23 January 2016

community and value

If I was 'theme' kind of a person, I'd have to call 2015 "The Year of Community."  Having found myself almost completely isolated for a year and a half to two years prior, in January of 2015, my church began a sermon series on biblical community.  I was glad to see the series end, honestly, because even if I wanted to (and I didn't), I didn't know how to enter back into community, or where to put myself there. But I soon found out that even though the series ended, the siren call to community was just beginning.  Everywhere I looked:  books I picked up, articles I read, conversations I found myself in, Facebook posts, sermons...COMMUNITY was the word.

It has been, and continues to be a long process, this re-entry into community.  During my months of solitude, I came face to face with just how little I understand or believe in my worth as a person. People who have known me for a long time:  my husband, a few close friends, these I view as having known me in the "before", when I perceived myself as valuable because of the things I did, and so in my mind, they stick around out of loyalty or habit.  But this road has built a new fragility in me, and I am quite often unable to "do"...so where is my value now?  And so, I find myself terribly afraid when I think about pursuing relationships in this stage of my journey, with brokenness and little else to offer, and yet I am sure I am called by God to community.  Even if you don't believe you were created by God, designed for relationship with him and people, it's hard to deny the evidence that human beings are social creatures.  

So because I love God and want to follow him, I make tentative forays into the scary realm of biblical community.  I am seeking to understand what biblical community even looks like - the same for everyone?  unique to individuals?  all-inclusive?  large?  small?  responsibility?  fit?  requirements?  And it's awfully hard.  

It's one more process.  And in the pursuit, I find myself immersed in another process:  seeking to understand my TRUE value.  I realize that I have no living idea why people would choose relationship with me; I don't expect it, I am surprised every time I hear of someone wanting it.  I am devastated to find that I have hurt others, because in my inability to believe I would be worth relationship, I have held myself aloof and been unapproachable, leaving people wondering why I wouldn't want to be their friend.

Here is Truth, friends.  We are not valuable because of what we offer to the people in our lives, or because of what we do.  We are valuable because we are created and loved by God.  I speak this truth to myself as much as to anyone reading, because so far, I'm not very good at believing it!  If I could truly rest in the assurance that I have worth because God says I do, I suspect that everything would change.  I suspect that my doing and giving would be freer, more open, and filled with joy, less tainted by selfishness and insecurity.  And what is really exciting is that, having seen God's faithfulness in bringing me out of such a long, dark valley in the past, I know he is leading me to a new place of being able to believe in my worth because I am his daughter.  So while I struggle to believe I am valuable right now, I have faith that someday, I will know it.  And my prayer is the same for you.

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