Friday, August 22, 2014

Creating Community

Ever since I went on the World Race a few years ago, my idea of community has been shattered. Living with six other people and doing life with them literally twenty four seven will do that to you. You see the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, sometimes all in the same day. And that creates a bond like no other, and a community that is incredibly unique.

Sometimes we related it to a marriage, but between seven people. Of course there are some parts not included in there. But, as a team, we HAD to work through issues. We HAD to communicate daily with each other through the good and the bad. We were there for one another, we were vulnerable and we lived life together.

But life after the World Race has posed a different problem. How do I create community in such a different environment- America? Where everyone has their own daily schedule, usually "slap full" as my hubby would say, and always on the go? It hasn't been easy to say the least, and my husband and I are still working on really forming a solid community around us.

But, it has to start somewhere and you have to take action. So I want to share just a few ideas that we have been using to really foster the community around us in our lives, and what we are trying to be intentional in doing to be in community with others.

1. Share a meal with someone. This may be one of our favorites, and something we have made a goal in our marriage. We made a goal before we were married and also at the beginning of this year that we wanted to have at least one person or couple over to our home for dinner. So far we've made most months. One with none, and a few with multiple. It has been such a joyous thing, because for one, I love to cook, and I love being a "hostess." But I was so blown away by the hospitality I experienced overseas, and Zach and I wanted to replicate that here at home. Invite people in, slow down, talk and enjoy a meal together.

2. Get involved. While we are still trying to find our home church and where God is truly calling us (both church wise and actually where we want to live long term), we have been striving to get involved with the church we have regularly been attending. It's a larger church than what I am used to, but the people are genuine, and loving. The pastor truly teaches from the Bible and is not afraid to speak the truth in love, and I love that. But Zach and I have been making it a point to get involved in the Sunday school there with other married couples to meet new people. It's a great way to get out and make new friends! Consider where you can plug in and get involved yourself.

3. Be the initiator. This is something that I'm really passionate about. I feel like so many people just kind of fade away from community because of this- they don't want to initiate. It may be because we feel awkward, or are afraid of rejection, or just don't know how to go about it. But for me, I have learned that if I want something like community, I have to initiate it. Mostly because people today are so busy that they don't realize they can still have community. But, if you are persistent, and you just talk to people and invite them with open hands into your life, you might be surprised by the response.

Even though we are all "busy" in life, we crave community. We crave that wonderful, almost rare now, human face to face connection. I know that it brings me life and joy to connect with people- whether it's over the phone or face to face. Being able to invite people into my home is such a gift to my heart, and I enjoy making it a space of peace and retreat and refreshment.

I encourage you today, that if you are not in community with other people, consider some of these tips and implement just one. Just try one out and see where it leads you. You never know who you may meet, or what God has in store for you. But don't miss out on the valuable community potential that is around you, no matter where you are. 

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