Community Chatter

Relevant Magazine recently posted an interesting article (6 Things Every Strong Community Needs) that got my brain pondering: Community

Here are their six headings, and my comments.

Intentionality

Sometimes we have to purpose to become community. And other times, it just happens.

This can happen in school, work, church, or your neighborhood. You may have kids all in the same grade or sports team, you may meet in a coffee lineup every day, or share a hairdresser…. Community is happening all around us.

We have to be intentional to plug into it.

Diversity

Not everyone is going to be just like you- in looks, quirks, likes or gifts/talents. I recently commented to a few of my closest friends that we all seem to have one skill we are able to use to bless one another in an area that person is needing a hand in. It is awesome how we can become so much more when we pool our resources, and encourage one another to be ourselves in healthy ways.

A Willingness to Embrace Awkwardness

Getting close to a group of people you don’t know can be very awkward…and I should know. I much prefer to write or sing it versus speak it to people. Its not a matter of feeling scared, but in feeling I won’t be accepted if I show who I really am. Yet, once we feel safe in community, this can be a wonderful picture of true caring for one another in being a safe place to land when you need it. This leads to….

Openness

Being able to be yourself with a group of people is a precious aspect of community. Yes, there will be disagreements as no group of people will agree about every thing all the time. The freedom to be open in a respectful way where everyone is honored is a vital piece of a strong community.

The Ability to Have Fun Together

If you have a good mix going on in your community, this will naturally occur once people feel free to be themselves in a safe respectful environment. I remember a few people I worked with at school meeting with me for coffee, who made the comment they didn’t know how funny I was. I replied, “When you are lunch monitoring preteens, you can’t let them know you are fun loving, you need to show your work face.” :). Don’t do so much work that you never take time to relax and unwind with one another over coffee, a movie, or a group outing.

Inclusiveness

If all feel welcome, you are showing a healthy community to those looking in from the outside. There are times when you are in a set few weeks where you are intently studying something, and a new person in the mix for those meeting would be awkward all round. That’s why every month I lead my ladies group, we have a fun night built in somewhere. Maybe coffee at the nearest book store, maybe second hand shopping, sometimes a movie night. A time when anyone is welcome to come and hang out.

Final Thoughts?

God invites us into community with Him in these six ways too:

Intentional. God intentionally invites us all to come.
Diversity: God welcomes everyone from any & all backgrounds.
A willingness to embrace awkwardness: I think Jesus demonstrated this by reaching out to us all right where we are at.
Openness. God is 100% approachable, all the time. The ability to have fun together. God is great company, and people who hang out with Him are able to find joy in His Presence 🙂
Inclusive. All are welcome to join His family. The perks come from. the privileges you are blessed with when you are in.

I find I am able to maintain my hope and focus on God when I feel connected, and a part of community:
At home with my family.
At work as part of the team.
With my closest friends.
But especially in my walk with God.

What do you feel you need as a healthy aspect of community?

bless from the mess

You catch way more flies with honey than vinegar.

-Unknown

I recently had a gear shift, or what you may refer to as an ‘aha’ moment.

I have a few friends who are both teachers.

My newest friend of the two finally felt she found the school she was meant to stay in, and was unsure there would be a place for her next year. She was almost heartbroken at the thought of moving on, and couldn’t see how it could happen for her to stay.

I prayed for her, asking God to move whichever teacher at that school who was waiting for their dream job/blessing on, so that the position would become available for my friend. Not what this person was expecting. A little taken aback by my approach, she also prayed the same way.

One of her coworkers shortly after shared that they got word their “dream job” had opened up for them, and space was made at the school for my new friend to stay there next year.

My other close friend has had a really rough year at her current school, without a great deal of internal support. Mess is an understatement for her year of extreme stress. I quietly prayed that God would move out into a better position whomever was needed for her to have a better year if she was meant to stay, or else open up an admin leave for her. As the year was an emotional rollercoaster, she was unsure which door she was meant to go through. The main person involved has recently been promoted out, leaving the door open for blessings to come without my friend needing to leave.

Praying God opens a door for someone else waiting can help us while we wait for ours to open.

Why pray for others? Why not just pray for our needs?

When I look at Jesus in the Word, I see a man of compassion for those who are struggling or hurt around Him. I see miracles, healings and deep care for those He blessed.

Why not bless someone else too while we pray about our need?

Jesus poured out His very life for those He loved, which was everyone.

We can have a positive impact by praying blessing on others….so why not ask Jesus to bless them too?

It could lead to their discovering who He is, how much He loves them and what He has done for them.

So I choose to pray blessing for those I work for, blessing on those in know who are waiting for doors to open, and blessing on those who are waiting for their doors to open.

We serve a big God. There is no reason why He won’t choose to bless if we ask Him to, even setting off a blessing chain reaction of open doors swinging wide before their King!

If God intends for you to walk through a door, He will open it for you. His Word promises His plans are good for us, and will come to pass when we seek Him first. Don’t be afraid to pray for the door to open if you know that you know that is where God wants you to go!

And if your coworker or neighbor or friend gets blessed in the process, even better 😉
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complete or compete

“God never wanted us to compete with each other. He wants us to compete and celebrate each other, embracing who we are in Him.”
-Renee Swope

Are you competitive?

Competing can be a good thing, when you are trying to do your best in a sport or skill competition.

Putting others down isn’t part of competition.

For years, I have seen people joke and tease others, under the guise of friendly competition. I have been the brunt of these barbed jokes when they let their insecurity do the talking.

God wants us to look out for each other, and in the ways that we are lacking, encourage one another. Help each other figure out how to become complete.

It sometimes takes an outsider to inform you what is really going on our inside.

Others can see what we fail to, likely because we are too close to the matter, or oblivious to what they are seeing.

I love to network. Whether its live, Twitter, Facebook or Linked in, I love to see people connect and be blessed by one another.

My boss say this gift and encouraged me to begin to use it more often, to take a leap of faith and put myself out there. Two years later, things have taken off in a way I never good have fathomed…and wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t seen the potential for growth.

I have two friends who took a leap to both work part time, and form their own business to make up the other ‘half’ of their jobs. They are excellent at what they do, but are also wise enough to know what they shouldn’t be doing, and have partnered to refer those jobs when appropriate.

Calling someone out, encouraging them to be fully who God designed them to be, and celebrating all their victories- is a godly trait.

Putting them down for their apparent lack of skills is not from God’s hand.

God wants us to be soaked in the knowledge of who He is, and how He sees us.
He named us His own.
He celebrates our victories.
He cries when we cry.
He loves with abandon.
He keeps no record of our, my wrongs.

Out of who we truly are on Christ flows our as attitude. Will you be gruff & hurtful, or encourage & mentor those around you for such a time as this!

Look out for how you can /might be a blessing to other around you take our focus off the negativity of comparison.

Besides, there is only ever and one of each of us. We really can’t line ourselves up alongside one another and compare ourselves to everyone else.

There is no comparison if we are one of a kind, only between who we used to be and who we want to be.

I want to be the kind of gal who completes her friends, by being a blessing to them and celebrating when they move closer to being more complete in God.