In looking back at the past weeks, contributors Heather Zempel, Ryan Sanders and Dan King have given us some great keys and action points when considering how we can grow in intimacy with our community.
Heather summed up so much when she said “Community is messy and hard, but it’s also worth fighting for.” That statement really is so accurate when it comes to any type of relationship whether it is in our communities, church, work, in our neighborhood, but it also is very true of intimacy in all aspects of our life.
It takes commitment to work through the messiness of relationship, but the rewards are great! It is worth the effort it takes to develop and engage in meaningful relationships. Why? God created us to need each other for a multitude of reasons. Some of them are:
The above are just a few of the many reasons why it is so important that we are connected with others in relationship – intimacy.
I have personally experienced rewards beyond what I could have imagined that has come out of relationship with my community. I am a part of a committed group of men and women where we choose to “do life together” no matter how messy it gets. This has come at a cost to each one of us, as we sacrifice time and effort to intentionally invest in each other’s lives. The outcome of this “sacrifice” (in reality, not a sacrifice at all, but a joy!) has been personal growth beyond what I could have imagined as I am encouraged, affirmed, strengthened, challenged to grow, and loved unconditionally. This community is a place where I am allowed to make mistakes, try new things, to give and to receive. But let me be clear, we are not perfect. We are messy. We fail, we sometimes miscommunicate, we are living examples of the scripture “iron sharpens iron”. However I am truly blessed beyond measure and know Him more deeply because of my community.
I have not always experienced community in such a positive way and the reality is that many of you are not experiencing it that way either. By sharing my experience of blessing in community, my prayer is that you will be motivated to pray and take positive action to facilitate this kind of real, authentic community in your own life and with those around you. You may be wondering how to do that – start with prayer, asking God for this kind of life-giving community. Continue to pray and ask for God’s wisdom and guidance but don’t wait for it to come to you or just to “happen”; be a part of creating healthy community. Then you may want to reread these insightful articles that we have presented on intimacy in community and ask the Lord how you can be a part of facilitating this kind of healthy intimacy in your community. Be patient, change does not happen overnight and relationships take time.
Some of you may have extra challenges that add even more difficulty in finding/developing this kind of community. These added circumstances may take even more time and effort. I encourage you to not give up and continue look and pray for options that might work for you no matter how much time it takes.
I challenge you to take action to be a part of the solution of creating an atmosphere that is conducive for authentic intimacy to grow in your community.
This is not an easy or quick assignment; however, don’t quit. The reward is worth it.
Can I pray for you?
“Dear Heavenly Father, I ask you to give this precious person the desire, the wisdom and the courage that is necessary to be a catalyst of healthy intimacy in their communities. I pray that you would help them see what they can positively affect rather than what they see as their limits. Give them Your perspectives, God. I pray that you would help them identify the obstacles that have held them back, and be able to move past these hindrances in order to grow in healthy relationships. Father, I also ask you to draw them close to Your own heart… as authentic intimacy begins and ends with You. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.”