Community has been a big deal for me the last two years. I think sometimes in church we want people that dress a certain way, have certain jobs, have packaged lives that aren't too messy. How unrealistic! We live a lie and we live outside of God's beautiful plan for His bride, the church, when we look for packaged people. So here is my admission....
I am a pastor's kid who grew up at a huge mega church. Occasionally, I struggle with insecurity, anger, bitterness. I sometimes wrestle with why God allows things to happen, and I have wanted to run so far away from people in church that I allowed myself to become distant and defensive. Bottom line..... I AM AND HAVE BEEN A MESS. And I am so thankful that the Lord is in the business of building something beautiful from the messes that are our lives.
This music video asks a question that I would be willing to bet is asked by many if not all people at one point or another. I have asked it. Who will love me for me? Who will look pasts my hangups and hurts, my quirks and mistakes, my embarrassing moments and look to the heart of who I am? And then I remember...I remember that there is One who made me just the way I am. He knows every hair on my head (Matthew 10:30), how many times I have messed up, how often I try to please Him, how deeply I love, and how often I try to plan my own way. And He STILL LOVES ME. That is so freeing!
But just as He loved us, we are called to love others (1 John 4:11). That is what community is all about, not packaged people who have it all together, but messed up people who struggle and hurt and mess up, but who ultimately love Jesus and want to follow Him. Last summer, the first thing I was told by my resident adviser is that I must be willing to be vulnerable or I would miss out on what God had planned for me with those people at that time. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, but I walked away with some of the best and deepest friendships I have ever had. These people are my long distance community - the ones I text or call to pray for me, cry with me, celebrate with me, encourage, and just love me despite my frequent stupidity, and they do the same with me. It is real, honest, and a God-thing. So, who will love you for you? Will you be willing to give of yourself, let people learn from your mistakes and encourage you? Will you drop your pride and admit you are not perfect? Will you join a community that is authentic and commit to not only letting others love you for who you are, but love others for who they are? Oh, how we could rock our world, our nation for Jesus if we learned to truly love like this!
"The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen me. He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners,to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor, the day when our God will seek vengeance, to console all who mourn,to strengthen those who mourn in Zion, by giving them a turban, instead of ashes, oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning, a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement. They will be called oaks of righteousness, trees planted by the Lord to reveal his splendor." Isaiah 61:1-3
This is our calling! Let's be a Body who LOVES NO MATTER WHAT!