Community isn’t that important.
Now, I never would have said that in so many words but that is how the college version of me lived life. Working multiple jobs and taking on huge credit loads (18-22 credits) left no time for community anyway. I was satisfied with my few friends and my fiance. It wasn’t until I moved across the country a week after our honeymoon with my honey and a truck full of a combination of dorm furniture, wedding gifts and a lot of violins that I realized the importance of community. Now that I am a mom, a foster mom, my community has become an essential part of my life and even my personality. Isn’t it funny how long it takes us sometimes to realize God’s way is best? Sometimes I think I am having this beautiful, inspired “writers moment” when really it’s the Holy Spirit breathing an exasperated breath relieved that I finally figured out what he was trying to say all along! All throughout Scripture we are told to fellowship together, bear one another’s burdens, and encourage each other. Our creative Creator made us as relational beings and in his perfect plan he knew we could not walk this pilgrim journey alone. If you’re like me this whole idea of creating a community is a bit overwhelming. “Where do I even start!” Here are a few lessons I have learned while following God’s command on my life to create community.
1. Start at home.
Your most important community is probably sitting right next to you! (or on top of you spitting up in your hair or demanding more juice or something.) Our families are were we are to start this path toward community. If you don’t have a connection with your soul mate, than your connection with others will be superficial at best. Beware the dangerous trap of throwing yourself into community with others while neglecting important connections at home.
2. Be intentional
These days it is so easy to hide behind Facebook or other social media outlets and deceive yourself into thinking it’s enough connection. (I don’t think this is entirely bad of course, I follow lots of foster mamas on Instagram for support and encouragement and it is wonderful, its just not enough!) Nothing is as valuable as getting out of the house (yes Mama’s, it is possible!) and sitting across the table from someone with a cup of coffee or a taco. Seek out women younger than you who need mentoring and give them a place and time. It is so easy to send a text ” Yea we should get together sometime.” and leave it at that. Be specific. Seek out an older woman who you respect and ask questions. She has so much wisdom for you if you just ask! (Seriously, there is no way my son would be potty trained if I hadn’t done this.) Face to face fellowship is essential.
3. Practice hospitality
I know. The idea of hospitality can be overwhelming and hold a lot of pressure. My house is nowhere near as lovely as the homes I see on Pinterest! I am nowhere near the homemaker I want to be! My sweet mother-in-law was always exactly what I thought a hostess should be. Towels laid out on the freshly made bed, beautifully executed meals that considered everyone’s dietary needs, a clean and cozy kitchen that somehow always had bottomless coffee. Now if that is you, praise God for your gift of hospitality and use it often! I do not have this gift, but I knew God was calling me to at least acquire some skills in this area so I marched off to the library for some resources. Two books in particular completely changed my perspective on what hospitality needed to be. I have links to them here.
Dear Friend, we have a choice to make. We can keep making excuses, and believe me I have come up with some good ones, or we can follow God’s leading and create a beautiful community.