This is a word that has been churning in my heart and mind over the last several months. It brings thoughts of togetherness, family, and life. It also brings thoughts of isolation, separation, and discord.
So many of us are part of social media communities, but are we really connected? We go to work each day, but how well do we really know our co-workers? We spend our days taking care of little ones, running errands, and fulfilling responsibilities. We all live somewhere…a small town, a rural area, the bustling city, a seaside villa, inner city, or suburb. But how much are we really living life together?
What are we doing to build community with our neighbors, co-workers, clients, friends, family, and strangers? How many of us crave a great group of people we can trust and battle through life together? Are we using social media as a tool to connect, encourage, and build up?
Community is about connection. Building bridges. Linking arms. Living life to its fullest.
So how do we go about creating and strengthening community in our own lives?
- Reach out. Sometimes we need to take the first step in meeting people, building relationships, and making friends. Desiring a community of friends doesn’t do us a whole lot of good when we’re not willing to step up and reach out in grace, kindness, and gratitude.
- Find common ground. Community is built around a common thread. There’s something that brings us together with a group of people. It might be the place we live, shared interests, core beliefs, our profession, season of life, or people we know. But what would happen if we reached out to somebody, who on the surface, appears to not have anything in common with us?
- Be willing to learn. Remaining teachable is something extremely important. There’s always something we can learn from every single person with whom we come in contact. There are opportunities to learn from our mentors, peers, and beyond every day. We just need to stop and take the time to listen.
- Encourage one another. Let’s build each other up and not tear one another down. We need to create a community of people who support, encourage, and work with each other.
- Celebrate. It’s so easy to fall into the pit of comparison. We see people next to us at work, in our circle of family and friends, on social media, and beyond. Sometimes we start comparing our lives to what we see of their lives. Comparison breeds bitterness, division, and discouragement. One way I believe in combating the pitfall of comparison is through celebration. And not a false celebration, but a genuine joyousness for what God is doing in and through them. Run in your own lane, but celebrate the victories of others as they run in their lane.