Sometimes, I fall into the trap of thinking that its okay to feel alone. Or maybe being alone is best. But over & over again, God reminds me of His heart for community. These past few days, my heart has been super heavy based on this topic. Is it selfish to desire a loving community? Is it wrong to surround yourself with positive influences? Do you ever feel like you're in an obligated relationship with your current community?
I love reading & learning more from inspirational leaders who are gifted encourager. A lot of resources I've subscribed to or have skimmed through, talk a whole lot about filtering through the people you surround yourself with. Making healthy decisions for your relationships. I find this quite difficult actually. I don't want to hurt or offend anyone's feelings in the process of doing so. So, I guess I just never really get around to it. I mean, there isn't really a handbook on how to surround yourself with positive & genuine loving people and how to let go of toxic friendships.
Growing up, I always heard people say, "The people you surround yourself with, influences your behavior." I never thought much about it back then. But oh boy, do I now. I see it. It's true, the people you surround yourself will either make you or break you. 1 Corinthians 15:5 says, "Don't be misled. Bad company corrupts good character." I believe that this is true whether you have a religious belief or not.
God is a relational being. His heart is to connect with us. If our Maker created us in His image. We too, are designed & wired to need community & relationships. Honestly, when you face what seems like the darkest times in your life, that is when you feel the desire of a true community. A need for just a handful of people who really just either 1) understand and know exactly how you feel, 2 )are willing to listen to & embrace you, and 3) continue loving you no matter what.
Why is it that instead of feeling safe within our very own communities, we at times feel like we have to be on guard? Maybe we haven't found the right friends yet. If you have, then AWESOME! But if you, like most of us, are still in the waiting. Then know that I'm praying for you. We should know that even God wants us to have godly & encouraging friends. People who will speak words of life & truth into you. They're willing to invest in your life & be genuinely active in your friendship. People who will sharpen you & build you up to become the best version of yourself.
I truly believe that God makes Himself present in genuine friendships. Through the constant growth in trust, vulnerability, & loving correction. God uses those who are intentional & who truly have compassion for us to help build us up. Good friends are nice gifts throughout the seasons of our lives. But Godly friends are blessings for eternity.
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."-Hebrews 10:24-25
No one can stand before you & force you into an unhealthy friendship. Fortunately, God gave us free will. He lets us make the choice. We can either choose to surround ourselves with people who are going to love us into who we were made to be. Or settle for the fake obligations & fears of offending those around us. I can understand why the need to filter out relationships. Although I don't quite have a community yet, I'm slowly finding one. I'm entrusting my future relationships to God. I believe He knows whats best for me & He has exactly the greatest group of women that I need in my life. I'm just waiting patiently.
Luckily, I'm embracing the few genuine, Jesus-loving friends that I have on hand right now. In the moments where life gets tough, God shows me glimpses of His revelation for a true community. The beauty in the brokenness. The grace in the struggles. The hope when it seems like there's none.
I pray that where ever you are in the season of your life, that you will at least have one genuine friend to love you into who you were made to be. To live life intentionally embracing one another.
What does community mean to you? Do you have seasonal friends or eternal friends? Or are you still praying for them?