We need one another in this life. When our world feels like it is crumbling and there is no sight of daylight, we need our friends – our community – to pray and speak Truth over our lives. We need each other to display compassion and help with our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We need one another to serve as a safe place for confession. As we confess our sins and our struggles, we need one another to remind us of the gospel, which is that all of our sins are washed white as snow because of Christ's blood shed on the cross at Calvary.
Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. What a gift it is for us to be accepted and loved by one another, not because we have perfect love for one another because Christ the Lord is perfect for us! I know it is risky. Believe me, I know. I know that being vulnerable is not easy or even simple. Opening up can actually be quite messy... and it most likely will be. You are not alone in being scared or hesitant to reveal the deeper levels of yourself. Yet sometimes all it takes is one person taking the risk of opening up to create a safe place for others to be vulnerable.
I see this very thing played out in my friendships with three girls in particular. Once a week I meet up with these three ladies and we "go there." Yes, of course, we talk about our kids and what is going on in the outer layers of our onion-like lives. But then it only takes one of us to go deep by asking pointed questions for us to reveal what is at the core of our hearts. You might think that it is the same person every week that opens up and shares first. But that's not the case. You might think the same person week after week asks the purposeful questions first. Not in our group. Regardless of who asks first or who answers first, the beautiful thing is that each one of us is committed to come to the table each week regardless of how we feel.
A few weeks ago I texted the girls to let them know I was feeling heavy from some of the burdens I felt myself carrying. As a result, I told them I sensed myself withdrawing and desiring isolation instead of community. Their response? They wouldn't let me withdraw! They would not allow me to rope myself off in the isolation room. Instead, they immediately texted Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." And Galatians 6:2: "Carry one another's burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
These girls, my people, slapped me in the face with God's Word. That made my heart and mind realize that I needed to take the focus off of myself and the weight of our circumstances and place my focus back on Jesus. I need community. We all need community. I want you to know that their pursuit of me did not end with these texts of Scripture. I received phone calls later in the day checking on me and received texts detailing how they were praying. Community is work. You should know that working for true community in your life is worth the mess, worth the fight, worth the sacrifice, and worth the inconvenience. At the end of the day, this life is about pursuing holiness and worshiping our Heavenly Father.
Hear Julie Manning's amazing story this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered To Our Unchanging God by Julie Manning. Copyright ©2017 by Julie Manning. Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission.