College is all about finding community. The first month of college was all about meeting people and being the new person. I loved the newness of it all. But after a while, I started craving deep friendships. People who knew me. People whom I could simply be with and not have to worry about first impressions.
As humans we were created for community. God created us to be in relationship with others. Inherently, we need to be around other people. That’s how we grow.
We are all broken and struggling, but there is hope in struggling together.
A community of people is encouraging, but there is such a difference between a hangout group and a place of authenticity. Authentic community happens when we are close to God. I have a mental image of a person grasping God’s hand and then reaching out to grab the hand of another. When we hold on to God, we are equipped to reach outwards. He gives us the strength to pull up others into hope.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
According to Hebrews 10:23-25 (above), authentic community…
…holds on to the confession of hope
…challenges others to love and serve
…consistently fellowships together
…encourages one another
The hope that we profess is the coming of Jesus. When we are in community with other believers, we have them to remind us of that hope when things get rough. ‘Cause, oh, life is hard. It is so easy to isolate ourselves on the difficult days, and when we are isolated, it becomes so easy to continue down a negative path of discouragement. Having people to hold us accountable changes our perspectives and our attitude. A community consists of people who can remind us of the light when all we see is the dark.
An authentic community builds talent together. Yet when we are in a community of people, it becomes so easy to compare ourselves. We end up feeling worse about ourselves and then trying to boost our self-esteem with prideful thoughts.
But we need each other. We are not created equal and that is a good thing. None of us have exactly the same set of gifts. And when our gifts overlap, we can then join together to be stronger and more effective than we could ever be alone.
Instead of looking at people as the competition, what if we looked at the people around us as individuals with like-minded goals? And then, what if we decided to help others be the best version of themselves? What if we all worked toward our goal together?
We are all born of shipwrecks. We are all trying to reach the shore.
Our lives are folded together in a beautiful piece of origami. (I love the picture of folded lives—intertwined, molded, and together.)
I’ve found myself longing for that type of community on campus. I want more than a lot of friends; I want my life to be intentionally folded with others.
This weekend I was encouraged that when I hold on to God and reach toward others, authentic community will happen. It may not happen on my timing, but it will be on God’s timing. And His timing is perfect.
– – Phebe