“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” M. Scott Peck
We all need community. Whether you’re an introvert or an extravert, you need people in your life. We are made for community. What does that mean and what does that look like?
For me, community is living life together with a group of people, where we can be supported, learn and grow. I find community in many different areas of my life.
1. Friends and Family
Close friends and family make up community by surrounding me with support and unconditional love. I feel I return support and unconditional love to family and friends. It doesn’t matter if they live next door, or on the other side of the world. Time and distance do not make a difference in our love for each other.
2. Small Community Groups
The church I attend is a portable church. We meet on Sunday mornings in a movie theater and have no facility we can gather in during the week. Instead we meet in small community groups in homes throughout the week. We meet regularly to talk about the message, pray together, learn, grow and live life together.
Whether it’s through your church or another organization, meeting together with like-minded people on a regular basis is essential.
3. Online Community
If you know me at all, you know that I love social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….they’re all super fun! It’s such a great way to connect with people from around the world, have fun and share life stories. I find the more I open and share my life and vulnerabilities, the more I connect with others. I love it!
Recently, I became part of an online community. It’s called “The Start Experiment”, envisioned and lead by the author of Start: Punching fear in the face ,Jon Acuff. There are over 3000 of us. We have been split up into groups of 24 and matched with an accountability partner. For 24 days, we complete tasks and support and encourage each other to reach our goals. I have found an incredible community of people. We may never meet in person (most are in the USA), but this group of people are inspiring me to reach goals and push past fears.
4. Society Community
We work together, shop together, serve together and give together. Even though we may not know each other, our villages, towns and cities are made up of people that LIVE together in community.
What’s the common denominator with all these groups? Risk, vulnerability, community. When we feel safe, we risk more, become more vulnerable and trusting, and open up to share life in community. We are not meant to live this life alone.
And community is essential for mental health. If you are suffering in any way, connecting with community (friends, church, online) will help you be accountable, share advise and most importantly, provide non-judgemental support. If you are not part of any community, I urge you to seek out a group in your community. It’s scary, but, oh, so worth it!
How do you define community?
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another