Is It Worth It?

Is It Worth It?

As my trip to Allume quickly approaches, it is the perfect time to hit on the topic of community.

I sit, poised to type, willing myself to impart inspiring words to you.

I am nearly jumping out of my skin with excitement at the thought of meeting, in real life, the women whose hearts I have grown to love over the last year. Perhaps, I will even meet some women whom I hold in high regard for writing words of life that changed me forever.

And yet, community and me, we’ve had a rocky relationship.

I was that awkward, shy, wallflower schoolgirl.

The one all the teachers expected to perform.

The one seemingly all adults expected to perform.

I was the young bride striving to conform to the legalistic prayer groups that invited me in.

The one who wondered why the faith friendships went nowhere.

The one lonely in a crowd.

I was the woman desperately rationalizing the OK-ness of not knowing my neighbors.

The one afraid to be herself.

The one one craving friendship.

For seasons in between, the Lord provided the buds of relationships. He blessed me with a faith family.

I gave my heart freely to them in trust and relationship.

In His providence, the Lord grew a few deep and beautiful friendships.

In His grace, the Lord carried me through the disintegration of one of those friendships.

It hurt. Deeply. To lay bare my heart and soul, to take a person at face value, to invest, and have it trampled…

It hurt.

Sometimes, community hurts, and that’s where I write from today.

Some call it a scar. It’s a wound the Lord tended, healed. But, the scar remains. Though it changes, lightens over time, it is there.

A grief over the loss. Over the betrayal. Over the control not being mine to fix it.

So, you have my confession: sometimes community hurts, and today I feel it.

Yet, I know:

We are meant for community.

Our Lord Himself is a communion of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–a wild love affair. We are made in His image, so we, too, are relational. He longs for communion with us, and He intends unity in us as His body.

And so, I cherish those “in real life” embodiments of love He has given me, resting there instead of too long on the ones gone bad.

I also cherish those hearts online, some soon to cross over to “in real life”.

And I urge: give grace. Give kindness. Love like He does. Even when it hurts.

* * *

Community is a heart tool. I’m veering from the format of the Hearts Undaunted Series to bring you a short series of posts related to community. On Saturday, you can expect a guest post I wrote for a special site, a story of transformation and redemption. I anticipate oodles of goodness from my Allume experience. Community galore. Will you come along on this journey of community?

Speaking of…I’d love to know your heart, too. Have you been hurt by community? Blessed by it? Tell me you story. Let’s chat!

* * *

 Shalom!

Comments

  1. Mandy, I struggle with community, too, and always have. I am an introvert and I have to retreat after being around people. Sometimes the risk doesn’t seem worth it even though I know it is. I have a few really close friends that I love, but not tons and tons of friends. This is such a real and truthful post! Thank you!!
    Brenda @TripleBraided recently posted..How to Choose Between Two Political CandidatesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Brenda. I think a few really close friends is a really good thing! There are stages in life where more than that is not realistic or even possible. I am best one on one or one on a few. That fills me up. Maybe we are alike in that healing from community is a slow road. I’m still learning so much about it.

  2. Community is very hard for me. I will try some, and then sit back some. It’s like a see-saw I guess. I think everyone knows hurts. I’m trying to learn that the hurts came from particular groups/people and not everyone. It’s just scary because I don’t want it to happen again. :)
    Stacey recently posted..Take the time.My Profile

    • So true. Everyone knows hurt, and it’s scary to think of being hurt again. Nikki wrote a post awhile back about sharing as a blogger vs. guarding your heart. I think there is a difference. As bloggers, we share a lot of things that are close to our hearts, but the deepest, most vulnerable parts of us? The ones we expect other people to take good care of, protect, and respond to? Those are my few, deep soul friendships. I am not quick to give that away and have learned that some people are broken enough to not be able to function in that. Prayers for peace and healing and just the right community for you!

  3. Aw, Mandi! I know this hurt. Amazing how we can be surrounded by amazing friendships and still feel that deep hurt when we remember a broken relationship. And while time does heal, it is still always there.
    But I wonder if God has allowed those disappointments so that we can truly love the women that God brings across our path? I know that it has served to make me so thankful for the faithful friendships in the midst of the wreckage!
    Have I mentioned that I am so excited to meet you?!!! :)
    Becky Daye recently posted..A Beauty WalkMy Profile

    • Oh, so, so true! I have learned love and compassion in ways I never would have had I not experienced hurt. And then there is the deep appreciation of those faithful friendships:) Thank you for your kind words! Soooo excited to meet you too:)

  4. I think these words you wrote are so true because they are reality for each one of us. It’s really about risk, and each time we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with others we are open to hurt. I know I’ve been wounded in plenty of relationships. But the wonder of it is that each time I’ve come to the realization that my relationship with God is what is “real,” and the greater I risk with Him the easier it is to be in relationship with others ~ especially when we fail each other. Rambling, but I so love your heart, your wisdom, and the risk you are putting out there. One more way of letting us know we are not alone. Love you!
    Tobi recently posted..Changing My ClothesMy Profile

    • What a good point, Tobi. The deeper I hide in the Lord, the more my perspective shifts. He gives me grace enough to see things a tiny bit more the way He does. Thank you for your encouragement:) Love you, girl!

  5. Love like He does. Even when it hurts….YES!
    I get all defensive when I read you’ve been hurt in community…who could hurt my Mandy?!? ::SIGH:: we are selfish people…and community requires you leave your self at the door.

    Love your heart, girl.
    Nikki recently posted..The Tale of the Tree {Learning to Lean}My Profile

    • Nikki, I read your comment at a particularly low moment today. Thank you, sweet friend, for bringing happy tears to my eyes:) Thanks for feeling defensive for me–I feel so loved. Yes, I have learned that hurt people hurt people…and when I am clear-headed enough to embrace that, it helps.

      Grateful I have my Nikki in my corner;) Love your heart, too!

  6. This really spoke to me, Mandy. In fact, I could have written it. I was the wallflower schoolgirl and always felt like the “one lonely in the crowd, afraid to be herself.” I went through much pain before finally finding some friends that I feel accept me unconditionally. I’m so blessed that our good Lord helped me find you.

    • Thank you for sharing this with me, Julie. Your friendship has always been one of love, support, and encouragement, and for that, for YOU, I am so, so grateful. I love you!

  7. I am broken, I am fearful, I am alone…..that is how I lived most of the first half of my life..then I took a risk..I told my secrets..I shared my fears…I was burned badly by community by being told my secrets and fears would bring me to the gates of Hell if I continued. I escaped into a deep dark of depression. God brought me out of it..He presented me with loving, faithful, safe people to open up to, to talk to, to depend upon. I am not afraid of community..I just tread slower than others…but once I am here..I am loyal to the end! Thank You Mandy I love you so much for this post and for others!

  8. Jenn, I marvel at how God recrossed our paths at the time He did, our stories parallel in incredible ways. Thank you for risking being open and vulnerable again. Your friendship means so much to me. Love you!

  9. I’m so glad you posted your story–it makes me feel less alone with my own ‘disintegrating’ experiences. Your testimony is beautiful. See you soon!

    • Hi, Trina! Thanks for stopping by:) I would love to forego the pain of those experiences, and take away the pain others’ experience. Since I can’t, I am glad I can lessen the loneliness. Thanks for your kind words. See you soon!

  10. I read this and I sigh…although these days the sigh is not full of the weariness of “yep, i know what you mean by community hurts” but more of a sigh full of relief that says “man, I’m glad to be on the other side of that!”
    Funny, I also am writing about community and I just this morning saw this post of yours!!! i LOVE it when God gives confirmations like this. The confirmation that others have been through similar struggles AND have come out stronger. it is important to share both the trial and the victory!
    Scars…they are a reminder of the Balm of Gilead that healed the wounds.
    I was the shy one until i was 16…then Jesus came in and rocked my world and I have not been shy since. Reserved? Withdrawn by choice? fearful? Hesitant? Yep to all of that! But no one I know would call me shy…I hope I don;t scare you away at Allume….which is in ONE WEEK in case you did not know!!!!
    I am looking forward to reading your thoughts and meeting you IRL!!!
    Donna recently posted..Wilderness, Community, and Gideon’s FleeceMy Profile

    • I LOVE those confirmations! I’m so glad you told me. I’m going to hop over and check yours out. You won’t scare me:) I can’t wait to meet you! And now that I have taken my sweet time in responding, it is only 6 days away!!!

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge