Something about community.

This is me being transparent. You’ll read and discover what community is to me. Enjoy this short post!

I was going to write this extremely long post about what community looks like in my life (your average college student). I was going to write about the situations, events, and relationships that I partake in that show how the love of Christ is working and how this thing called “community” is important. Maybe I’ll write that post someday. Community is always evolving; same principle but a different form. Hopefully in a year from now I will reflect on the community I experienced while in college. For now this is a summary of that post:

I see community in my wholesome close friendships that’ll last 20 years or more ( those also showing signs of discipleship). Those are were I am most vulnerable and available. However, some of that carries over into my life group and a cloud of friends. Then I experience it in the larger body of active agents of redemption that is The Well UA and the college ministry at Calvary Tuscaloosa. The chain ends with Calvary Tuscaloosa. Though “end” might not be the right word; for this community is always reaching out and serving. (I really want to expand on this… and I will… I hope)

However, I couldn’t grasp what I really wanted to write about until a few weeks ago. I found myself wanting to share what I was getting out of community not just the sources of it in my life. I have discovered that I am currently finding healing through Christ’s love in the context of community. Community gives me a way to relate to others. In this community, we aren’t calling our brokenness failure, we’re celebrating God’s grace and His power being made perfect in our weaknesses.

(Note: this is coming from an introvert!)

I now actively seek out community. I want to be with my brothers and sisters. Though in large gatherings I’ll still be silent and that’s something I’m trying to understand and work with. However, I’ve learned when and where is the proper place to unleash my feelings, thoughts, and sources of weakness and I find that when I do this: I’m not alone. I wasn’t ever alone. I don’t exactly know why I thought that. I thank God for that. Being able to relate to the brokenness in others makes this introvert able to develop awesome friendships and make the process of healing easier. Brokenness comes in many ways – but I’ve decided to lean into it with community. With that, I’ve found healing.

Instead of breaking down the sources of community in my life and what I gain from each and every part; I want you to know that right now Christ’s love for me is being made evident in the context of community and that it is where I am currently finding healing. I wish I could elaborate on how it’s actually happening but I can’t. I don’t understand it. That’s OK, right? Just know that God has provided this way for me to find healing and because of that I’m finding out that I really love community and spending time with my brothers and sisters. For an introvert, I think I’m making progress.

UPDATE:

I realized I may have worded a part of this a little funny. I don’t seek out community for the healing of my personal wounds but I find this healing amongst others. Community doesn’t allow me to focus primarily on me. I’m no longer an individual in community so I longer view myself as one.As the writers of Compassion put it, “…we’re no longer a mass of helpless individuals but transformed into one people of God”. Therefore, my focus is on the entire Body and witnessing God’s love through it.

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Time-lapse fasting.

(note: Last week we were given the challenge to participate in a corporate fast. This fast would last 24 hours and we were asked to give up food and social media. I did this last year and it was amazing. It made us rely more on God’s strength and peace. It also brought the church together and we all experienced community a whole different way: breaking bread after a fast.)

To keep away from social media for the 24hrs I’ve decided to just write. This is just to give you a glimpse of what an average college student does during this 24hr social media and food fast.

8:55pm

I officially stopped all social media surfing and eating. Here comes the water chugging (not).

9:05pm

Not long since last entry. I drank a huge cup of water. Craig is here and is working on slides. Community makes fasting easier. I think 12am will be my next major update. Unless I find something interesting before then.

12:00am

It has only been 3 hours so it hasn’t been too tough. Thankfully I will be able to sleep for 8 more hours. My mission for tomorrow is to stay away from the Ferguson center. Mainly just food in general. I’m off to bed now. I know I will be waking up pretty hungry tomorrow morning. I’ll be fine. I hope.

9:35am

I don’t feel that bad. Normally I don’t eat breakfast anyways so I know this feeling. When 11:00 comes around though… It’ll be rough. Digging into the Word now! I have class at 11 and then probably the Episcopal Church’s Ash Wednesday service.

12:35pm

The professor that Craig and I have made us late for the Ash Wednesday service so we didn’t go in but instead headed back to Calvary’s chapel. About to commence my 1 hour alone time with God. While I miss social media, He misses me. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.

3:00pm

Six hours left. I’ve been praying for strength. The talk of food makes my stomach growl. However, I just spent 1 hour with my heavenly Father and then 2 hours with my mentors and great friends. Tonight should be amazing. I hope I don’t get a headache.

5:00pm-

Right now I’m watching tv. Trying to pass some time. I have a headache but I’ll pull through. I’ve been praying for the students who are fasting with me and the college ministry staff. May God provide them with strength. Chris and the rest of the staff will each be doing something tonight at The Well. It’ll be different for those that haven’t been exposed to this type of service. It’s shower time!

7:00pm-

I’m about to head to The Well. I’m not that hungry anymore.

9:05pm-

The 24hr fast is officially over. I’ve let every social networking site know. I’m not hungry at all. The night of prayer gave me a peace I’ve never felt before. I hope this continues into tomorrow and the next day and the next.

10:00pm

I picked up Hungry Howie’s pizza with some really great friends and sat down to break the fast with them. It’s been a wonderful 24 hours.

This concludes the journal entries for this day of fasting. Things I’ve learned: praying constantly produced a state of pure Joy I’ve never experienced, I want less food and more God, the Church is beautiful, and I’m blessed with an awesome college ministry team. I’m so thankful.