Community Changed My Life.
There’s something about seasons of hardship that can lead us into the deep caves of isolation.
I was no exception..
In 2012 I was stepping into what I now know as the hardest season I pray I ever have to go through. I was living in a brand new state where I only new 1 person 2 hours away, newly diagnosed with a debilitating and incurable disease, while in debt, depressed, anxious, lonely and questioning everything about my life and future.
What did I do? I went into a season of isolation. I retreated from human interaction. I felt misunderstood, weird, unaccepted and even convinced myself I was okay without community or people in my life. I began a journey of a loner. I convinced myself it was just because I am an introvert or that I actually preferred the time alone.
The truth is, I was scared to let people in. I didn’t think anyone could understand the very real weight I lived under, I felt too out of the ordinary. It got so bad to the point I convinced myself other people didn't like me and I was only an inconvenience to every person I interacted with.
In 2015 the loneliness got really bad. At the time, my bedroom window looked right into our neighbor's kitchen and dining room and I remember looking out that window to the family that lived across the driveway. They were around their dinner table laughing and dancing and playing games and my heart ached…
I wanted that. I wanted to belong so badly but believed the lie that it would never be in the cards for me. I remember just crying to myself wondering if this season of isolation would ever end. If I would ever feel worthy enough to pursue friendships and community. Would anyone every want me?
Well, fast forward a year or so from that night and those same neighbors started to pursue me out of nowhere. At first, I put up every guard I could. I continued to protect myself and to draw away. Until, the Lord used those people to break me out of my shell and to see the power and purpose of community. Looking back now, I see clearly that their pursuit of me was a complete and total answer to prayer, because it was the first major stepping stone to breakthrough in this area.
From there I began to see the depression fall off. I began to see myself dream again. I began to feel secure knowing I wasn't alone in this world. I began laughing and having fun again. Community and genuine friendships was something I prayed for and desired for so unbelievably long. Once I was able to step into it, one step at a time, I now want nothing more than to be in tight knit community. I now go to a small church that is truly a family and it has changed everything for me. They are my support system. They speak life over me when I feel worthless. They pray for me and pull me out of pits I am in. They keep me accountable. They keep me on track to my destiny in Christ. They remind me what is truth and what is a lie. Like it says in Galatians 6:2 we are to “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” They love me deeply and it has brought me back to life in so many ways.
My only regret is that I would have realized and pursued breakthrough in this area a lot sooner. Because since I have, my life has changed.
God designed us for fellowship and connection. He designed us for community. I have seen the absolute truth of this in my own life.
It says in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
We were not meant to do life alone. We were designed for close fellowship and community.
With Love, Tiffany