Community has various meanings and levels. It can be the physical neighborhood around you and all of the people within that vicinity. You can have a work and/or church community of people you know and see regularly. And if you fight for it, pray for it, and invest in it, you can have a close knit community of friends and people you can turn to for the greatest of times and the hardest of them.
We were created for community.
We are meant to enjoy life with other people.
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
- - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Last week, Beth Ann (E for ellizahbeth) and myself (B for Becky) teamed up with one of our favorites Nikki (N) from NikkiKauzlarichPhotography and are sharing our hearts today on why we value community. Let's talk:
Q: The definition of "Community" is: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. What does the word "Community" mean to you?
E: It means people who get you, who love you, and who want to do life with you.
N: People I can be close with, share with, depend on, have fun with, and we support each other.
B: The special people around you who have chosen to love you past your flaws and those you have chosen to let in.
Q: Why do you value these friendships and why are they SO important to have?
E: Friendships give life more value. We weren't created for a life of solitude. It's important to have people who know you - flaws and all - and they still choose you.
Q: Some may find it difficult to meet new people and then build on those friendships. What advice would you give them?
B: It can be hard, and I feel like it's harder the older you get because people get in routines and have their circle of friends. But don't ever let that stop you! Pray pray pray that God would direct you to the right friendships. He desires so much for you to be in community, so He will bring people to you and open your eyes to see them around you.
N: ...Pay attention when you meet someone and it clicks, when you walk away and your realize conversation was easy and you feel refreshed. When that happens, you reach out! You can start by reaching out through social media, text message, or in person by asking them to coffee or dinner. But just try. Never be afraid to try!
Q: How do you keep and invest in your friendships?
N: Life is busy, which I think is one of the hardest things about investing in friendships. I know a week has been too busy when I get to Friday and realized I havent spoken to anyone except my family the whole week. And thats ok, close friends understand. I usually try very hard to keep in contact with my girls through text or email. Most of the girls in my community are just as busy as I am, and we all try to stay connected. And when we can we hang out, though not nearly as often as we would like, we make the most of it. Most of all, we keep eachother in prayer. Nothing keeps us more connected than uplifting eachother in prayer.
Q: Why is it important to go deep - past surface level - in trusted friendships?
E: Surface level friendships are fun but they never go past a certain point. Deep friendships get to your heart and help you tear down walls. It's important to have friendships like this because they inspire you and challenge you to get closer to God's heart. They change you for the better.
Q: Going along with that, it can be hard to trust someone after being hurt by previous relationships. How have you learned to let your guard down and let people in?
B: This is everything. Don't close yourself off because someone disappointed you or broke your trust. We are all humans and make mistakes daily. And at the root of that hurt is the devil trying to make a person your enemy when it its really him being the ultimate enemy and frustration. Prayer allows God in and helps Him to heal the parts of our heart that have been hurt.
E: I think you just have to do it. Don't let the enemy dictate your friendships. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right ones.
N: Its not an easy thing to do. But again, I say prayer. Asking God to help us forgive past hurts and be able to move forward. Pray that he would send people into our lives that would grow us and walk with us through life.
Q: What advice would you give to the person who wants to make stronger and better friendships in their life?
E: Invest in people. Spend time with the people that make you feel alive. Pray for each other. make time for each other.
Q: What is your favorite thing about YOUR community?
N: My favorite thing about my community is that I am surrounded by people who believe in what I do and who are genuine. We tell eachother like it is, we encourage each other and we push each other to be and do better. We keep each other accountable, we pray for each other and we believe in each other. It helps when we are all a little sassy too. Lol.
B: I always think it's nuts that people love me for who I am with my flaws, my sass, my resting face, and my quirks. The friends who are closest to me always know how to push through walls that I can put up. They are hilarious and so fun, they're up for adventures and also a good cry when we need one. They are there when I need them and there to just hang out and do nothing. We cry together, pray together, laugh-cry together, and come out of trials stronger together.
E: The way they love me. The inside jokes. The beautiful memories. The adventures. The tears and struggles, and the triumphs.
If you are searching for community, for friendships like this let us know so we can pray for you. We believe that God has a life giving community of friends just for you!
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another...
‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
– C.S. Lewis