Thoughts on Community

If I had to pin down a theme for 2014, it would be S I M P L I F Y. Ya’ll, it’s been the undercurrent of our days over here, and we’re loving it. Hans and I are coming up on one year of marriage ( ! ! ! ) and we very intentionally decided to keep our commitments simple during our first 365 days as Mr. and Mrs.

Gah. I’m a Mrs. That’s still weird.

We learned that simplicity keeps us sane, so that theme will be continuing. Prior to marriage, Hans and I were leading Bible studies, involved in Challenge, meeting with people and planning events out the ying yang. We were simultaneously full of community and burnt out on it.

So taking a year off? Simultaneously freeing and isolating.

Our Sunday morning Young Marrieds class has been great, though. But it’s a pretty intermittent group, and we only meet for an hour. Hans and I also have some dear friends that we hang out with regularly, but they aren’t necessarily believers.

We’ve been missing C O M M U N I T Y. Honest, consistent, encouraging community.

Which, incidentally, was the topic of She Reads Truth‘s last She Shares Truth link up…specifically Spiritual Mothering. It’s also, incidentally, the topic of the this month’s Community Brew link up with Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts and Madison of Wetherills Say I Do.

Ha. It’s actually not really incidental. There’s nothing incidental about God. The topic of C O M M U N I T Y is something He’s been having me think about for a while now.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

What does community mean to you? 
Community means a connected group of people who mutually enjoy and encourage one another, who fiercely support and serve one another, and who honestly live and learn together.

Why is it hard to pursue community or open up to others? 
Developing honest community takes time, consistency, trust, learning, and being willing to let down your guard. In our get-it-in-a-hot-minute culture, I think we’ve lost the ability to let something grow slowly over time. We get impatient and we give up.

What does it look like to “live in community” with other believers and non believers? 
I really think it’s just as simple as things like inviting others into your home, doing fun things together, studying the Word together, having thought provoking discussions, and freely offering up your guest room when someone else’s septic tank overflows. Living in community also means consistency, too. It means showing up on the good days and the bad, and leaving the façade of perfection at home.

Why is community important to you? 
Because, to quote She Reads Truth, “we cannot and should not try to live and grow in the Gospel alone.” God didn’t make us for isolation. Heck, He Himself is community – Father, Spirit, and Son. That’s all trinitarian and complicated, but the point is that not even God is alone, and we shouldn’t be either.

What does it look like to love your neighbor?
Loving your neighbor mostly means food for Hans and I. You just had a baby? Here’s dinner! You’re exhausted from work? Let me bake you some bread! It happens to be a Tuesday? Have some cookies! 😉 It’s practical love…helping with moving or a house project, watching their kids or their pets, helping them paint, or whatever!

What about you, friend? What does community mean to you?

Under Grace,

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community brew link up

Linking up with Rachel and Madison at Community Brew!

15 thoughts on “Thoughts on Community

  1. Love what you said here “God didn’t make us for isolation. Heck, He Himself is community – Father, Spirit, and Son.” I have never thought about it that way! God himself is community-that’s some deep stuff! Thank you for sharing your heart in transparency. You really encouraged me today!

  2. Yes! Community is so amazing and sometimes hard and so so very necessary. Heshan and I are coming up on our 2 year anniversary. Our first year of marriage was exactly the same… We’d been so busy serving and commuting (we met while helping to start a church) that after the wedding we were burnt out. We took a ton of stuff off our plates to handle our new commitments but it felt so weird… And totally isolating like you said! I think it’s a hard thing to explain or describe unless you’re living it. Right now intentional community for us is feeding our small group every week, baking for new parents, and trying to “be there” for friends with whatever they’re going through, but it doesn’t look like saying yes to everything or even most things. Love this, thanks for sharing!

    • Kim! So glad to read your thoughts 🙂

      Ah, your words about your first year of marriage encouraged me so much. I’m glad to know we aren’t the only ones who made the decision to back out of ministry! You’re right – it is a hard thing to explain unless you’re living it out.

      Ahh, intentional community and food go together so much, don’t you think??

  3. The quote from She Reads Truth is SO good….”we cannot and should not try to live and grow in the gospel alone.” Such good thoughts Rachel! It’s encouraging to me to know that this desire for community IS out there, and you’re right, in a fast food culture- most people aren’t willing to wait for it, and I’m guilty of that way too often.

    • I feel like all of Titus could be summed up in that quote, you know?? She Reads Truth hit the nail on the head with that one.

      I am so encouraged by YOUR desire for community, too! And I’m encouraged by our blogging community as well…it’s not a total stand in for face to face community, but it does help so much.

      Our fast food culture…what a great way to put it 🙂 I’m guilty of not waiting, too! Patience is not a great virtue of mine!

  4. Rachel, I thought the SAME thing. So much about community right now. But I loved what you said, “It’s actually not really incidental. There’s nothing incidental about God.”

    Sometimes He whispers and sometimes He shouts and right now He’s totally shouting about community!

    (your fast food analogy was so on point)

  5. I love this, Rachel! I am the same way, cooking for others is one of my love languages! Also, Steven and I took our first year of marriage “off” from being involved in anything really. We had a few things but compared to how it was before we were married, we really did very little. I really think it’s one of the reasons we have a really solid foundation. Thank you so much for linking up with us!

    • Madison! I love that you take the time to read all of the coffee date link up posts…what a lovely hostess you are!!

      Ahh…yes. taking off the first year of marriage is one of the smartest things we’ve ever done, and it seems like it was the same way for you guys! I would literally tell everyone who is getting married to do the same thing!

  6. “we cannot and should not try to live and grow in the Gospel alone.” God didn’t make us for isolation. Heck, He Himself is community – Father, Spirit, and Son….

    THIS! you are exactly right, that is why we are to pursue community with intention and passion, because we are designed for it! We grow the best surrounded by Godly community so we must be actively seeking it out!

    Thanks so much for linking up with us Rach, and sorry for the crazy delay in commenting! 🙂

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