Have you ever felt lonely even when you’re surrounded by people? Have you ever moved to a new city and been homesick?
These feelings are often the result of not being in true community.
After writing this week’s post on vulnerability, I began thinking about when I first recognized the importance of community.
|John and I in the Windy City|
What I quickly realized is that unless I got involved, my only community would be from 9-5 at work. So I ventured a block away to Moody Church to check out their college group. Everyone here was extremely welcoming, but one girl in particular – Amanda is her name – completely changed my Chicago experience. Because even though Amanda already had a group of friends and was married, she welcomed me into her life and her home.
Here’s what I learned about community and loving your neighbor from Amanda:
- I was embraced as if I were a lifelong friend, even though I’d only known Amanda a couple of weeks.
- Hospitality is critical for community. By Amanda opening up her home to me, we had the opportunity to talk, laugh, and share experiences.
- Both of us took a risk to be friends. What I mean by this is that we connected on a deep level even though I’d be leaving after the semester was over. Many people don’t want to “put themselves out there” because relationships are often transient. But you miss out on so much growth and community if you only play it safe. I’m not suggesting to spill your life to anyone and everyone. You definitely need to be wise about who you trust, but you also have to trust that the community that vulnerability brings is well worth it.