Ode to Community

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Hey there friends! It’s been a while! I hope that you have had a great last couple of weeks, and been able to find some rest in whatever season of life you might be in right now. 🙂 As summer is coming to a close I am starting to gear up for the school year and do my whole “reflecting” thing again. After shutting my brain off for 2 months the wheels are slowly but surely turning. As I look back on the last school year, and then the past couple of months I have learned a thing or two. First of all, this summer was a complete whirlwind for me with a lot of changes. Some were awesome and some were hard, but each good in their own way. But in the midst of all the craziness, the biggest take away for me has been the importance of community! And I’m not really speaking to like the greater community, like neighbors you share fences with but don’t really know (although its super great to get to know your neighbors!), or getting involved in city council or anything like that. Nope. Not that kind. I am talking about your tribe. Your people. The ones whom you love, fill your soul by their presence and are there for you through thick and thin. Thoooooseee people.

I really have spent the last couple of days marveling over my community. And then I have been thinking about others and their tribe of friends and family that surround them. There is something incredibly beautiful about the way that people care for their people. How they put others needs before their own.  How people make sacrifices for others around them. How people love people well in the midst of a crazy world filled with, well craziness. It’s pretty amazing don’t you think?

I love my people. They mean the world to me. Family and friends; they have all helped form me into the person that I am today and I am so grateful for them. My family and friends have really been such awesome support systems for me these last few months. I recently got a sweet little puppy whom I absolutely adore, and my family has helped already me out with watching her more times than I can count! And my friends have helped me move, been listening ears during stressful times, and have spoken so much truth over me the past couple of months. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for placing them in my life!

When I look back on these interactions, I think about what makes these relationships tick. Why do they work? What makes them function? I think what it really boils down to for me is communication, Christ-like love, and priorities. I have been reflecting on the importance of communication with my tribes of people. I am realizing that being vulnerable about the things I need helps my tribe to love me well. And asking about what my people need, helps me to serve them well. I make them a priority because I care about them and value them, and they feel the same for me. But in addition to this, I also try my best to love them well because we are called to love the way Christ loves. Jesus always loved everyone with such greatness. Flaws and all. He accepted them for who they were, no strings attached, love guaranteed. I strive to love my community this way every day, and it’s definitely how they love me whether they know it or not. Both with my family and friends we are there to build each other up, support one another, show each other truth when it’s hard to find, and lead each other to scripture when life just gets hard. This is living in community. I think this is the way that the Lord designed us.

This is totally different than how society tells us to live, by the way. Everything around us screams that we have to do this life on our own. Live for yourself, make yourself happy, do what you can to get to the top. It tells us that we have to be tough, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and just do it. (Who knew that you could fit an old western quote and a Nike slogan in the same sentence?) The point this, I think there is a reason that when we try to live life this way, it just makes us unhappy; left feeling isolated. It’s not who we are, and not how we are meant to live.

What I know to be true is that my joy and happiness can’t be rooted in people. My happiness is rooted in my God and his love for me. But I have realized by surrounding myself with people who want to encourage, love and support me as much as I want to for them, it makes this life easier and way more fun. I know that I have people that will say “me too”, “You can do this” and “You are not alone” and give me that extra nudge whenever I need it.

This is community. This is one of the joys in life. Having people who are going to lift you up, share in your passions and successes, and excitements and be there for you when things are hard. To help guide you to a new path when the one you are on reaches a dead end. Let’s strive for that type of life. A life where we’re better together. So find your tribe, and love them hard.

Yours,

Nicole

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