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” 🙂