Part 1: What do you miss out on by missing out on community?
Every week, I watch the same handful of people arrive late and leave early. The event is at the same time each week...you can quite literally set your watch to it. And yet, the same people: arriving late, leaving early. It makes me sad as they rush in for the program, because programs don't change lives; people do. They see most of the program, but they miss "it". They are robbing themselves of all the beautiful, rich relationships that could change the course of their lives.
What do you miss out on by missing out on community?
At the risk of sounding dramatic... EVERYTHING!
Unfortunately, we modern-day Americans are so fortunate (#tooblessed) that we no longer NEED PEOPLE. And the result is the most lonely, medicated, addicted, divorced, disconnected, disengaged generation in history.
Because we don't need people, we don't have sound wisdom & rational advice poured into our lives by people who truly *cherish* us...
Which makes us not listen to people.
Because the only people we happen to hear from on a daily basis are people we're paid to be around, people on TV, and whoever posts the most on social media.
Because we don't need people, we don't know who to call when WE need help...
Because you don't ever allow yourself to need help. Because you'd have to admit you aren't Superman or Superwoman. And it's terrifying to think you might not be superhuman.
And since you don't allow yourself to need help, people aren't using THEIR God-given gifts to help you in your time of need.
Which means THEIR gifts aren't being used, but THEY still "go to work" doing something that in no way enhances THEIR unique gifts.
And because THEIR gifts aren't being used, THEY don't even know what THEIR gifts are anymore (and maybe THEY never did).
And because THEY don't know THEIR gifts, THEY don't know THEIR purpose in life.
Because we don't need people, YOU don't know how to help other people...
So YOU aren't using YOUR God-given gifts to help other people.
And although YOUR gifts aren't used, YOU still "go to work" doing something that has nothing to do with how uniquely gifted YOU are.
And because YOUR gifts aren't being used, YOU don't even know what YOUR gifts are anymore (and maybe YOU never did).
And because YOU don't know YOUR gifts, YOU don't know YOUR purpose in life.
Because we don't need people, we don't even know who we are anymore...
Being around *the right* people helps you to get comfortable with your uniquequirks, uniquetalents, and uniqueinsights.
And you start to see that you are not weird; WE ARE ALL WEIRD! And that's fantastic! Diversity is good! It makes life so rich!!
When you can be your real self, you become confident in who God created you to be.
Once you realize that God made you different so you can fulfill a unique calling, you embrace your real self #nofilter #noteventheflowercrown
If variety is the spice of life, diversity is the Tony Chachere's of life! Put it on anything + everything and BOOM! You have a masterpiece!
Because we don't need people, we don't get to practice true forgiveness...
Since "friends" are a dime a dozen, we toss people aside at the first offense, rather than forgiving, hugging it out, and moving on.
Because we aren't practicing forgiveness, our hearts are hardened. And we can justify to ourselves (with our echo chamber rationale) that we did what was best for us, and that's the best outcome. But the best outcome is coming together & sticking together, even when we don't get our way or our feelings are hurt.
Since we aren't forgiving each other, we no longer practice giving grace.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.1 Peter 4:8
Because we don't need people, we don't live to help others...
We aren't hopeful for people's futures. We don't believe the best IN people and the best FOR people.
Which leaves us missing seeing the best part of ourselves: how God has gifted each of us not for self-promotion, but to promote His love & grace in others, which in turn promotes others.
Rather, we turn inward and use all those gifts that God gave us to help others just to help ourselves. So we end up with some of the fanciest selfies, most stylish closets, shiniest cars, and biggest houses the world has ever seen...but what was it all for?
And as we look back on our lives, we wonder: What was it all for?
Because we don't need people, we are no longer loving fully...
And when you aren't loving fully, you aren't living fully.
It's only a short skip and a jump between half-way living to become dried up, dead inside, present but disengaged in life.
Are any of these fates true of your life today? Do you see how people around you could bring out the best in you, if you only let them in? Do you see how connection is necessary for a rich, fulfilled life?
My communities add depth and richness to my life. They give me an outlet for using and refining my talent, which gives me a deep sense of purpose. They believe the best in me, hope for the best for me, and love me constantly. And in that place of being loved, I get to believe in, hope for, and love my people right back.
What do you miss out on by missing out on community? Everything.
But you don't have to miss out! Place value on community and what it means to you. Then, go find people to live your life with.