Community has been painted as a ‘kumbaya’ portrait where everyone gets together with smiling faces, bonds over a campfire story and then feels warm and fuzzy after a perfect night.
Well community doesn’t always look like that. Community has its “bonfire nights” but it also has its rough patches that many are not aware of.
At the surface level, a community may be holding hands and posing for fake laughing pictures. But in reality, if you want to pursue a deeper community, you must realize some truths about community, including the following:
People are imperfect. I know that’s a shocker. Someone is bound to get their feelings hurt in a community.
Humans mess up so many times a day that we honestly are not worthy of the simple pleasures in this life that we so abundantly enjoy. But most of us get to live another day – another day of pleasure, another day of hurt and another day mixed with both ups and downs.
Nevertheless, it is important to recognize if you have hurt another person and apologize.Genuinely listento why the other person felt offended or betrayed. Look within yourself and see if there is something inside of you that needs to change as a result. That personal change may not be necessary just to better serve others, but also to better yourself in general – everyone benefits.
Community suggests honesty and vulnerability.
If we truly desire to be in community, we must let people in.
There is nothing more toxic than to claim that you are in community with people, but then those very same people tell and keep secrets from each other. Those secrets and those cliques mean that there is a lack of trust and communication in the community. It means that something is seriously off with the community and it needs to be addressed ASAP. Otherwise, the tension in the room will build up and it could be years before any progress is made, any conflicts are resolved or any growth happens.
Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. What’s the point of having a community if everyone is fake and not committed? If no one is willing to share what is on their heart – to share what makes them happy and what breaks their heart?
Community implies inconvenience.
Being involved in a community sometimes means that you have to give of yourself even when it is inconvenient. You should expect the other members of your community to give of themselves as well so that it is a mutual reciprocal relationship.
Go the extra mile for your friends. It feels good to know that people care. And guess what? Sometimes others will not notice the sacrifice that you made for them and that is okay. It’s O-K-A-Y. If you truly acted out of kindness, then you should be fine that you did not get recognition. Not every act of kindness deserves a medal. (However, if the lack of appreciation becomes a continuous problem, then a sit-down honest discussion may be necessary).
Community requires a common vision.
This may be the most important key to community success. If this isn’t true, then none of the other 3 points matter.
Unity is not just something that is felt. It’s something that is seen.
For a community, a unified vision needs to be conceptualized and pictured together. A vision needs to be fleshed out and agreed upon together. The vision needs to be enforced from within and enjoyed from without. The vision should be what holds the community together. It should be a safety net to fall back on in the midst of stormy times.
Community is necessary for us as humans. We all need a group of people we can count on and live life with. However, keep these 4 truths in mind. Community is not something that can be idealized, it’s a real thing that can have real problems and requires real work. Be mindful of that and enjoy the people around you!
One way to build confidence in your abilities is to network. You can start off by reaching out to two people you want to have coffee with a week and before you know it, those people will suggest for you to meet their colleagues. Knowing the people in your workplace will make you more confident to share your ideas and make you stand out in your workplace.
Find out who your true friends are.
Discover a community that supports you, makes you better and intentionally reaches out to you.
Create a budget.
There are simple Excel templates online that will help you break down your rent, loans, electric bills, groceries and even your coffee intake.
Write down yourshort-term and long-term goals.
A five-year plan is simply not necessary. Instead make some specific goals that you want to reach by a reasonable deadline and some general goals for your future. Share these goals with people who will keep you accountable.
Start your day off by having some quiet timeto get your head straight.
Quiet time has so many different forms. If you need a few ideas for your quiet time, take a look at this post.
Take the time to call and reach out to your family.
Family is probably the most constant source of support that you’ll find. Although this #adulting stage of your life can be confusing and difficult, make sure that you do not neglect those closest to you.
In the midst of all the new to-do items that now concern you, take a step back and draw a circle around the few things that you can immediately control. That will be your “circle of action.” The “circle of action” gives you breathing room so you do not feel like everything is your responsibility.
Keep a notebook by your bed.
A bedside notebook would be helpful just in case you remember something from earlier or get an idea in the middle of the night. We don’t want the next million-dollar-idea to be lost into oblivion, now do we?
Always have a stash of thank you, congratulatory and birthday cards.
You just never know when they will come in handy.
Learn to enjoy your own company.
Even in public spaces. Not as many people are watching you when you reserve a table-for-one as you think.
Sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror andgive yourself a pep talk.
Because why not? You’re pretty darn awesome and deserve some encouragement.
I’m sure there are other great apps out there, but if you use Pinterest correctly, you will have an organized method of collecting cheap yet doable recipes, home decorations, and other life hacks in no time!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a lot of rhetoric lately that seems to regard The United States as a perfect entity, elevating her to a position that no one should be placed except for God. Nothing on this earth is perfect, but a lot of people seem to be defending the U.S. like it’s themostperfect union rather than the idea of a moreperfect union that she was founded on.
America screams of freedom and liberty. Her actions may not always match her words, but she’s laid the foundation for something that can be great. Others see that potential and come running to her. The land of opportunity, sacrifice and second chances. She is the lady standing tall with an eternal fire.
However, America is not without fault. She has blood on her hands. She has a history with supremacy and oppression. She treats her women differently than her men. She doesn’t apologize for much. She’s a fighter not a lover. She gets caught up in messy politics and arguments. She creates cycles and systems that make justice nearly impossible.
I pray that God blesses her to be all that she can be, but in the meantime, I won’t make her the god that she’s not. She’s beautifully imperfect and a work in progress so I’ll treat her accordingly.
“The difference betweenpatriotismandnationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility while the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to a war.”
That calls into question our allegiance. If you are a Christian with a nationalist mindset, your allegiance probably goes solely to your country and you find a way to morph your faith to explain the wrongs that your country has committed. But if you are a Christian with a patriot mindset, then you are most likely proud of your country, but your convictions will not allow you to stand by and ignore the wrongs of the country. In other words, for the nationalist, his country comes before his faith and for the patriot his faith will probably come before his country.
And the patriot has the right mindset because our faith is eternal and everything else is temporal, which means that our belief in God transcends borders.
Oftentimes, I feel that Christians living in America forget that Jesus did not die for just Americans. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved theWORLDthat He gave his only begotten son…” He created, died for and still loves the whole world and the diverse set of people in it. That’s why it’s so important to gain perspective and not deceive ourselves that America’s way is the right and only way. America’s way does not necessarily equal God’s way. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, then you believe that “Jesus isTHE WAY, the truth and the life“and if you put anything in the place of Jesus, then that’s considered to be an idol.
So be mindful and careful, especially in high-tension political seasons, to check your allegiance. If your allegiance to America is greater than your allegiance to God, then it’s very likely that you have made America a god in your life. Do not limit God to a country, a political party, or a politician, He’s so much more than that and it is high time we tear down the idols that prevent us from seeing Him for all that He is.