by Alexa Hess
One of the first blog posts I wrote when I joined The Daily Grace Co. was on the topic of vulnerability. I discussed my hesitancy to meet new people and become known since moving to Seattle. It has been about a year since that post, and while friendships have developed over this past year, I still find myself struggling when it comes to community.
Often, I find that I have to fight against my natural inclination to stay at home instead of going and meeting with people. It isn’t because the people I know aren’t nice, but rather it’s because it often feels more comfortable to be by myself. If you struggle with having community, you are not alone. Like me, maybe you’re introverted. Maybe friends have hurt you in the past. Maybe no one reaches out to you. It can be easy to want to throw in the towel when it comes to developing friendships. But instead of giving up and resolving to live an isolated life, remember these important truths: you need community, and community needs you.
You need community
When God created the first human, Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him” (Genesis 2:18). After Adam could not find a helper like him amongst the animals, God created Eve from Adam’s body to be his helper. While the first two humans are examples of the first marriage in Scripture, their story teaches us an important lesson— we are not meant to live life alone.
However, we can be tempted to believe we can live life alone. Because of sin, our natural inclination is to want to do things ourselves and in our own power. Depending on ourselves alone can cause us to think, I don’t need others. Yet this is a lie that the enemy fuels in order to keep us isolated. Ecclesiastes tells us how a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). In other words, there is power in numbers. In contrast, there is weakness and vulnerability in isolation. When we resolve to live life alone, we are left defenseless against the lies of the enemy. Without others speaking truth into our lives, we can easily buy into the lies the enemy wants us to believe. Isolation also creates an opportunity for sin to thrive. Sin thrives in the dark, and isolation only perpetuates sinful habits in our lives.
God gives us not only His Word, but also other people to hold us accountable. Even though exposing our sin can be painful, when we expose our sin to others, that is when healing begins. Through community, God helps us confess our sins and rest in His grace. We need others to not only hold us accountable but also to speak words of truth, comfort, encouragement to us. We need others’ help when we are weak, their presence when we’re grieving, and their guidance when we feel lost. Our weaknesses and sin struggles point to the fact that not only do we need God, we also need others.
Community needs you
God has designed each one of us with specific skills and giftings. He has created us with unique personalities and ways of thinking. However, the enemy can whisper another lie that no one needs us. We can buy into the lie that our giftings don’t matter or that others would be better off without us. But we must remember that if God created us to live life with others, He created others to need us. First Corinthians 12:14 tells us how “the body is not one part but many.” In the same way, the body of Christ is not made up of one type of people, but many different people. Each person has a unique place in the body of Christ and is necessary for the body of Christ to flourish.
This is true not only for our local church context but also in our relationships with others. God uses the giftings He has given us to teach, uplift, and spur on others. When we believe the enemy’s lie that others don’t need us, we prevent ourselves from exercising the gifts God has given us to love, help, and serve others. So don’t pull away thinking that you have nothing to offer others. Just as you need community, so do the people in your community need you.
Don’t buy into the lie that you don’t need community or community doesn’t need you. God has created us for relationships, so let us fight the impulse to live the isolated life and take up the community available to us in the body of Christ.