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I believe we are made with a desire for community-for friends, people that will love us unconditionally, and those that will see past who we are to what He is making us to be.

The very thing that we desire the most though, comes at a great price. It requires reaching outside our comfort zone, being transparent, and perhaps not being “all put together” {gasp!}.  We want to be accepted for who we are, yet we portray who we are not, to be accepted to a group that might not be what we really want either. The striking thing about this is, when you have kids, it is heightened even more by their behavior, friends, sports, etc.

Perception is a funny thing. It can protect us or jade us. Sometimes the person inside us feels covered by the protection that a put-together life can mask. Other times, it can make you feel like you are being pressed into a mold that doesn’t fit your face to mask things you aren’t even sure you believe in.

There is freedom in taking who you are and stepping out to be who He has created you to be. There is a community that He has created that understands you (creative, knowledgeable, loves law, loves manicures, loves kids, whatever that might be) and has people for you that will journey alongside you. The Lord has uniquely created you to be an amazing part of the Kingdom. His Word promises that He has a plan for you, not to harm you, but to give you a hope and future (Jer 29:11).

It is uncanny to me how we tend to walk around listlessly feeling as if we are all alone, no one understanding us, and aching for transparency. Yet…we fear taking the risk to achieve that community.

What are some ways then to achieve community in a culture that breeds insecurity and individuality on so many levels, we can’t even count? I would like to submit a few ideas and then have you add on:

-pray that the Lord would open your eyes to someone that has your heart and passion in common.

-pray for the friends you do have, that He would open your eyes how to minister to them. Reaching outside ourselves and looking to others can help our “meter” even out a bit.

-if you are surrounded by people that you feel do not understand you, spend time once or twice a year with someone that does. Maybe you have moved and feel like you have not connected. Recharge and reconnect with those that do understand you, and come back ready to invest and love on those He has surrounded you with.

-is time the issue? You do not have time to cultivate friendships? Build community? Look at your schedule and see where more margin can be built. Someone in college once told me that our schedules should be 80% full so we have 20% to give when the Lord presents situations in our lives He wants us to attend to. My friend Mary DeMuth has a great post on this.

-host an (in)real life community gathering next month. There are people looking for community that you can open your home, church, or housing club house to, helping build bridges and relationships.

-email me and I’ll be praying He will provide friends and kindred spirits for you kristi (at) kristigriem (dot) com.

Please comment below and add ideas you have to bless and benefit others!

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