By: Jamala Mya
Jamala is the Director of R Kids and Preteens
Community: What it means to be intentional in who we surround ourselves with
What having true community means?
What is hindering us from true community?
Let’s go all the way back to the Garden of Eden when God states that it is not good for man to be alone. God creates Adam and almost immediately knows the need for a friend. Additionally, we see it in the way God calls His people group—not just individual people but the whole group. He says, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
The story in Mark of the paralytic always encourages me. His friends carrying Him, lowered him down through the ceiling because that was the only way into the house. It was because of the faith of those friends, who would stop at nothing to get their friend to Jesus for healing, that the paralytic was actually healed!
A few months ago, I felt ready to take a step of faith into intentional community and knew there were some heart things holding me back from accessing true and godly friendships. Here are some things that helped me to free my heart up:
Comparing ourselves to others only limits our perspective, and hinders us from seeing the greatness of God in our own lives. Being thankful isn't a spiritual duty, but a practical tool to help us become more aware of what we have by God's grace. Let's steward what we have by recognizing what's already ours. The truth of the matter is if the Creator of the universe wanted us all to be the same - then we would be! In my own life, comparison took hold of my relationships. Immersing myself in community in our R Groups, and by becoming a part of our R Kids team which I love, made me realize how wrong I was. The enemy knows that community brings us closer to God, and was trying to pull me further and further away by comparison!
Within community, we’re given the opportunity to get real with one another, to confess our sins, and to break free from the things that are holding us back from living God’s best life. True community requires transparency, authenticity, and vulnerability. Choose the freedom He has written over your life to tell yourself you are worthy of all, and go into relationships. I have felt that in my lowest moments, being real and vulnerable to my community has helped me to heal in my moment, rather than after. I felt strong enough to push through, when I knew I had people with me, who genuinely didn’t care what a mess I was, but cared for me. There’s something powerful about believers joining together, making each other accountable and being a sort of a witness of one another’s lives. We need people checking in on us, asking the hard questions, and challenging us to really live out our faith. I’ve been so fortunate at Resonate Church to have friendships that challenge me to be who God intended me to be, and to champion me through my struggles.
Loving with purpose:
To go beyond the norm of what society says what friendships should be is kind of awkward. But Jesus did not call us to conform in Romans 12:2, and calls us into community deeper than “normal”.
Whether it’s committing to a weekly meeting or showing up when someone needs help, company or advice—community requires you to step outside the you-bubble and into someone else’s bubble. What’s harder—it requires you to invite other people into your own bubble!
Bob Goff says something that resonates with me - “What we do with our love is where we are at in our faith. we are rivers, not reservoirs.”
Community is so much more than check-in texts once in a while, and empty hangouts. It’s the pursuit of faith coming alongside you and stopping at nothing until healing. We are all in this together, not one of us is alone in this mess. One of the most transformative and comforting things through my life has been someone else looking at me and saying “me too.”
It is uncomfortable, but so healing to be vulnerable. To let people in. To not be okay. We serve a God of healing and restoration and I want to come alongside you in faith that he will do just that. Jesus uses others around us to confirm, love on and enrich things in our daily lives!