An Unexpected Gift

Community.

So costly; yet it is so rewarding that once you’ve really experienced and understood what it can be like, you wouldn’t want to live without it ever again.

Last year, I was looking for a new place to live, and one of the preferences I had was to have my own room. Having my own room, I could easily isolate myself instead of having to be with and deal with people once I came home from work. I could close the door and be alone – for hours if I wanted to.

As an introvert, I love people, but also crave a lot of alone time. Being with people all the time has often left me feeling somewhat drained. Therefore, I concluded, having my own room would be ideal. For me at least, life seems so much easier without people right in my face.

Thankfully, God had a better plan for me. I was to share a room with someone else.
Then, surprise (!), two became three..

The way things turned out, I couldn’t run away from community and into My Room. I couldn’t just do community when I felt like it, for instance every Tuesday night with my Home Group, or in school, or when I had a really good or really bad day and chose to involve someone else in it. There was no comfort zone to hide within.

Instead, I had to change my plan of delightful solitude and I went head first with God’s plan instead.
I’ve had lots of breakthroughs with people and relationships in general the last few years, but this past year was the best one yet. God had more to teach me about community, but for me to be able to receive all that He had for me, I had to be there!

God wanted me to be a part of a community, not just show up when I was up for it, felt really good about it, or was desperate for it. He wanted me to know and be a part of community which was there, in my face, whether I wanted it there or not.

I learned to embrace community and not fear it and – I even started hanging out in the living room for no particular reason! (This was a shock for me)
I learned that community feels good. It is not just some grand idea or something I have to do, but it is something that exists and works and it is a gift from God.

Sure, community is more than sharing a bedroom with someone. I’ve had strong community with people I shared house with, or who I’d occasionally meet with in homes, in a coffee shop or on some trip!

Still, this past experience was like turning up the pressure – a lot more!
I thank God that He turned events in such a surprising way for me and had me learn to live with people even more.

And then, as I had just officially gotten hooked on living with people and doing deep community (it took me a while to get hooked), it was time to move on (literally).

I am now in a season where I live alone – I have lots of space. And no, I don’t hate it at all – I actually love it for what it is! But I have not forgotten and will not forget how much community shaped me in my past season and how it still does. I enjoy this season for what it is but also welcome a season of more “crowdedness” 🙂

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One Thing Needed

The past few months have been good but very busy. It has felt as if everywhere I would turn, there’d be a need waiting to get met. By me.

Some of these needs I have taken ownership of; others I have had to let go of. As much as I’d like to fix everything, I’ve had to learn that not everything is my responsibility. I’m not supposed to have to deal with every need there is.

I’ve learned more and more over the past few years to sift through the multitude of demands thrown at me in the course of a year, and single out those things which are absolutely necessary that I deal with, from all the other things that are more or less important.

Notice that I said “I” here. What I need to do is not necessarily what you need to do.

Today I noticed a slight feeling of unrest in me, a sure sign that something’s off. I traced it back to feeling a burden upon me that I shouldn’t be carrying.

Sometimes other people or I myself put a demand on me saying that I need to do this and that. I’m not saying these things are all bad (on the contrary, they can be very good), but if it all becomes a heavy burden something’s wrong.

Then I was reminded of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42:

38 Now it happened as they went that He (Jesus) entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. (V. 39)
They were all gathered in a home. It must have been a more intimate setting than out in public. Even as Jesus taught I can imagine there also being the talking and interactions of friends gathered.

In verse 40 we read that Martha is distracted with much serving.. Martha isn’t doing something silly or unnecessary. In fact, without Martha’s, a lot more needs in the world would go unmet. Martha is even serving Jesus, the Savior of the world! Go Martha!
But Jesus knows she is troubled and worried about many things (v. 41).
However, He says that there’s one thing that is needed, and which Mary has chosen (v. 42).

One thing is truly needed, for me, for you, for everybody. It is what Mary chose: to sit at His feet and hear His words.
She chose intimacy with Him above all else.
Jesus also promised that this good part would not be taken away from her (v. 42).

So, as I choose intimacy with Him He has promised me that this will not be taken away from me!

I’m not saying there aren’t other needs around me, but there is this one need that has to come before all else.

I believe that only as I’ve attended to this one need can I be serving the world around me in full capacity without getting distracted, troubled and worried.

It will allow me to look at needs or demands of those around me without feeling overwhelmed, stressed or hopeless.

I love You Jesus
And I choose You today