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The Blessing of Community + how important our people are



When we do highs and lows in small group, or even just share what we're thankful for, friends might be the most repeated answer. And when I look at my life, the best times and the best memories are when I have the best community, and the harder times are much more vivid when I'm completely alone and struggling to stay connected with quality people.


I share pretty openly about the struggles I face in real life, and what God is teaching me through that, in hopes that you could be encouraged by it. Today's post is no different, and honestly strikes a different cord in my heart.


Community. Friends. My people.


What emotions arise when you hear that word?


When I was younger, like elementary school age, I had no problem making friends. I was arguably the most popular girl at school in third grade (it helped that my mom worked there), and everyone knew me. I had so many friends, so many sleepovers, that I was never alone. Life was good.


As I got older and my faith grew deeper (and I matured a little faster), I noticed the quantity of my friends started dwindling. I realized that we were growing apart, for numerous reasons, but for the first time in my life, I felt alone. And I had no idea what to do about it.


So I idolized the few friends I had, desperate to keep them. I strived to be prettier, funnier, cooler, so that maybe I could at least maintain the friendships I had. It was less about quality, but simply having a social life above water, and I told myself that it didn't matter, but my heart knew the difference.


When we don't have quality people pouring into our lives, encouraging us, challenging us, and walking alongside us through the good, bad, and ugly, our hearts notice. God created us to live in community, and when we try to live on our own, it gets lonely. I can't speak for anyone else, but the more I tried to get by on my own, the more anxious and overwhelmed I got, and the farther I fell into the dark depression I was already struggling with.


For years, I was stuck in this battle. I was losing friends, rapidly, because unfortunately, that's what happens as we grow up. I don't know what happened to most of them, but I remember being asked one day, "who's your best friend?" and not having an answer to that. And that's hard, y'all. I don't know if you've been there, but it's hard.


I started begging God to bring me friends, to save me from the loneliness in my soul that was quickly growing. And sure enough, slowly but surely, God opened my eyes to the people in my life that He sent to walk alongside me, and for me to walk alongside them. First, it was the girl in my gifted class (you know who you are). Then, it was Piper. And Madi and Cadence and my cross country team and my coaches and now my youth group. And my circle isn't huge but it's a beautiful group of imperfect people doing their best to live like Jesus. It wasn't immediate, and the close relationships I have now took time to develop, but man, has God shown me the importance of these people. They are vital, not only to my heart health, but to my walk with Jesus as well.


My people challenge me in my faith and push me to be the best version of myself. They keep me accountable and call me out when I need it, but they also encourage me and lift me up. They remind me of the truth found in Scripture and walk alongside me in the good times and the bad times. My people celebrate with me and cry with me, and I can count on them for anything.


So - if you have a community surrounding you, people building you up and encouraging you, then praise God for that! Our people, our support system, our village - whatever you want to call it - is such a blessing. Continue to be intentional about serving and loving on them as well, and tell them how much you appreciate their place in your life.


If you're struggling to find that community or deepen your friendships, let me encourage you with this: Jesus is always, always there, walking alongside you. As you call out to Him, don't stop praying for community. He is listening, and He will provide. In the meantime, continue to lean into His presence. Let Him strengthen you during this time, and continue to reach out and serve the people around you. No matter how you feel, you are not alone. And sometimes, as much as no one wants to admit it, the lonely season is a vital time for us to draw closer to the Lord and strengthen our faith.

 

Here's what I want you to walk away with:


A strong, godly community is so important to not only our overall well-being but also our walk with Jesus. When we try to do life alone, we might feel like we're being strong, but ultimately, that's not the way God designed it, and we miss out on some of the best parts of life without our people around us. Continue clinging to the Lord, and praising Him for the people He has put in your life. If you're struggling to find your community, use this as an opportunity to draw closer to Jesus, and ask Him to open your eyes to the people He wants you to reach out to. He will provide and bless you beyond what you ever thought was possible.


How has God blessed you with your people recently? Was it an easy journey to find the community you have now, or was it a long, slow one? I'd love to hear in the comments down below! You never know how your story may encourage someone else. :)


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