Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day Six: Why Are Healthy Communities Important?

That surely could be a loaded question.  Why are any communities important?  The list is endless.  We all could come up with many different answers.  Here is my short answer and it’s solely my personal opinion based on my experience and talking with many women about community:

Doing Community Well is important because…………….

We were created for community.  We were created to do life with others.  We were created to work as one body for the good of the whole body. 

And, if we don’t do community well then people get hurt and stay hurt.  People get lost and stay lost.  People become disenfranchised and lose hope.

Those are all my reasons and words.  Here are some others who share in their own words and I believe the translation is they long for community and they need it to heal and do life well:

Reader who shared their heart on my Day 5 post:  “Some of the things you say about community are how I'd like to feel about my church, but I don't. What would I be willing to do to change that? Don't know. Thought-provoking.”

This breaks my heart because our church should be one of our very favorite communities to connect with.  We obviously have some work to do in this arena.  Please hear my heart as well:  I know there are many other layers to this person’s words and experience but we’ll never know their full story if we don’t do community to find out.

A sweet friend said this after I asked for her thoughts on community:

“The topic of community is a difficult one for me because until very recently I never really felt like I belonged to one - She is in her 40’s.  One of the dictionary definitions of community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  Fellowship was a foreign concept to me.  Most of my life the “groups” I associated myself with were not communities that gave me a feeling of belonging, but of hurt or shame.”

Another sad reality.  With a lot of layers.  And she admits to me that she knows she is responsible for some of this.  However, who is going to help her learn how to do community well if those of us who do it well aren’t out their “doing it WELL”?

Helping hurt people realize that healthy communities are out there is one reason I believe we need to “Do Community Well”!!

Here are some AWESOME reasons why community is necessary:

A friend just posted this on her Facebook wall:  “Prayers please.”  She already has 9 comments and this was one of them:  “Praying for you now… strong and of good courage!”  This was a comment from someone who was a stranger less than two months ago but because my friend and I are deliberate about creating communities and including people in our Tribe we are now getting to know this person.  And, their words encouraged me as I read them though they were meant for her.  I have no doubt they have brought her encouragement as well. 

And I could go on and on and list the many text messages; FB messages; FB posts; phone calls and notes I have received by people who struggle with doing community and really appreciate seeing it done well.  They thank me for including them and making them feel welcomed.  I actually feel guilty sometimes because it’s just who God created me to be.  I don’t do it perfectly, and I have hurt people along the way, and yet, God chooses to continue to use me to encourage others.  And I am grateful for that.

I don’t share this to brag on myself as it is all God’s doing.  I share this to say that people are watching us. Hurting people are watching us.  They are reading what we post – whether we want them to or not.  They are listening to what we say and watching how we live as we do our normal, everyday life.  The messy-how-am-I-going-to-get-through-this-awful-day kind of life.  We don’t always see that they are watching.  We don’t always know or hear that they are watching.  We rarely hear a compliment on the way we are living.  And none of that really matters.  This life isn’t just about us.  It is about the people God created us to affect. 

We are infectious whether we like it or not and we get to make the choice – Will we affect others in a positive way or in a negative way?  It’s our choice.  Choose wisely sweet friend.  Choose wisely!

We get to do community so let’s go out and DO IT WELL!!!


Melissa Haag said...

Love this! Community is important because when you-know-what hits the fan, those are the people who are there for you! My 31 Days family was my ROCK when my family went through losing everything in the fire!

Laura Gambrino said...

You said we don't have a choice in being infectious and that is so terribly true and so terrifically true. You point out we have a choice on how we are infectious. Thank you for your encouragement to live on purpose and make a wise choice!