Community starts by telling our story to one another. The true, honest, nitty-gritty details of our life that include the beautiful and heartbreaking moments. Without the telling of our story, what we give each other is an edited version of us, the “140 characters or less” version in dispersed with vintage filtered photos. Why is it so hard to tell our story? Because it means that we have to be intimate, and that we have to look people in the eye and tell when we have failed and succeeded. It may mean they we can’t edit ourselves or our appearance, but that others can see us for who we really are and that can be scary. If we never get to the core of each other, then we never really experience true community and what we often throw around as a catch phrase “doing life together.”
I get that it’s hard to share your story, and I don’t expect that you share it with every single acquaintance or random person that comes across your path, but what about the people in your life with whom you are closest. Do they know your story and do you know theirs? It’s time to dig deep. God called us to love him and love others, and it’s hard to know how to love one another if you don’t even know who they are deep down inside.
It’s ironic that in this day with media and how much people are willing to share online about themselves that it proves we desire to be known, but only on a superficial level. We feel comfortable with sharing photos of what we ate for lunch or what funny quote our friend just said to see the “likes” pour in and get instant feedback on our life. But we don’t share what we fear, our struggles or doubts online because we fear what will happen when we are deeply known by others. True community is beyond a Facebook “like,” but includes the messy version of ourselves often over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine where we make time to sit down with each other and listen. It takes turning off the phones to cut down on the distraction or the temptation to superficially share, and asking questions that get to the core of a person. True community involves being vulnerable, willing to share and listen carefully to one another, and our undivided attention. Find ways in which you can provide support, encouragement, and ask how can God use me to show this person God’s love for them in their life or what can I do to help meet the needs of this person? It may be that they need someone to just listen, or they may need someone to unpackage their thoughts with, or they may need encouragement.
Make a coffee date this week or have your friends over for dinner. Ask questions that get to the core, and be willing to reciprocate sharing. Take the time to listen and love…that is doing life together.
Great post Beej. You’re amazing.