do you feel known? Do you feel like you can be your true self? If not, where could you take a risk to be known?

Make the time my friends. Do the work. Because, I truly believe there’s something beautiful that happens when we look another in the eye, listen to their story, and say “Me too”. Make this happen. I promise, you won’t regret it.

How can I pray for you in your search to connect to others? How can I help? Let me know. I’d love to walk this journey with you as you seek to find more of Jesus in spending more time with His children.

Heather Williamson, a native Texan resides in Franklin, TN with her husband Steven and her three girls Kayley, Kaidence, and Kaitlyn. Heather and Steven celebrate that God rescued them from a broken marriage and redeemed their relationship with one another and their Savior. They have a passion for walking along-side couples who are struggling in their own marriages praying God will use their broken story to be a testament of hope. Heather also loves sharing life around a table with other women as they enjoy the God given pleasure of a good meal.  Speaking of food, she loves the gift of a good taco, queso, or guacamole…really she just loves Tex Mex.