Before summer, I noticed I had been slipping back into some old yucky habits. Nothing major, just some small things that a few years back I thought I had for the most part conquered – like holding onto grudges or feeling entitled. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why they were creeping back up. I was still reading my Bible, talked to God all the time and even enjoyed listening to my favorite preachers while I played Solitaire on my computer.
After a few frustrating months of trying to figure out why I absolutely could not conquer them again, I thought I’d finally ask God and then sit still long enough to hear what He had to say. His answer surprised me.
You’re doing life alone.
Excuse me? That didn’t make sense. I have several girlfriends who I talk to all the time. I am blessed to have amazing family that I spend time with every week. And to top it all off, a wonderful husband who spends time listening to my every frustration and victory (well, almost every one). But besides all of that, what in the world did doing life alone have to do with my issues creeping back up?
At first, I just didn’t get it. But after a bit of reflecting, I realized something. I really wasn’t doing life with anybody – at least not the way I had a few years back when I was meeting on a regular basis with a wonderful group of women. It was a weekly invitation to dump, listen, cry, laugh, confess and study God’s Word together. We drank coffee and sometimes got on each other’s nerves. It was wonderful.
I felt like God spoke to my heart ever so clearly that day, reminding me that we are always going to battle our flesh; that’s a given. But that’s exactly why we need to do life together. Because when we do, it’s not just me trying to maintain my spiritual sobriety – it’s you and all of your wisdom, prayers and encouragement helping me. And two are stronger than one. And three are stronger than two.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16, NIV
I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want to be healed – I want to stay healed. And that involves continual confession: confession that we need healing – whether physical or emotional; confession that we don’t have all the answers and that we need others’ input; confession of sin; confession that we’re struggling or hurting or happy – just honest declaration of truth. And that involves people.
It’s amazing how much freedom we can experience by simply sharing our lives with each other. No wonder God advises it.
But, like all worthwhile things, being in community comes with a price:
- We have to override our fears that if people really knew us they’d run for the hills.
- We have to be willing to look at our junk and be challenged.
- We have to get out of our comfort zones.
- We have to make time for it.
- Basically, we have to set aside our pride that encourages us to do life alone.
After I received that revelation from God, I immediately called two close friends that I used to be in group with. I told them I missed doing life together. They did too. We now meet Wednesday mornings again to dump, listen, cry, laugh, confess and share God’s Word together. It’s wonderful.
Also, our church just launched community groups. My husband and I joined one and we met for the first time last night. That was wonderful too. If you go to my church, join a group. If you don’t, join a group.
Do life with people who will challenge you, support you, love on you, pray for you, hold you accountable and get on your nerves. I promise – it’ll be wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.