I am on a quest to find, create, and be a part of authentic community. Since I revealed my seventeen year relationship drought a couple of weeks ago, I have had interesting reactions.
Most people slap me a high five and identify with the struggle to find and maintain a true sense of belonging.
Some people have offered advice about what is missing and what I need to do.
Others find it shocking that I can't find water/connection when there is so much water/connection flowing all around us...maybe I'm not holding my mouth the right way when I try to drink.
But my favorite response is the people who have wanted to meet with me. That has helped to quench the desire I have to feel pursued.
One of my dear friends and mentors took me to lunch and we connected heart to heart. The exchange was simple; he listened to me and I listened to him. It was time well spent. There was no agenda. All he wanted was to remind me that I was wanted in his life.
He said something that really touched me as we were leaving the restaurant:
"Don't loose your dissatisfaction with the status quo. It will propel you forward to find what you are looking for."
That really inspired me!
WHY DO I NEED COMMUNITY?
If I have Jesus, then why do I need people?
Jesus is perfect love and lacking nothing to give me.
He has permanent residence in my heart.
I am encouraged to ask Him for whatever I need.
His love is without limits. It heals. It gives security. It causes me to feel like I am somebody.
So, why do I need people?
Jesus gives us a perfect example as to why we need people.
Look it up in Mark 14: 32-41. I love this story.
This is the night before Jesus was betrayed.
He gathers his boys, and they fellowship together eating the Passover meal one last time.
His goal is to remind them that his death is necessary to bring victory over sin.
Their hearts sink as he delivers the bad news.
A cloud of despair hangs in the room.
The boys have eaten their last supper with the leader of their tribe.
Until now he has been an unstoppable force.
They have watched him heal the incurable, cast darkness out of scary people, and challenge cold-hearted people, who made a living arguing.
He took care of the poorest, ugliest, most undesirable people in their community.
All of that was powerful.
But what they remember is how he touched them.
He knew exactly what to say to connect with the burning desires of their hearts.
They gave up businesses, families, and reputation to follow him all over the place.
Now they question if it was worth it.
They enter the garden, where they have gathered many times. It's dark, the air is cool, and they are very sad.
The boys are full of sorrow because they feel cheated.
This isn't what they signed up for.
Disappointment is igniting unbelief, and they are beginning to feel very insecure about where they belong.
Then, Jesus does something weird.
He makes this moment about himself.
He summons them close.
Three times he commands them to pray.
Don't let sorrow over take you because...I NEED YOU.
What did the MESSIAH say?
"My heart is overwhelmed with sorrow and grief. Pray with me. I need you to help me fight this battle. I need you to pray with me. I don't feel like I can win this moment alone. I need you boys. I need my friends. I need someone to step into this situation, and encourage me to do something I don't have the strength to do on my own."
OMG!!! Did Jesus sin because he admitted his need for help?
Did He just admit that a weakness?
Did God reject Jesus for looking for support from ignorant, immature fishermen?
Did Jesus forget that he had unlimited access to heaven's supply of love?
He was not sinning. He was not wrong. He was not defective.
HE WAS HUMAN!
He was proving why we need each other.
Humans need other humans.
Jesus, as a man, needed the support of others.
We need people to speak into us what we struggle to find on our own.
IT IS NORMAL!
God created us to long for deep connection with others.
Remember, he said it was not good for us to be alone!
Take this to a deeper level.
We need people to bring out the best and the worst in us.
Jesus alone can transform us from selfish, self-centered, sinful people, in the context relationship.
Not just in relationship with Him.
But, this process is meant to be worked out in relationships with the people I need and the people who need me.
He lives through me to empower me to connect with others and to find fulfillment in needing others.
I abandoned my need in recent years.
I hid behind ministry work.
Business replaced relationships.
I have been very dishonest about what was missing in my life.
I didn't do what Jesus did, calling on his boys for help.
I turned inward and shoved my needs down because I was afraid of being controlled by needing others.
I was okay with needing Jesus.
But, I didn't want to need others.
Starving myself of friendship and pulling away from others was my attempt to need only Jesus.
But now I am awake!
I am coming out of hiding and I am becoming intentional about connecting with others.
I am excited because I believe God is doing something very special in my heart.
I don't have all the answers to how to create community.
I simply know that I am supposed to have it.
The longing for it is causing me to push myself outside of my comfort zone to search and find it.
So, you may see me trying to practice connection by giving big hugs in the grocery store or being a "close talker" during conversations at parties...not!
BUT, I am willing to do what it takes to get really close again.
Because, Jesus demonstrated perfect community hundreds of years ago...and He’s been calling each of us ever since, to walk in that same destiny.