The word “community” is thrown around a lot….so much so that last semester I refused to say the word (I soon realized that my reasoning was pathetic). Yet the Lord is teaching me how critical it is to emphasize it.
As Christians, we are called to make disciples–not to complete solitude. We need each other for growth, encouragement, accountability and help. We need community in order to know the Lord better.
I am in a discipleship group with some of the best girls around. We push each other to be more like Christ. However, this semester we’re really beginning to learn what it looks like to out-do one another in love. With our schedules, it’s almost impossible to spend time with each other besides our meeting times and Wednesday nights at church. So we’ve begun to pray more for each other, to send encouraging texts, to be mindful of and bear in one another’s struggles. And it’s not easy! But I believe that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to this “life on life” thing that people talk about. Bearing in burdens, rejoicing in good times, praying through decisions. In order to pour out constantly, however, you need the impartation of the Holy Spirit to fill you with power so you can pour out. Otherwise, nothing will be left.
I’ve always struggled with the following: Paul says that he poured himself out like a drink offering. But I walk away from friendships sometimes because I know they’re not healthy for me. Is that selfish or smart? Is that godly or self-seeking? I was explaining this struggle to my friend the other day, and she said, “El, Paul didn’t pour himself out to everybody. And although Jesus gave Himself and made Himself nothing for us, He primarily focused on pouring into 12 men while He was on earth.” I’m often torn over half-heartedly being someone’s friend. As a Christian, I want to delve deep and I want to grow, fighting against superficiality. But I’m also continuing to learn that I can’t pour my heart out to everybody. We need each other, but maybe at different levels.
Anyway, that’s an overview of what I’ve been learning. And Andrea, my best friend since 8th (?) grade, exemplified this today. In a letter I wrote her a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was missing England. I received a package from her today full of English chocolate, a London-themed journal, even British flag nail polish (where did you find that!?) and, naturally, Starbursts. She knows my heart. I know hers. And because of that, we know we need each other. And it’s never a bad day when you get a package! Thanks, AD :)