3 Things I've Learned About Community While In Isolation

I’ve always welcomed isolation. At times, you could even say that I’ve longed for it. Isolation, to me, means renewal. It gives me strength, energy and is good for my mental health. I love giving, serving and coming alongside people but it needs to be balanced with time alone. But isolation can have a negative side if I am not careful. It’s my weakness, the place the enemy knows to attack. I’ll isolate from the hurt, pain or sorrow that have come into my life. I withdraw from my community when things get too hard or hurtful. I will just curl up within myself where it feels safe.

I do not always mean to stay in isolation for long periods of time, but too often I just get comfortable. I begin to believe the lie that I can get by on my own, just Jesus and me. But this kind of isolation is counter intuitive. It drains my energy. It does not cause growth but death. Death to my soul. Death to my relationships. It will push people away making me even more isolated sending me on a path toward discouragement, even depression.

During this time of forced isolation I have come to realize that I have grown far too comfortable in my self isolation of the past few years. As I said before, isolation can be a needed renewal of energy but it should be for short periods of time not a lifestyle.

God has used this time of quarantine to shown me why I need to be in community. I am sure there are more but theses are the, not so new, lessons I’ve seen.

Living in community our lies are exposed. We are more vulnerable to believe the lies of the world, our flesh and our enemy when isolated. It’s important to have a community around us that will challenge our beliefs, and speak truth to us when we are believing lies. As others live and speak the truth around us the lies we believe are easier to see. (Ephesians 4:14-16;25)

Community helps me to grow. I can and should have times in God’s word alone. I need to be able to study God’s word for myself, to be able to grow alone. But I also need God’s people to help me process, and challenge me to go deeper in my understanding of God’s word and who God is. (1 Cor 12:24-26; 1 Thess 5:11)

Community is a safe place to be our authentic self. I really struggle with this one but it doesn’t make it any less true. Let’s just be honest here, community isn’t always safe. In fact, community has been a place of great hurt. What God has shown me though is that even in the hurt and pain it can still be safe in Him. It’s here that my brothers and sisters will love, support, pray, encourage, and point me toward Jesus.

They will not always do it perfectly, and neither will I. They will, however, accept me with love and desire God’s best for me. Within the larger Church we can find smaller communities of people that are safe. A group of close friends, a life group, a Bible study can all be really safe communities. They are more intimate and allow you a place to grow deeper, and become more solid in your walk with Jesus. They will hold you accountable to the truth of God’s word. (Hebrews 10:23-25; Gal 6:2; 1 Pe 4:8;)

My challenge (to all of us) is that when this “forced” isolation is over we will pour ourselves out and really love our community. To reach out with abandon asking “how can I best serve Jesus as I serve His people.” We must be willing to go out on a ledge, if needed, in order to rescue our brothers or sisters in Christ. We need to surround ourselves with a group of God's family who love us, point us to Him, keep us accountable and grow us deeper in our relations with Christ.

In Christ’s community, we need to be willing to be rejected, hurt, or misunderstood in order to point our brother’s and sister’s toward a deeper walk with Jesus.

Orginally posted on May 22, 2020 at Women Encouraging Women

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