Did you know that you were created to be in community?
That deep desire you have to share life with others is not just a feeling. It is a hardwiring that God has placed in you.
God knew that life would simply be too hard to do on your own.
In order to survive the mountains and valleys of life, you need the fellowship, love, care, support, and encouragement of others to weather the storms. And you need the accountability of others as you work to grow your faith.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 says it best:
“Two are better than
one,because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
When you spend time sharing joys, tears, sorrows, and celebrations with others, a community is born. It is this community that God wired you for.
And yet, so few people actually have a community like this.
In our 21st century living, busyness stands on a throne.
We idolize how busy we are and wear it with a badge of honor.
And yet, in spite of this busyness, our deep desire for meaningful connection still stands.
But, because our schedules are maxed out, we cannot seek out this connection through face-to-face interaction.
Rather, we turn to our social media feeds.
While these feeds tout themselves as being “social,” they are anything but.
In fact, new research is showing that these so-called communities actually might be doing more harm, than good.
Community In the Wrong Place
A study was conducted on over 1,500 adults 19-32 years of age. The adults were asked to record the amount of time spent on social media along with their self-reported wellbeing scores.
Results revealed that those who spent more than two hours on social media were twice as likely to feel socially isolated and lonely compared to those who spent 30 minutes or less on social media.
In yet another article, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, a former Surgeon General, said: “Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”
We all know the serious and dangerous health consequences of smoking cigarettes and being obese.
To suggest that spending a significant amount of time on social media feeds is more harmful than smoking or being obese is mind-blowing!
There is no wonder there is such a mental health epidemic occurring in our country, especially among our young adults.
While social media can be fun and serve to escape from the stressors of everyday life, I think it is safe to say it is not the answer to finding community.
So, what is the answer? Where can you find a community that you feel connected to?
Finding Community in the Right Places
In the beginning, finding community is less about who’s in your community and more about you being intentional to seek out this community.
I don’t know about you, but when life is busy, I often desire my needs and wishes to just be met; to just magically happen!
Unfortunately, life doesn’t happen this way.
Rather than waiting for a friend to find you, take the first step and invite a friend to lunch or coffee.
Be intentional about putting yourself out there and asking for the “dance.”
You probably have heard the saying, “You have to be a good friend, to have a good friend.”
The same could be said for finding a community; “You have to seek out a friend in order to find a friend.”
What friend do you want to reach out to and connect with? More than likely someone quickly pops in your brain.
What if today was the day you finally reached out?
And what if, when you do connect, you work really hard to find a time in your calendars to meet face-to-face?
And if that is not possible, use the good old fashion telephone with its new amazing technology and FaceTime each other so that you can physically be present together – sharing the same space.
Friends, God wired you to have a deep desire for finding community; to share with others life’s trials and celebrations, and to do so by sharing a physical space where emotions can be seen, felt, and heard.
It is my prayer that you find a community that you can be real with and as you do, they can fill you.
Praying you through,
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