Called To Community

Does the word community scare you?

I’m not exactly a fan of the word, let alone being part of one.  There have been so many hurts in my past due to being in a community.  Some were Christian communities, some not.  After a while it seemed pointless in trying to find my place.  I figured, “If I can isolate in this group of people, why don’t I just walk away?”  I walked away from some groups when the drama became too much, or when I was simply exhausted from trying to fit in and find my place.  The isolation came from that exhaustion and eventually I’d know to count the group as just another loss.  I often questioned why I kept trying with each new group, expecting something different.  Why try when it always turned out the same way in the end?

You see, in return from all of the hurt, I began thinking that I could do life alone.  Then, when I came to know Jesus, I could do life with only Him.  I didn’t need to let any friends in and I didn’t need to ask for help.  I was fully capable of doing life with Jesus.  Forget about the people He had placed in my life to guide me and to help me turn away from my sin.  Nope, I didn’t need any of that and I was going to prove everyone wrong.  Over and over again the wall was built, torn down, and built up again.

While trying to express my want to “do life alone”, I was being told that I needed to be part of a community.  That God calls us to be in community with other believers.  This was something I dismissed, continued to question, and kept trying to come up with reasons why I should walk away.  My wanting to walk away centered on some sort of hurt.  Of course, with every reason I found to walk away, there was always some truth someone had to show me it wasn’t what God wanted for my life.

My spiritual brothers and sisters, if one of our faithful has fallen into a trap and is snared by sin, don’t stand idle and watch his demise.  Gently restore him, being careful not to step into your own snare. ~ Galatians 6:1 (The Voice)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and heard that very scripture, usually from the NIV.  Something new stood out to me while I was doing some journaling over Galatians 6.  This verse is so clear about calling us into a community with other believers, to be there to help each other, to be there when someone is struggling.  We aren’t told to cast them aside and have them figure it all out on their own.  We aren’t told to tell them they should be better than they are and not deal with a certain behavior anymore because they should be over it.  God calls us to help restore them.

As someone who is in recovery from addictions, “self” issues, and relational trust issues, this is a big revelation.  I have experienced being cast aside.  I’ve been told that I should have let go of certain behaviors by a certain time.  I can also say that I’ve had people reach out and help to restore my life.

It’s because of what I’ve been through that encourages me to act on this verse.  I don’t want to see fellow Christians go through rejection because of their past and their struggle to move on.  In order to move on I needed God and a community of friends who would stand beside me through the ups and downs of the recovery process.  I needed to be around people who had been doing the work God was preparing me to do.  God helped me to find those people.

It’s time to step up and help our fellow Christians that are hurting.  They walk through the doors of our churches every week.  Some may have a difficult time expressing their hurt because of past rejection.  Be that person that someone can come to.  Be that person that someone can trust.  Be that person that can help restore.  Step outside of your comfort zone.  It could help more than you know!

So, who is God asking you to help in the restoration process?

You Are Not Alone

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written, but I finally felt the push to do so tonight.  There’s so much that I want to write about, that I feel the Lord is putting on me to write, but I haven’t followed through.

Tonight, this is weighing heavy on my heart.  This “I’m not alone” stuff.  This is me being real about my Christian walk.

Do you ever feel completely alone in a crowd, like you’re completely invisible and no one sees that you’re there?  That you’re even standing or sitting next to them?  That you are only “seen” when someone needs something?  That you just don’t matter to the people that you’re around?  I’ve felt that way many times, in all different types of settings.  Groups, get-togethers, fellowship times, and even at church.

This is a lie Satan loves to get hold of and use against me.  Constantly saying “no one cares, no one wants to listen to your problems, you’re just seeking attention, you’ll become a burden” among other things.  I’ve been told by people that I seek attention, that I need to stop self-serving, that I need to do something for others, and that I need to ask them about the things going on in their life and not always talk about myself.  Satan feeds on that and loves it.  It fuels him to use more lies against me.

So what do I do?  I believe I’m on the right path with God, doing things for others, checking to see how others are doing, and doing my best to put myself dead last in my life.  I lose touch with myself until I’m right back in that pit, wrapped in fear for speaking out truth about what’s really going on in my life.  I lie to the very people I love about what’s going on with me.  I wear a mask to hide the puffy eyes from crying, the frown from showing, the sadness from being known.  I don’t reach out for help.  I try to avoid talking about myself when I’m with a friend.  I get angry with myself when I realize that I have been talking about myself.   Isn’t that exactly where Satan wants me to be though?

Simply put, yes.  The enemy has me right where he wants me.  Now he makes me feel like I really am alone, that it’s just me and I have to deal with all of my problems on my own.  There is no one left to turn to-well, except the enemy.

God speaks Truth against each of those lies from Satan.  God promises to never leave you or forsake you.  Galatians 6:2 tells us to “carry each other’s burdens”.  I can’t carry all of my burdens while carrying the burdens of others.  I have to ask for help and it’s okay to do so.  When I’m able to see where I have gotten, He gives me the strength to reach out and will put someone in my path to ask for support.  And how can I help anyone, show anyone love the way Jesus would, if I am spiritually broken?

In all of this though, God recently spoke a very clear blessing to me, one that I had not heard before.  When I’m in those moments of not being able to turn to a person on this earth, it’s okay, because that means I have to put my complete and total faith in God.  God is my Healer, my Counselor, and my Shepherd.  He is what I have, He is all that I need. He has created us not to go through life without human interactions though, so have that in your life.  Fellowship is important!

I know that I’m never really alone.  The Bible clearly states that God will never leave me or forsake me.  God is with me no matter where I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I’m doing, what I’ve done, what I will be doing.  God is there!  What a blessing that is, that He is there when I need Him.  I need something, God is there to ask, and to answer my need-of course, in the way He sees fit and of course in His timing.  God reminds me of the good I’ve done for people, the ways that I’ve given myself to help them, unselfishly.  God brings the truth, the light, into the darkness that has me surrounded.

Remember, you are not alone.  God is with you, ALWAYS.  Listen to the song “You’re Not Alone” by Meredith Andrews.  It’s my favorite song of hers, and one that I have put on repeat for a good hour or more.