Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

Community — Authentic or Artificial?

There are always buzzwords in Christianity.  And like all buzzwords, they get used ad naseum.

One of these words is community, as in “I am encouraging community, “ and “I am seeking community.” 

The concept of community is a great one, because God did indeed put us into families and churches.

Imagine a community without the likes of Mrs. Oleson. Wouldn't life be boring?

But I think that the concept of community, like all good things, has been used by satan to bring discontentment into women’s lives, because, you see, we are not seeking community,we are seeking the perfect community. You know, the community where everyone thinks like I think, believes what I believe, shares my interests.

Custom made, like-minded community. Authentic. Except it isn’t. In fact, it’s artificial.   

It is way too easy to create our own little community via electronic devices. We arrange ourselves into little groups: on Facebook, Twitter or via blogs.

Not that these groups are inherently bad, in fact, many of them are helpful and good. But these electronic communities are never meant to isolate us from, or take the place of the people that live in our actual communities.

And though it is easier to follow the woman online with the glossy, soft focused pictures, rather than making life work with the woman at church whose warts and prickles we are all too familiar with, real life is where God has placed us for a reason.

I have to be honest with you, my idea of ideal friendships would never have included visiting old ladies in nursing homes, because, ya know, old ladies lying in hospital beds aren’t that flashy or fun. But this is one area of community that has been the biggest blessing for me and my family.

 

God has put us where we are in order to change us. Yes. You read that right. Not to pamper us. Not to coddle us. To.change.us.

 

So next time you pass that ridiculous neighbor that is always miserable, remember that there is a bigger picture–God is trying to teach you humility. Are your actions reflecting Christ?

 

That outspoken, self righteous woman at church? The one who takes charge and comes into the room mouth first? Yes, God has you in community with her for a reason and our reactions need to be an example of a God honoring heart and tongue.

 

We are here to advance God’s kingdom, not our own mini-kingdoms.

 

And when we manipulate life to fit our mental idea of what it should look like, aren’t we saying, “God, you’ve done it wrong. I’ll do it right?”

 

When you are unhappy with your community, and you are convinced that these people around me are just so this or that lackluster,

remember…

It’s HIM, not THEM.

 

There is a reason. It is for your good and growth. And HE has ordained it.