The Joys of Community
Hello friends! I hope you’re having an excellent Tuesday afternoon! Sunday I had the privilege of seeing some friends that I have known for the last three or so years, and some who have known me most of my life. The picture above is a photo from a women’s retreat that I attended three years ago at one of the church plants Chris and I were involved with. I look at it every so often and to me it’s a perfect picture of what community should look like…for the most part. So today I would like to share a little bit of how community is not only good, it’s good for our health.
COMMUNITY IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
During these crazy times when we are told to socially distance ourselves and not participate in big groups of gatherings, I have found any interaction with a human being, that doesn’t involve a screen, to be a joyous occasion. That is why yesterday when Chris and I attending a church in Columbia, IL -about 20 minutes or so from our home – I was excited to not only see people IRL, but see people whom I haven’t seen in almost 25 years. I was in fact pleasantly surprise when I attended the church for a few reasons; first of all the teaching and worship were amazing. I would have to say I definitely felt the Spirit moving. Secondly, not only were there people from the church I grew up in there, I also saw a few people from the church plant Chris and I helped with a year or so ago. Needless to say I was ecstatic when I saw all my friends. I felt the whole way home like I was floating on a cloud. Especially since Chris got to meet a few of those I always talked about from A.L.F. – my childhood church home -. Today as I was checking emails, having my prayer time, and catching up on various articles and such for the day, I kept thinking about community and how it relates to us today. This article won’t be too long, I just wanted to share a few bullet points about how much community affects our mental, spiritual, and emotional health. And how we should approach it with everything going on in our world today.
- Community is good for our spiritual health: First of all, we see in Hebrews 10:25 that we should not forsake – or neglect – gathering together. “Some people have given up the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.” (CEV) This may look different in what is going on this year, but we should still find ways to meet together. This past Sunday I attended church with Chris in Columbia and it was so refreshing to be in at church in person where there were actually people there and not on a screen – and before you get all silly, no one was sick and spreading the “rona”.
- Community is good for our mental health: One article I read – which you can click here to read it in full – states that strong supportive relationships actually help us to stay healthy and fight off things like depression and anxiety, not to mention help us live a more productive life. Another article – which will be linked here – reminds us that we are social beings and community is meant to help us not only thrive but fulfill various roles such as a sense of belonging and where we can give of our talents and gifts.
- Community is good for our emotional health: Just like the previous links I shared, I read an article by Medical News Today on socialization, and one of things they discussed was how person-to-person interactions with others help our longevity and overall happiness. I want to share a quote from a book the article references, which you can find here. It said,
In other words, by forming close bonds within their community, they were stronger together. Just like the body of Christ, we need to be conscious of who we spend most of our time with. Jesus never walked the earth alone, he had 12 disciples, three of which he was most open and vulnerable with. Likewise, if we want to fulfill the purpose God gave us to share the gospel with the world, and use the gifts and talents He has given us, we need to have a core group of people we are doing life with.
Living in a “socially distant” society
This may look different in the season we are in, but as we seek God on how we are to accomplish this, He will show us what that looks like. And for the record, this virus looks like it will go on forever, but I promise you it won’t. We are coming out of this, and the question now becomes; will we be stronger or weaker? I believe finding ways to meet in person with others is a key to coming out of this better than you were before it occurred. This may look like meeting a friend for coffee or meeting up for lunch/dinner – if they don’t have outdoor seating grab your coffee/meal and find a place that does -, or take a walk/bike ride in your local neighborhood. Whatever you decide to do, ask the Lord to show you how you can use common sense and still interact with friends besides have a screen in front of you. One thing I will mention that nobody wants to talk about is how looking at a screen over an hour at a time tends to not only give you migraines but will be harmful to your eyes. Therefore, we should be careful how much time we are actually spending online at looking at our televisions and such. Just a little food for thought. I hope you enjoyed today’s article, and I look forward to reading your comments below!
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and give you peace!