In my last post, I talked about the drawbacks of my not having a community; in this post, I”ll be discussing why it’s important for you to have a community.
The thought of community kept popping into my head. I always loved being part of a group of friends with whom you can just be yourself and go through life with them. Going through the Bible together, talking about personal issues, etc.
I noticed that having a group of friends is very good, and it’s important to have trusted people in your life! It helps you mature, and it helps your walk in the Lord.
As time passed, I pondered this question: why is it important to be in a community?
While being part of a small group, I picked up 6 reasons why you need a community. And I want to share them with you guys.
Reason #1 You Need a Community: Diversity
All members of my small group come from different backgrounds. They all have different stories of how they came to Christ, and they all have different struggles. Yes, some struggle more than others, but they use that to pour into each other.
All of us have different perspectives about stuff, especially when expounding the Bible. Thank God all of us do not have the same mindset! Imagine if we all had the same thought processes! Life would be so bland.
God is leading each of us on a different path, yet we meet up every week to discuss the Bible, dissect the Word, and apply it to our lives daily. At the end of the night, we challenge each other to open our minds and look at things differently from our own mindset.
Sometimes we need a dose of someone else’s perspective — even if it hurts.
Reason #2 You Need a Community: Loneliness
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you need some sort of community in your life. Whether it’s family, friends, or a significant other, you need at least someone to hang out with you. Being alone sucks! You long for relationship with another human being.
And for most SSA guys, it’s wanting that straight guy friend.
I know that longing; I’ve been there! It hurts not having another person to lean on whenever life is giving you a hard time. But in due time, you will have at least one person in your life who will help you along the way — if not an entire community. This goes for those extreme introverts, too; you know who you are!
Reason #3 You Need a Community: Accountability
We may not want to admit it, but something in us wants to be held to a standard. We know ourselves, and we know we make mistakes, yet we can’t always do it by ourselves. Though wanting to be accountable for our actions is a tough one to swallow, we believers need some sort of accountability.
Even if it’s something small, that mere knowledge of someone looking out for us and checking up on us is an amazing feeling!
You don’t have to shove accountability down someone’s throat, but you can say, “Hey, remember when you asked me to check up on you? How are you doing with *insert accountability*?” And if the other person isn’t doing too well, just smile and affirm that it takes baby steps, and they’ll get there eventually. I’d say this is one of the things that separates us from non-Christian believers.
Reason #4 You Need a Community: Transparency
This one is very tricky! When we have or want to have some sort of community, we want at least one person with whom we can be honest. It sucks having stuff bottled up inside with no one to whom we can vent. Especially someone who doesn’t judge you for it!
On the other hand, we don’t want to spew our word-vomit in such a way that we’re considered weird or a freak! Let’s be honest, there are people who take it too far!
Once we do find that balance, finally coming out of our shells, and we’re honest with one person or a group of friends, it’s a freeing feeling to have! From there you can be yourself, showing more of your true self, piece by piece.
Reason #5 You Need a Community: Trust
Following transparency, trust is a big factor of community with one another. For us SSA guys, it can be challenging to tell someone who doesn’t struggle like we do. It can be especially challenging when we’ve never told anyone our “secret.”
It’s challenging to be very vulnerable with someone else, someone who probably has no clue that their friend or “the new guy” at the group struggles with same-sex attraction.
Once trust is established, you can move forward with hopefully an awesome relationship.
Reason #6 You Need a Community: Love
I think this final reason ties everything together. John 13: 34-35 and 1 Corinthians 13 sum up everything by saying that if love isn’t in the equation of your actions, then all of this is for nothing. Go read it for yourself! Wanting to be part of a community should be entangled in love!
If you don’t know how to express love to someone, I think being part of a community is the best place to start. In the end, we want to love and be loved.
It’s hard finding these traits in a community! Especially if you live in a very rural town. I hope and pray that one of these days you’ll find a group of friends or a community to call your own.
Remember, you don’t have to fight your battles on your own.
Do you have a regular community where you live? Do you see yourself lacking in one of these six traits? What’s the easiest trait, and what’s the hardest one? What is your ideal community?
* Photo courtesy Astrid Westvang, Creative Commons.